Friday, May 4, 2012

Commentator Wayne Shannon found dead

 Wayne Shannon
The AP is reporting that hunters in Idaho have found the decomposed body of Wayne Shannon, a commentator and feature reporter on KRON in the 1980s. Investigators say evidence gathered at the scene suggests the 64-year-old Shannon took his own life. He had been missing for several months.

Gerald Wayne Schetzle, who went by the name Wayne Shannon in his TV career, was found on April 28 south of Grangeville. An autopsy found no signs of physical trauma, but the coroner is awaiting results from toxicology testing.

Shannon arrived at KRON in the early 1980s after TV reporting jobs in Philadelphia and Detroit. He was part reporter, part humorist. He delivered a nightly commentary called “Just 4 You” on KRON, back in the days when it was the NBC affiliate. Blogger Edward Champion of edrants.com put together this bio of Shannon, the most detailed discussion of Shannon’s career. Champion writes:
    I wondered why there was no online record of a man who had touched millions, a man who was a little ahead of his time with his acerbic television commentaries. Two decades later, there had been something about Shannon’s approach that had caked its way into my noggin. Was it his common sense arguments? His acid barbs? I remember that he had been so funny that even the guys behind the camera couldn’t suppress their laughter. … 
Shanon on the KRON set in 1982.
    It was absolutely clear that Wayne Shannon was a television talent, somewhere between consumer crusader and comedian, who was decades ahead of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. He took on auto manufacturers over epic ten part segments (and I would later learn that Michael Moore would pilfer some of Shannon’s comedic approach with Roger & Me). He would assemble homages and parodies to popular movies on the local evening news during a time in which such experimentation was unthinkable. (But in an age in which The Daily Show pours out a steady stream of satirical graphics, this is now commonplace.)
Champion’s bio includes a couple of clips and an interview he did with Shannon. Shannon left KRON in 1988 and later was at CNBC, but then dropped out of television in the early 1990s. (Photo credits: Top, Youtube; Bottom, Steve Ringman, Chronicle.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had totally forgotten about Wayne Shannon. I watched him a lot. He was ahead of his time, one of the pioneers.