Thursday, April 21, 2005

The third day here in Vegas was a particularly interesting one because I was able to attend a couple of conferences and also take in some of the more touristy sights around the strip.
I was out earlier than the rest of my team in an attempt to get to some events early. One of these events was the Educator Breakfast and Program about journalistic integrity vs. individual responsibility. But due to my ticket snafu, I was unable to get into the breakfast because it was a ticketed event and I didn’t have a ticket. I told the lady guard that I was only there to hear the speech and didn’t want any of the food - although it was 8:04 a.m. I was zooming on a Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiato - she didn’t budge, so I went off to do some writing [BTW, there are no Dunkin’ Donuts here].
Showing up early for the next seminar, “Are we becoming irrelevant?” or a discussion about citizen journalists and the blogosphere, proves to be a good decision since I am the only one in the room while they are setting up and most of the panelists introduce themselves, noting that I am on a computer. I confirm to them that while I am a radio news director, I am also a blogger and was writing the Day 2 post because I was kept out of the breakfast. The two folks I speak with have a quick laugh about that and go back to setting up their stuff.
The conversation was an interesting one, featuring three panelists and one, broadcasting from NYC via the Internet. There were some technical difficulties with phone levels for Jeff Jarvis, the president and creative director of, who also posts for and MSNBC, and was at the remote location but it was a neat trick.
Another panelist was Russ Hill, of KLS 1160 in Salt Lake City, a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for best radio news site, located here [] . He explained that his news staff does more than just write news stories. They also take video cameras out to tape stuff, which is then transferred to the Web site, and they also allow reporters to blog about certain news stories. He said it accomplished two things: It allows the audience to get more access and familiarity with the news staff, and it allows the staff to write more about the news story than the 35 second stories which will air on the station. The station also allows for guest bloggers, almost like a column, to react to some of the stories. The blog is located here: []. Hill said they started doing this during the Lori Hacking investigation because the staff was getting a lot of details about the story which it couldn’t air. It is a voluntary process for news staffers there but also became a necessity when members of the staff were camped out for days on end at the dump as investigators searched for the missing woman. Hill advised attendees to embrace the new technology and use it as your own - before your competition does.
Most of the other panelists - Dan Gilmour of Grassroots Media, Inc. [also formerly the tech writer for the San Jose Mercury News], Terry Heaton, president of DONATA Communications, and Jarvis - all agreed that bloggers were here to stay and that journalists should use them just as they would any other source, when needed.
Jarvis was particularly populist about his comments concerning citizen journalists noting that the process of blogging was about control and the questioning of the mainstream media. He suggested that news orgs listen and read the blogs, highlight citizen journalists, use them for sources, empower them, and post their stories online.
Heaton said the importance of bloggers is that they were a threat to the status quo but that “the status quo needs challenging.” He said the level that journalists were being put on a pedestal was “abhorrent,” noting that some bloggers are “better journalists.” He also said that stagnation in the radio business wasn’t about revenue but about audience and that programmers were losing focus of the audience [by worrying about revenue, IMHO]. He added that news was becoming irrelevant to the country because departments weren’t listening to the audience and the “bottom up phenom” of citizen journalists, with the top working to control it, wasn’t a good model. The panel also talked about Pod casting - the use of iPods to download radio segments and play them back at a later date.
There were a bunch of questions from the audience, some dealing with legal issues while others dealt with interaction. Most of the panelists - unlike other panelists - weren’t so worried about any legal ramifications.
Gilmour said that every blogger could be a stringer for a radio org. and could be used as a rallying point for bottom up citizen media. One of the panelists, I forget which, noted that news orgs often use citizen video of tornadoes or citizen comment for stories, why not bloggers?
I came back to my point about the tabloidization of the mainstream press and the fact that while motivated by opinion; the bloggers were doing the hard investigations that reporters should be doing. Unlike the stuffed shirts at the big national radio chains, the panelists completely agreed with me that the mainstream was too tabloidy and this was one of the reasons for the citizen journalist and blog movement. Jarvis called my comments exactly right, saying: Bloggers take more seriously news selection of stories ... People will take on issues that are important … You aren’t going to see blogs talk about Michael Jackson … Bloggers look at economic things and take on issues that are too expensive to take on.
