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Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 1
Original Telecast: Oct. 4/96

F-Word

Producer: Gail Gallant
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Undercurrents looks at how Advertising Agencies are changing from "clean" language to a grittier, almost vulgar language, to get more attention for their products.

Copy Scams

Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

From cell phones on, new technology has been a boon for crooks. Now the cops and the bad guys are battling it out around the photocopy machine.
Cyber Sex

Producer: Gail Gallant
Reporter/Guest: The other woman

Is it possible to have a sexual relationship with someone you just write to on the Internet? The other women tells us how it works.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 2
Original Telecast: Oct. 11/96

Data Mining
Producer: Anne Wright-Howard
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Undercurrents looks at how the computerisation of shopping has produced a frightening new industry known as "data mining."

Grey Market

Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Todd Southgate

If you don't get cable, or you hate the cable companies, you can just go out and buy a satellite dish. Mind you, those little dishes aren't exactly legal in Canada.

Alternative

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Andrew Younghusband

Is there a marketing buzzword that you find irritating? Andrew Younghusband has his .......Alternative.


Undercurrents
Season 3, Show 3
Original Telecast: Oct. 18/96

Naming John Doe

Producer: Anne Wright-Howard
Reporter: Todd Southgate

Tonight's first story is about the release of a sexual offender, and how the news media had to decide how to deal with him.

Virtual News

Producer: Blair Harley
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

TV networks are preparing for US election night and their directors are desperately trying to outdo each other with flashy technology like virtual sets. You may not know it, but virtual technology is behind a few TV tricks already being played on you.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 4
Original Telecast: Oct. 25/96

Conspiracy Theory

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Tonight, a trip though the culture of the millennium, where the far out has become standard and paranoia is really catching on. Take for instance the TWA crash and the number of people who suspect the plane was brought down by the US military itself.

UFOria

Producer: Adrian Callender
Reporter: Catherine Legge

If you're part of the post-moon-landing generation, someone who grew up with Star Trek and E.T as your childhood classics, then your belief system just might include U.F.O's. Catherine Legge explores that UFOria.

Bleak Chic

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Andrew Younghusband

When it comes to the look of the nineties TV and advertising, gloom is in, decay is hip, and according to Andrew Younghusband, bleak is chic.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 5
Original Telecast: November 1/1996

Employee Sabotage

Producer: Jennifer Campbell
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

A corporate secret. How getting back at the boss is a whole lot easier in the computer age.

Union Advertising

Producer: Anne Wright-Howard
Reporter: Todd Southgate

In our media culture, advertising rules. So, if you've got a message to get across forget the news shows and hire an ad agency.

Video Game Nostalgia

Producer: Adrian Callender
Reporter: Bret Dawson

How long will it take for a video game to become a collectible even an antique? Bret Dawson explains.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 6
Original Telecast: Nov 8/96

TV Stalkers

Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

To stalk is to hunt something down. It's threatening, and creepy, and it's what a couple of American reporters chasing a TV story have been accused of.

Info have-nots

Producer: Jennifer Campbell
Reporter: Andrew Younghusband

We're all under pressure to get wired and get on the net. But that does mean having your own phone, which even these days can't be taken for granted. Particularly if you're a ten hour drive north of Vancouver, as Andrew Younghusband found out.

Bro in the Background

Producer: Adrian Callender
Reporter: Clifton Joseph

Who is that 'person of colour' strategically placed in the background of print ads, commercials, and of course, movies? When you've got a minute, check out the actors in TV commercials... After you've heard this next story from Clifton Joseph, you may look at ads in a new way.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 7
Original Telecast: Nov. 15/96

Copyright

Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Some products have been around so long; they are more pop culture than merchandise. No one says pass me a tissue, they say pass me a Kleenex...but some corporations and their lawyers are saying these words aren't ours at all and would be infringing on copyright laws.

VR Land

Producer/Reporter: Howard Green

When TV stations get old and flabby they too can get plastic surgery. So what happens when hipsters from Much Music arrive to do some nipping and tucking? Howard Green went to Barrie, Ontario to check out a TV makeover.

Voice Mail Hacker

Producer/Reporter: Matt Cowan

New phone technology like voice mail seems efficient, private, something to trust. But in Vancouver, some voice mailboxes held a nasty surprise, according to Matt Cowan.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 8
Original Telecast: Nov. 22/1996

Luddite

Producer:Jennifer Campbell
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Is our love affair with technology getting a bit obsessive? The unabomber apparently believed only explosions would disturb our romance wit technology. We found a Canadian trying another way to battle the almighty computer.

Otaku

Producer: Adrian Callender
Reporter: Todd Southgate

One extreme form of obsession with technology is the information junkie. They are people actually in love with information, and they first came to light in Japan, according to Todd Southgate.

