State cancels Discover Oklahoma…
5:19 PM EST on December 12, 2023
Tourism Director Shelley Zumwalt’s war against the olds is going strong!
Not content with firing longtime senior tourism staffers over their age, Stitt’s Chief Tourism Czar is now hitting the state’s elderly population where it really hurts – broadcast television programming.
Thanks to a tip via the Ogle Mole Network, we’ve learned the Oklahoma Tourism Department has canceled the production of new episodes of the long-running tourism-focused TV show Discover Oklahoma.
The series first aired in 1991 as a way to boost tourism across the state, and since then has profiled thousands of Oklahoma shops, restaurants, festivals, oddities, parks, towns, artisans, musicians, chefs, weirdos, rodeo clowns, and other attractions each Saturday evening at 6:30pm.
The show also became a go-to home for semi-retired, out-of-work, and other “Hey, I remember them!” new anchors and TV personalities, ranging from Dino Lalli to Lauren Nelson, Angela Buckelew to Lucas Ross, Quin Tran to Chellie Mills, and our personal favorite, Tiffany Tatro, using the program as an opportunity to stay active and score some easy freelance work.
Although the TV show’s days of informing old people about which handmade leather boot workshop or fried pie stand to visit while going on a leaf-peeping tour in Green Country will soon end, the Discover Oklahoma brand will still have some sort of online presence.
I assume that’s because the Tourism Department still has a lot of Discover Oklahoma merchandise hanging around that they need to sell:
Yeah, who doesn't want to dress their newborn in Discover Oklahoma gear? It's the biggest Oklahoma fashion rage since we sold Crystal's Pizza t-shirts:
In all seriousness, I wonder how long before Discover Oklahoma apparel ends up next to Foggy Bottom Kitchen gear at a local consignment shop?
Discover Oklahoma’s cancellation isn’t too surprising.
As we know, Stitt’s not a huge fan of state-funded television and media that he can’t use as his personal propaganda channel:
Plus, earlier this year, the show started using Zumwalt and other tourism staffers as guest hosts.
From what I hear, Zumwalt enacted the change to both cut costs and boost her visibility before she embarks on a Lt. Governor run:
Although this stinks for the old people across the state who loved the show and local news anchors who banked on it for a retirement gig, I can still see why Stitt and Zumwalt made the change.
The media landscape has changed drastically since 1991, and spending a bunch of money to produce and air a show that’s watched by only a few people who fell asleep during a golf tournament earlier in the day probably isn’t the wisest use of taxpayer dollars. You’re better off using those resources on highly-targeted social media content that can exclude old people but still reach a wider audience.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.