After the blogging seminar, I went to a discussion about managing extreme personalities in the newsroom. It was another productive conversation about identifying personality traits in your newsroom and then using techniques to move them to alter those traits.
With the RTNDA seminars over, I went back to the NAB area to check out some more booths, including the bookstore, where I didn’t find anything particularly interesting to me, and the Sennheiser booth - since I need a new pair - where I was able to try out some sound-blocking headphones.
Our group also got a chance to walk around the strip a bit and noticed that it seemed a lot more touristy than the first day we arrived. It is almost like Orlando and Miami combined only surrounded by mountains. The Venetian Hotel’s mall was amazing. It is literally Venice with a roof. Buildings inside the mall are two to three stories high with moats and gondolas drifting through the mall. In the center square, we were able to hear some opera singers and other musicians play as if we were right there in Venice. It was pretty spectacular … for a mall. I also noticed that in almost every hotel lobby and even at a couple of outdoor bars, there was a lot of new wave and 80s music. Hearing a cover band do "Send me an angel," by Reflex one night and the now classic "Blister in the sun," by the Violent Femmes and Blondie's "Heart of Glass" another night, was hilarious. Or hearing the Psychedelic Furs' "Heaven" or New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" blasting through the hotel lobby, was pretty cool as well.
We also noticed that there were almost no police in sight - either during the day or later on in the evening - although there were folks walking around with open containers everywhere and pretty much behaving themselves. There were a lot of mall-type cops and security guards, but not a lot of uniform. We speculated that they might be under cover cops. We also had lunch at the Bellagio which had an beautiful indoor garden with a butterfly net area in the middle of the hotel. We went to see the exotic car collection at the Imperial Palace then “Mystere,” by Cirque du Soleil.
Later today, we head out to check out the mountains before returning home.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

NAB/RTDNA: Second day

Between all the things going on here and a mix up in my ticket registration, it didn’t seem like a productive Day 2. But in actuality, it has been.
To start, I managed to win a super-cool Marantz digital recorder PDM660 in one of those business card contests. On the first day here, I happened to pass by the Marantz/Denon booth and saw they were giving a bunch away. The PDM660 is the latest in recording technology for radio journalists. It records direct to .wav, .mpeg or .mp3 files instead of using minidisk [MD] format, which is actually pretty productive, as well as low cost. For whatever reason - probably because they have some other format coming - Sony is discontinuing MDs and all the major radio purchasing sites are no longer carrying recorders. What stinks is that the PDM660 is a $700 machine - whereas the MD recorders are in the $200 range. However, I’m told that the PDM660 allows for the computer user to grab the file and put it directly into Adobe Audition. This is actually a huge time-saver, since MDs require the real-time transfer of audio from MD player to Audition. This should save a slew of time in production of audio, especially long press conferences or meetings, which in the end, saves time which saves money.
But enough of the gadget talk.
Because of the ticket mix up, I was unable to get into a discussion about getting news stories in a pinch when nothing is going on. After trudging all the way back to the main registration desk on the other side of the convention center, I was able to get a new pass and catch the tail end of “50 investigations in 50 minutes,” hosted by Duane Pohlman of WEWS-TV. I plan on looking into purchasing the CDR of the talk because the last 10 minutes of the presentation which I did manage to catch were very enlightening.
While the discussion was mostly geared towards television and newspapers, the stories can be presented in any format. Topics like campaign finance contributions, pollution and drug statistics, child endangerment, and other things were listed. Most good reporters know to look at these things anyway. But it doesn’t hurt to get an overview.
Later in the day, our group rushed over to the NAB luncheon which really opened my eyes to not only the power that radio has over people’s lives but also the ability to connect with the community in a positive manner.
NAB President and CEO Eddie Fritts gave out Crystal Awards to 10 stations - narrowed down from 50 - for community service awards. To hear some of the things these stations did for their communities was truly impressive. Fundraisers, blood drives, voter reg. drives, charitable contributions and events, community meetings, hours and hours of assistance to communities they served was like nothing I’ve ever seen especially in these days of corporate-dominated media thinking of nothing more than the bottom line. It is also something to strive for in the future.