Israeli Cellular

Producer: Sharona Schwartz
Reporter: Anna Maria Tremonti

If there's one piece of technology that's taking the whole world by storm, it has to be the cell phone. Look at Israel, where Anna Maria Tremonti says cell phone use is a national compulsion.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 9
Original Telecast: Nov 29/96

Wired Flesh

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

We're all dependent on technology - the phones, the Walkman, the fax machines - they are a part of our lives. So much a part of us that they may become part of out bodies. It sounds outrageous, but tonight on a special edition of Undercurrents, we look at how that reality is closer than you'd ever think.
In the past few years, scientists have started thinking about not just wrapping things around us, but actually penetrating our bodies, replacing or upgrading parts that aren't quite powerful or perfect enough. We're not talking pacemakers or cosmetic surgery here. We're talking about the merger of man and machine into the post human.

Media Freebies

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Andrew Younghusband

Are you cynical about why reporters sometimes do flattering stories about certain products? If so, you'll enjoy this nasty venal theory about how the media really works, proposed by Andrew Younghusband.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 10
Original Telecast: Dec 6/1996

Radio Spy

Producer: Jennifer Campbell
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Tonight, a story about some powerful spy technology and what was revealed when it monitored Canadian radio stations.
Real Life

Producer/Reporter: Adam Little

In this multi-channel universe, how does a new TV channel draw attention? Adam Little found that one sure technique is to advertise a talent contest.

Net Ads

Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Naomi Klein

Irritating as they may be, commercial breaks on TV do make a clear distinction between ads and actual programs. But on the Internet, according to Naomi Klein, the ads are camouflaged.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 11
Original Telecast: Dec 13/96

Witness
Producer: Kate Gillen & Judy Jackson
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Home video cameras are making big news in North America. Now a group backed by rock star Peter Gabriel is hoping these cameras will make a difference in the third world.

Traffic Reporting

Producer/Reporter: Todd Southgate

With winter here, it's peak season for the news. New traffic reports. But as Todd found out those reports are not what you might think.

Edmonton Live

Producer/Reporter: Catherine Legge

TV watching is often criticised as anti-social, TV watchers as couch potatoes. But as Catherine Legge found out, TV is now getting people out of the house and into theatres.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 12
Original Telecast: Jan.3/97

Gay Ads

Producer: Anne Wright-Howard
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

First, a story about controversial advertising.....and how much is too much? It all started with a dramatic ad from Britain that broke new ground.

Speed Freaks

Producer/Reporter: Howard Green

Say the word; "speed freak" and bug eyed dope addicts probably come to mind. But Howard Green found that a lot of us are becoming speed addicts---people who need, even demand, that everything go faster, faster......
Melrose Mondays
Producer/Reporter: Catherine Legge
Are TV soap operas like Melrose Place just outrageous fantasies for people who don't get out much? Not in Calgary, according to Catherine Legge who went for a night out on Melrose Monday.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 13
Original Telecast: Jan. 10/97

The Peoples Network

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Had it with TV that's violent, sleazy, even depressing? Well now there's a TV network that's full of inspiration. It's called The People Network and it wants to make you a better person! Maybe even rich too!

Shrink Link

Producer: Gail Gallant
Reporter: Todd Southgate

It's hardly surprising that medicine and technology go well together. But psychiatry? That's just 2 people and 2 chairs, right? Well, Todd Southgate found that some shrinks have found a compelling reason to tap into the latest technology.

Chapters

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Andrew Younghusband

The marketing mavens have sold us the line that the public sector is lazy, ineffectual......while the private...well......it's very enterprising. So how do these marketing values apply to culture? Andrew Younghusband toured some new cultural hotspots.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 14
Original Telecast: Jan.17/99

VNR's

Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Video News Releases - Businesses are producing their own news stories, buying satellite time and getting their stories on newscasts around the world. The line between news and advertising is getting blurry.

Fonts

Producer: Gail Gallant
Reporter: Todd Southgate

Have you noticed that words look different on TV, ads and billboards, in magazines? The digital revolution has produced all sorts of crazy typefaces.

Death of Photojournalism

Producer: Amy Serafin
Reporter: Amy Serafin

Remember the Oklahoma bomb and the famous photo of the fireman cradling a dying baby in his arms? It was a powerful image. But that kind of photojournalism may be losing its popularity, according to Amy Serafin, reporting from Paris.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 15
Original Telecast: Jan. 24/97

B-92 Radio Belgrade

Producer: Anne Wright-Howard
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Here, we take the news for granted. Sometimes it almost feels like overload. But in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, they're in the streets demonstrating and desperate for information. The only provider of any real information is a little radio station with the call letters B-92.

Health Net

Producer: Gail Gallant

Ever been sick and your doctor's kept you in the dark about what's really wrong with you? Well, in the age if the Internet, you can now go on line and find out far more than you ever wanted.

