Saturday, February 18, 2006

Enough of This Alford-To-Indiana Crap For a While -- It's Time To Take a Look At the Job Bobbi Bergman Is Doing On the Channel 5 Eyewitness News Team

I guess I’ve been so busy writing about Steve Alford and whether he is or he isn’t –-going to Indiana, I mean –- that I’ve been short-changing a big media story.

It’s the one involving Bobbi Bergman, who returned to the Des Moines TV picture a while back.

The WOI-TV website says, “Bobbi Bergman is a reporter for Channel 5 Eyewitness News. She joined the team in December, 2005.

“Bobbi’s decade-long journalism career has taken her to Washington, D.C., Rapid City, S.D., and Minneapolis. She most recently worked for WHO-TV in Des Moines.”

I was visiting my son, daughter-in-law and their two kids the other night when I saw Bobbi reporting something on the 10 o’clock news. I thought she did her usual excellent, professional job.

Oh, I know WOI-TV always ranks dead-last in the local TV ratings. I know people used to joke that KCCI could finish No. 1 in the ratings if they brought Russ Van Dyke back from the dead and propped up his picture in front of the cameras 20 years after his retirement.

But I’m a fan of WOI. One reason is because Chris Flanagan [upper right], the news anchor, came into my home with a photographer a while back while doing an investigative story. He handled himself well, and the series he did turned out well.

I also think John Walters, the WOI sports director, does good work. I've known him for many years.

So I have nothing against any of the folks there. I hope something happens to help their ratings.

But back to Bobbi Bergman…..

Bobbi isn’t your ordinary TV reporter. She not only has reported the news, she’s been in the news.

Tony Leys of the Des Moines Register reported last April that “a prominent Des Moines plastic surgeon violated ethics rules when he dated and subsequently married a television news reporter on whom he’d performed surgery, state regulators say.

Leys continued: “The Iowa Board of Medical Examiners filed formal charges this month against Dr. Ronald Bergman. The board, which oversees physician licenses, said he improperly engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient, whom he later married.

“Bergman, 56, married the former Bobbi Silvernail in 2002, while she was a 28-year-old anchorwoman at WHO-TV. The couple said they met when she went to him for breast-augmentation surgery.

”’It’s almost a cliché. ‘Rich plastic surgeon marries young girl,’” he joked in an interview shortly before the wedding.’

“He wasn’t laughing Tuesday, as he complained about the ‘ridiculous’ allegations brougut against him by regulators.

“He said he didn’t begin dating Silvernail until eight months after she was discharged as his patient….”

Leys said “the board declared that the relationship violated ‘physician-patient boundaries.’”

WOI says Bobbi “took a few years off [after her WHO-TV days] to enjoy stay-at-home motherhood with her young daughter.

“Bobbi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. She also attended American University in Washington, D.C.

“Bobbi is a champion baton twirlter and a former ‘Mrs. Iowa.’

“She is active in our community and serves as president-elect for VSA Arts of Iowa, a non-profit group that promotes the creative power of people with disabilities.

“Bobbi and her husband Ronald [lower left] are parents to a rambunctious toddler, Chloe.

“Bobbi is also a huge college football fan and loves watching the Michigan Wolverines play at ‘The Big House.’”

Well, what the hell. I guess I won’t hold that stuff against Bobbi about being a fan of Michigan and the 100,000-seat-plus Big House the football team there plays in.

Nobody’s perfect.


Bud Appleby sends word that Randy Essex will be the latest newsroom employee to leave the Register.

“The news editor position was vacant for many months –- it may still be vacant –-while Paul Anger was the editor,” Appleby told me. “Now that he is editor of the Detroit Free Press, he hires someone from the Register to be news editor there. I have no doubt that Randy Essex is qualified, but I wonder why he wasn’t given the job in Des Moines.


I hear that Essex was interested in the managing editor job at the paper, but was passed over. For some reason, Randy Brubaker was chosen. That’s probably one reason Essex is leaving town.

I also hear that no one is shedding any tears that he’s quitting. They figure Detroit is a good place for him.

Here’s the newsroom memo about Essex:

“From: Washburn, Carolyn
Sent: Monday, Feb. 13, 2006 2:57 p.m.
To: Des Moines-Newsroom
Cc: Stier, Mary; Wilson, Dee; Bell, Rick; Cooper, Tom; Genalo, Susan; Hollingsworth, Laura; Johnson, Kevin (DSM); Patterson Plank, Susan; Peers, Julie A.; Ray, Joyce; Robertson, Brad
Subject: Randy Essex

“Randy Essex will be leaving us after 20 very strong years of service at The Des Moines Register to become news editor at the Detroit Free Press. We will miss Randy’s deep understanding of this community, his ability to expand a story idea, and his fine word editing.

“Randy’s last day will be March 2, and we will have the appropriate going-away festivities then.

“I’ll keep you posted on next steps for MI.”


They were telling me at lunch that the local paper will soon have advertising on the front page.

I guess that's called desperation.