In the handout presented to luncheon attendees, all 50 stations really set out to serve their communities on a regular basis, however, a few of the 10 eventual winners really stood out. One station - KNOM-AM in Nome, Alaska - serves 150,000 square miles and flies 300 volunteers around the region to cover meetings and bring in audio clips to share with their listening public. Can you imagine that: Hundreds of folks, working for free, just to bring their regional news into the station? Amazing. What a community. Another station, WCMT in Martin, Tennessee, a 700-watt AM station, was also honored with an award, as was KLOS-FM in Los Angeles. A number of the other 10 stations named were under the ownership of Bonneville Broadcasting - a large corporate owner of more than 150 radio stations. Most of the speakers for those stations noted that the corporate mucky-mucks had encouraged GMs to reach out to the community - in big ways [I may talk later about NAB and the corporate owner issues. Right now, I want to stick to the positive]. I can’t stress enough how inspiring these awards were and all the work and time these stations put into the community - beyond an employee’s 40-plus hours a week. I couldn’t help but wonder how much good could get done if every employee of every company in media gave as much time. Of course, we all have personal lives too, and nothing is more important than taking care of one’s own family. But this part of the luncheon was really inspirational and really got me thinking about not only all the great things radio does but how much more we can do.
John Gage, the chief researcher and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, gave the keynote speech, speaking from random notes he put together from the day’s events on his Mac, which was then presented on large screens in the ballroom. Gage commended U2’s Bono for being able to galvanize thousands of people at concerts to use their cell phones to sign a petition to release the third world from their massive debts [As an aside, I am still waiting for Bono to take the initiative on this matter by going after the World Bank and IMF or even having U2 headline a massive tour in which the proceeds were donated to Africa aid relief. Can anyone say Live Aid II?].
Gage also discussed the benefits and dangers of new technology which was a bit compelling. Clearly, he had been gathering data, if you will, from the discussions at NAB, since this is a worry among broadcasters. Digital broadcasting to cell phones and other gadgets as well as the danger of RFIDs were also highlighted by Gage. He also introduced a new “product” his company worked on during the last two weeks - a converter for TVs which would distribute a digital signal to analog TVs which cost Sun about $30 in parts to build. Gage noted that current converters are about $300. He didn’t mention whether Sun would be getting into the converter business but his point was pretty clear to those folks who are working on the technology.
The late Jack Buck, a St. Louis-based baseball and football broadcaster, was given the NAB Hall of Fame Award. His second wife, Carole Buck, accepted the award and told humorous anecdotes of his life and charity and 50-plus years of sports broadcasting.
After the luncheon, I attended the last half of “What’s the future of radio news?” with a bunch of the big national radio news organizations as panelists: ABC, CBS, Clear Channel, NPR, and Sirius. The moderator, Thom Callahan, is the GM of AP Radio. The discussion, however, seemed less about “the future” of radio news and more about the current state of radio news. There was also some discussion about bloggers and how they can’t be trusted and neither could information on the Web.
Interestingly, a few of the panelists joked about wanting “world domination.” While it was a lighthearted comment by Robert Garcia, bureau chief of ABC Radio, others in attendance seemed to agree, including the guy from Clear Channel, Gabe Hobbs, the VP of programming for news, talk, and sports, whose corporation owns more than 1,200 radio stations. Hobbs made a couple of self-deprecating comments about his network, which were pretty funny.
There were some good, solid questions from the audience about where the new generation of radio news reporters was going to come from, and other issues related to employment issues. There was a guy from something called The Next Generation, apparently a group working with NPR, trying to come up with ways to get folks into the radio news industry. A couple of questioners asked about employment issues and a few of the panelists talked about their internship programs and how they were making new hires. Hobbs said he was unable to find good folks to work which garnered some scuttles in the audience and at least one college kid who stood up and said he would be looking for job in two years. He also deflected some criticism from a guy complaining about one to two person news teams serving multiple stations and pointed to a train derailment in upstate New York which spew chemicals into the community yet none of the stations were on the air live with a news team to report the incident. I don’t know if the stations were Clear Channel owned and operated but if they were, Hobbs handled the question well. He noted that in the case of the train derailment, the Emergency Broadcast System was not issued by authorities - leaving the stations in the cold - and therefore, it was the fault of authorities for not letting the public know about the incident.