Virtual Golf

Producer/Reporter: Catherine Legge

Technology has all sorts of serious applications, and some very frivolous ones. For example take one computer, two cameras and a video projector, and you have, as Catherine Legge experienced, sport for a winter night.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 17
Original Telecast: Feb. 7/97

Car Tech

Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

It's hard to be invisible in these technological times. We get caught on surveillance cameras and leave data trails with our credit cards. Now our cars are becoming tracking devices.

Phone Fraud

Producer/Reporter: Gail Gallant

We've all heard tales about people getting phone bills with strange charges in them. Well, when Undercurrent's Gail Gallant got on she set out on a one-woman mission to get the story behind the phone bill.

Reporting: Burma

Producer: Heather Kelly/Pam Bertrand
Reporter: Heather Kelly

There's some heavy marketing underway to launch the latest Asian tourist hotspot Myanmar of Burma. But in opening this tightly controlled country to tourism, the generals who run the country are also risking opening it up to cameras. Heather Kelly reports on how the generals keep the lid on what we see about Burma.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 18
Original Telecast: Feb 14/97

Beeper Kid

Producer: Anne Wright-Howard
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

If you've got kids, you can't help worry about how they can wander off and get into serious trouble. Don't you wish you could just stick a tracking device on them?

Techno Theatre

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Todd Southgate

Everyone knows that the real stars of blockbuster movies are the digital special effects - great movie moments brought to you by computers. Todd Southgate discovered that hi-tech is moving into the theatre too.

Cyber Sex

Producer: Gail Gallant
Reporter: The Other Woman

For Valentines Day, we've got a look at a new king of romantic relationship. Forget flowers and candlelit dinners, these lovers never actually meet, except over the Internet. One woman tells us how it works.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 19
Original Telecast: Feb 21/1997

The Spying Game

Producer: Jennifer Campbell
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

So much for the end of the cold war, and an end to spying. The spies are still at it, only now they focus their hi-tech toys on new targets.

Inside the KGB

Producer: Steve McNally/Pam Bertrand
Reporter: Steve McNally

In every spy thriller, from John LeCarre through Ian Flemming, the bad guys are always the KGB. With a worldwide reputation as ruthless murderers, could the Russian spymasters do anything that would clean up that image? Steve McNally reports from Moscow.

Remember the Pen

Producer/Reporter: Adrienne Arsenault

Does anyone actually write anything anymore. Actually put pen to paper? There's just cheques, birthday cards, credit card receipts. Is it any surprise then that as Adrienne Arsenault discovered, there's some nostalgia for the vanishing act of handwriting.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 20
Original Telecast: Feb.28/97

VideoTree

Producer: Anne Wright-Howard
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

There's a certain independence involved in using your VCR and being able to watch TV programs when you want. Trust the Americans though, some of them have taken that a step further, into a quirky new social phenomenon, the tape tree, and the videos on this tree are a real surprise.
Animal Tech

Producer: Adrian Callender
Reporter: Todd Southgate

All those cell phones and computers have us exchanging information like mad. Some researchers are using that same technology to try and connect up with the animal world . Todd Southgate reports.

Taking Control

Producer: Mike Jorgenson/Pam Bertrand
Reporter: Sudha Krishna

There have been lots of media stories about school kids and computers. Now some kids in North Alberta are telling their story on their web site. Sudha Krishna visited Peerless Lake, Alberta, which first hit the news eleven years ago.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 21
Original Telecast: March 7/1997

Sports Cam
Producer: Randy Werle
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

What makes a sport a sport? The skill of the athlete, the thrill of the competition? Yes but these days some sports exist just because they're exciting to watch on TV.

Community TV

Producer: Ann Harbron
Reporter: Todd Southgate

In this new corporate world, communities are under siege. Local hospitals are being shut down, local school boards removed and local governments reduced; now, says Todd Southgate, add community cable to the list.

Newspaper Nostalgia

Producer/Reporter: Eric Fitz

Change is the mantra of the information revolution. Adapt to changing technology or die. But Undercurrents' Eric Fitz believes there are some little human rituals that are worth hanging on to.


Undercurrents
Season 2, Show 22
Original Telecast: March 14/97

Selling in Schools

Producer: Jennifer Campbell
Reporter: Wendy Mesley

Have you noticed that a lot of ads are targeted at kids these days? And it's not just on TV or billboards, it's actually in the classroom. It's easy for parents to object to really crass commercials in schools, but sometimes the marketing is going on much more subtle.

Nanotechnology

Producer/Reporter: Howard Green

We've all been conditioned to believe that bigger means better. Well, as Howard Green reports, size does matter, but maybe not the way you think.

Broadcast Voice

Producer/Reporter: Gail Gallant

You've probably read the newspaper ads which say "sexy voices wanted' or 'voices for TV news.' Undercurrents' Gail Gallant saw one of those ads and decided to find out a bit more about what makes the broadcast voice.