For more than 80 years, TV news has been there to report on breaking stories, world-changing events, and moments in time that bring us together as a people. It has also been good for more than its fair share of baffling stories, puzzling events, and moments in time that will live forever on YouTube. Milwaukee TV news, of course, is no different. Here are 10 such ridiculous moments, culled from both the “hard” and the not-so-“hard” broadcasts of Milwaukee’s TV news past.
1. TV6 reports from Social Distortion riot at Odd Rock Cafe (1988)
Back in 1988, a Prison Bound-era Social Distortion was scheduled to play Milwaukee’s famed (and now long-gone) Odd Rock Cafe. That didn’t quite work out. With the small club severely over capacity before Social D even took the stage, police showed up and tried to clear out the all-ages crowd. What followed was a near-riot that included, if one attendee was to be believed, a flurry of nightsticks and people screaming “I didn’t do anything! I didn’t do anything!” 38 people were arrested, and a boyish Charles Benson was on the scene for TV6.
2. WISN and TV6 drive to West Allis after cruising is banned on Highway 100 (1990)
West Allis may be a perfectly fine city (infamous videos notwithstanding), but Milwaukee’s oft-picked-on neighbor ain’t what it used to be. Take the once-popular pastime of “cruising,” for example, which was banned by the city in 1990. A way of ’Stallis life was suddenly over, and multiple news stations were there to talk to the shell-shocked locals who suddenly had nothing to do on a Friday night.
3. News Channel 4 chats with GG Allin (1991)
We’ve covered this moment in Milwaukee history on multiple Tracklists before, so let’s recap: Legendary shock-rocker GG Allin pooped on stage at the Odd Rock Cafe, and two and a half years later, he was found guilty of disorderly conduct. Score one for the “narrow-minded, hypocritical puppets of society.”
4. TV6 goes undercover at a rave (1992)
Is there anything more ridiculous than when the news goes “undercover”? Nope, and the time TV6 reporter Myra Sanchick exposed the “underground network” of raves was the height of this ridiculousness. Watch as Sanchick goes to Tie Me Down to buy tickets to a secret rave! Thrill as she heads over to the Avalon Theater to pick up a map! Marvel at the undercover footage of…people in Cat In The Hat hats and overalls dancing in a warehouse.
5. WISN blows the lid off breath mints (2001)
Remember the time when an MSNBC anchor refused to read a story about Paris Hilton, and almost burned the copy before tearing it up? That impulse was likely coursing through the veins of Jerry Taff and Kathy Mykleby back in 2001, when fellow WISNer Kent Wainscott spent three interminable minutes on a breath mint taste test segment. Watch veteran newsman Taff chew on a breath mint and swallow his pride at the same time.
6. TMJ4 visits Kenosha’s Punk Rock Picnic (2005)
Oh, Kenosha Punk Rock Picnic, how we miss you. The music, the camaraderie, the Kenosha-ness, the occasional police brutality. TMJ4 was all over the latter in 2005, leading to this priceless exchange: “How did you get the cut on your eye?” “Uh, cop punched me.”
7. FOX6 reporter does the “Dougie” near site of deadly fire (2013)
Modern TV news demands on-air talent walk a fine line between reporting serious stuff—like, oh, say, a deadly fire that killed three children—and doing some goofy shit for the morning wake-up shows—like, oh, say, doing the “Dougie.” In 2013, FOX6 reporter Angelica Duria tripped over that line when she—you guessed it—did the “Dougie” near the site of a deadly fire that killed three children.
8. FOX6 reporter thinks the weather “sucks” (2013)
Speaking of Duria, here’s the time she said “It sucks here!” live on air, mere months before she did the “Dougie” near the site of a deadly fire that killed three children.
9. FOX6 gets punked by “Chef Keith” (2014)
Let’s face it: it’s tough to fill up hours upon hours of live TV every day, especially when that TV is of the Wake Up, San Francisco variety. So it should come as no surprise when morning shows are occasionally duped. In 2014, FOX 6 WakeUp got taken by Found Footage Festival impresario Nick Prueher, who posed as “Chef Keith,” a leftover-obsessed chef who thought mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn stuffed in a ice cream cone was a good idea.
10. TMJ4 enjoys the musical stylings of Juiceboxxx (2014)
In 2014, divisive rapper/energy-drink-purveyor Juiceboxxx stopped by TMJ4’s Wisconsin Tonight to promote his upcoming appearance at the East Side Music Tour. After surprising hosts Mike Jacobs and Carol Meekins with a complimentary can of Thunder Zone, Juice got a surprise of his own when he experienced some technical difficulties during a performance of “Like A Renegade.” The resulting mess has been called the “worst on-air rap in TV history.”