I also made some comments which led to a question about the tabloidization of the media. First, I commented that bloggers - while often motivated by opinion - relentlessly research to prove their points, essentially doing the jobs that the media is supposed to do … like cover important stories, such as the foreign nations buying American debt. I then tied that into the question. While not naming the network that the station I work at carries, I noted that the Michael Jackson coverage had been particularly dark and disgusting, which could also harm listeners who might have been molested and would have to listen to the Jackson trial coverage ad nauseam, on the hour, especially during the accuser’s testimony phase of the trial [I could go into the perverse descriptions that were relayed by the news reporter over and over again but then, that would make me as bad as said network, right? You've all heard about the case. You all know what child molestation is about. 'Nuff said]. I also was critical of the Martha Stewart coverage [not knowing that Sirius had just signed Stewart to a radio show] and noted that Dave Ross of CBS News had a hilarious short radio commentary which aired on the day that Stewart was released from prison, collecting audio from all the networks and comments they made and wondering whether this was all that important a story to cover. What is the future of the important stories that radio news is supposed to cover?
Needless to say, there was some unease with my concerns.
All of them pretty much agreed that they didn’t think bloggers could be trusted and that the public was driving the tabloid coverage of the news and that there wasn’t anything they could do about it. The Sirius guy, Jay Clark, EVP of programming, jokingly said he hoped the news departments would keep talking about Stewart. Hobbs said he thought it was dangerous for news departments to not cover what the people wanted and instead, cover what news directors and departments want - or thought - they should cover [Note to Hobbs: What is the point of having a news director if they can't suggest important stories to cover instead of Michael Jackson?]. Harvey Nagler, the VP of CBS Radio News, grimaced during my comments and his answers, probably knowing that yeah, I was talking about his crummy network, and he gave me the evil eye for much of the rest of the discussion. He also reiterated that the tabloid coverage was driven by the listeners. Hogwash. Try not covering it for one day and cover something and see what happens. Challenge yourselves to inform and educate the listening public and not just titilate - or disgust - them!
These comments were pretty shocking to me but not surprising. They lend credence to the extremely important comments by Valerie Hyman which I wrote about in the previous NAB post - journalists are patriots, the only job protected by the Constitution, and whose jobs make for a better democracy. It also leads one to wonder about the state of the news and its future, something the panel didn’t seem to answer very well at all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

NAB/RTNDA in Vegas
I'm currently in Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcaster's convention, as well as the Radio TV News Directors Association convention, which is a part of NAB. This post won't be very long, just a few quick observations.
First, the time change thing is a bit of a struggle. At three hours behind EDT, everything seems thrown off. Last night, after dinner, I turned in only to realize that in real time, I had been up for about 21 hours. I don't know how folks who zig zag across the country manage to do this without getting completely exhausted.
After our party landed, we took an Airport Limousine bus to the hotel and the first sign of the sociological problems I had a feeling I would see set in.
Our driver, while a nice enough man, seemed jittery and possessed, almost like some junkie musicians I have known over the years. I didn't think anything of it ... until the guy started driving. The bus clearly had mechanical problems and he was beating every bit of juice out of it that he could. At the first stop light, he looked down at his lap and started fiddling with something. Since I was in the front seat, I could see him acting strangely. I thought, ‘Oh, I hope he isn't getting ready to pop a pill or something worse.’ Well, he wasn't ... he was counting his chips. He separated them into colors and then re-separated them, clicking them together and fiddling with them nervously. It was a pretty weird thing to witness. He then quickly put all the chips into his saddle bag by his feet and began driving again.
The bus drove around the inner parts of the city before the hotels. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of XXX video stores and a couple of strip joints, as well as apartments and smaller, seedy - for lack of a better word - motels. We drove by a whole slew of boarded up apartments - not big brownstones like you would see in the Bronx - but what seemed like nice bungalows or something you would pay a small fortune for in a place like Miami.
I looked around at some old folks vacationing on the bus and at least one NABster annoying chatting on his cell phone and some were clearly worried about the ride they just got on. Thankfully, we got off the bus at the second stop.
The strip is busy ... almost like Times Square. Everything is loud and clanging, with horns going off, music, and Spanish street vendors handing out pamphlets for escort services. A "fat" Elvis is posing for free pictures outside one of the hotels but there is a Subway and McDonald's nearby. The hotels are big and glamorous, not unlike I expected and no different from what you see on television. The lights aren’t on - we would see that later - but you get the awe of the place.
At check-in, there is a long line and the cacophony of clamoring of slot machines so loud you can barely think straight. I think out loud that this is what a schizophrenic must have going on in the brain. The hotel, while trying, fails to blow away the cigarette smoke from the casinos and bars. Unlike Foxwoods, where people hog two and three slot machines and there is a look of death and hopelessness on faces far and wide, a lot of the machines and tables are not being used and people generally seem to be having fun. Of course, I'm not really paying as much attention to their faces because I am too distracted by the noise.
After check-in, we board the monorail to the convention center to check out the exhibits. I also want to attend the RTNDA seminar about being a new news director.
The monorail is pretty cool - not unlike the one in Miami. However, one can’t help but notice that it goes over almost all the seediness we just passed by to get from the airport to the strip. It is almost as if it was built to keep all the special people away from the riff raff. While that is good to keep crime down and preserve tourism, I wonder if it is the best thing for society. More boarded up apartments and construction everywhere can be seen.
I keep thinking about Stephen King's book "The Stand."
NAB is a radio, TV and film geek’s dream world. Every gadget you could possibly imagine is here - from antennae manufacturing to studio production and some of the coolest space-aged mixing boards I have ever seen.
“I wish I had a million dollars … hot dog!”
Before the news director’s seminar, my group checks out some of the vendors and has a couple of conversations with some interesting folks about software and mics. After leaving the NAB section, we head up to the RTNDA section which, as far as booths go, is extremely disappointing. There is a CNN store and a couple of other news booths, like AP and Consumer Reports. But there isn’t much else. I was hoping to find some other groups who might offer bartered news features or production tools. Not surprisingly, a few military interests have media promotion outposts, as does the HHS, where I grill a couple of folks on flu quarantine issues. Thankfully, they don't look at me like I am nuts and take my civil libertarian concerns very seriously.
For the record, flight attendants are reportedly trained to call airport officials who then call CDC officials when they believe there might be a medical emergency on a flight from overseas in which a quarantine/flu treatment situation might kick in.
I attend the first news director’s seminar about how to manage your news department after being promoted from within and other tips on getting the most out of your news staff. It was a pretty interesting conversation geared more towards TV news departments, but much of the information can be transferred into any management situation. I like that the main speaker, Valerie Hyman, kept stressing that in order to stay fresh and focused, news directors need to take breaks and schedule something I otherwise call "quiet time," to take care of those mundane tasks. Note to self: Take a walk in the middle of the day, especially if it is nice outside.
At the end, Hyman makes a most prolific statement about news directors being one of the most patriotic jobs a person can have and how the press is the only job protected by the Constitution. She also states that our job is one of the only ones that preserve democracy. I begin to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :-)
Alright folks, that’s it for now. I may not be updating the blog while out here but I wanted to give folks a taste of what I am seeing. If something super cool or newsworthy happens, I will post something. Otherwise, check back in for a longer report by the end of the week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Charlie Shannon: RIP
State Senator Charlie Shannon, D-Winchester, Mass., passed away this morning from complications from a bone marrow transplant treatment in his fight against leukemia, according to press reports. He was 61. There are press reports here: ["Charles E. Shannon dies at 61; loses battle with cancer"] and here: ["Shannon succumbs to long illness"] [Shockingly, there is nothing at The Winchester Star site about his death. CNC could have at least put up the thorough and decent Medford Transcript story].
When I lived in Somerville, Shannon was my state senator and I also covered him as editor of The Star for over 2.5 years.
At first, I wasn't all that impressed with him. He was just another socially conservative Irish Democratic pol who probably should have been a Republican. And in Charlie's case, he was a Republican when he was first elected. He later changed parties after, as he put it, Gov. Bill Weld and another Republican Senator tried to screw him on a budget appropriation. Charlie told me the story over coffee at Nelson's in Winchester one day saying he went to then-President of the Senate Billy Bulger and said he would switch parties if he could get his line item in the budget. Bulger got it done for Charlie and Charlie waved goodbye to the MassGOP. Another stupid move for Republicans since it was a Democratic seat being held by a Republican.
As I covered him in the press, I really learned to like the guy. He was a good ole coot. Although a conservative Democrat, Shannon was also a populist and fought for the working class of his Medford and Somerville district. He had all kinds of stories and was great with a quote. I'll never forget the times he tore into Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, calling him "heartless," for cutting funds to some of Massachusetts' most vulnerable. After Romney was elected, I did an analysis piece about how towns he didn't win in the election were seeing their local aid cut more deeply than towns who voted for Romney. It should have been a great statewide story had the Boston Herald bothered to publish it after I shared it with them. As well, no other state news outlet bothered to look at the numbers and find the story themselves. Anyhow, Shawn Feddeman, Romney's adorably cute spokeswoman, scoffed at the idea but Shannon laid into the guv. I had to edit his language, as you can imagine. But Somerville and Medford were getting whacked something fierce and Charlie was livid. That was the kinda guy he was ... always worried about the little guy.
Despite always being a target for Shannon, Romney acknowledged he fought for the little guy in a press release today, noting that Charlie was "a tireless advocate for the people." Unlike a lot of pols, Shannon never forgot where he came from. Unlike a lot of pols, Shannon never forgot why he was in the state Senate.
There was one thing he did that I didn't think was too keen - holding up a wine and liquor license in Winchester for trivial reasons, which also benefited the brother of a long-time campaign contributor. But hey, that's minor when you consider all the good things he did.
Unlike another elected Democrat from Winchester, who will remain nameless, Charlie didn't flip out when I looked into all the lobbyists and political action committees throwing money at his campaign committee. Instead, he sloughed it off and told stories about some of the guys he grew up with who went to his "times." He didn't take it personally and cry like a little baby; he knew I was just doing my job, asking the tough questions like any good writer or reporter does.
One of the last times I spoke to Charlie, he was reserving space in the paper for a killer column coming out against a huge $3.9 million Proposition 2 1/2 tax override in Winchester, strategically placed to run just before the election. A former selectman, he was furious at what he perceived to be mismanagement with the town finances. He also knew that even though he wasn't as powerful a pol as in the past, he could still sway the votes of some of the old timers in town, many who would be detrimentally affected by the increase in property taxes coming with the approval of the override. A big chunk of Winchester's residents are over the age of 65 and not all of them have trust funds. The perception that Winchester is an affluent town is skewed by all the newcomers who moved into town over the last decade or so, with their masters degrees, big salaries, and wives in Lexuses. Shannon's column was a brilliantly biting piece - with a headline calling on the voters of Winchester to vote No on "Winchester's Day of Infamy" [The vote was scheduled for Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day].
But Shannon's role went beyond just writing the column. I later found out that behind the scenes, he quietly helped organize the No forces so that they could defeat the override. I later learned - off-the-record, of course, which means that you don't reveal the source - that Shannon paid for a telephone push poll which called a ton of voters across the town, mildly urging them to vote No.
On the morning of the election, while the Vote Yes side was gleefully assuming they had victory in their grasp, due to freezing rain and snow pouring down on the community, Shannon was chipper and excited. He knew that the old-timers would come out and defeat the override, weather or no weather.
"It will be defeated by a two-to-one margin," he said.
"What?!" I asked. "Impossible."
"Two-to-one," he said again, laughing.
At the time, I didn't know that Shannon had authorized the push poll, so I couldn't report it. I also didn't know that the results of the poll were two-to-one against the override. In the end, the override was defeated and while it was a less than two-to-one margin, it lost by a whopping 1,000-plus votes.
Of course, a push poll of hundreds of voters wasn't the thing that killed the override. What killed the override was the fact that it was too much, too soon. And the fact that people actually went out and campaigned against it. Had the advocates proposed a smaller override, they might have gotten it and wouldn't be making plans to layoff a slew of school teachers. Shockingly, all of those with masters degrees, big salaries, and wives in Lexuses, never seemed to get those little common sense things that the rest of us realize.
Just before I left The Star, Charlie called to wish me luck. He was into his fight against leukemia again but was still energetic and funny. When he told me he was going to beat it again, I knew he would, and I also told him I would pray for him. Unfortunately, he didn't beat it. But he lived a full life and helped a lot of folks out. His family - and district - will miss him.

Speculation will now turn to a special election which will need to be held to fill Charlie's seat. It's been a long time since the district has seen a competitive race. However, that is all for another day.
Rest in Peace, Charlie.