Broward News

Local TV Needs Character. Meet Bogey.

Every TV news station in South Florida follows the same script: attractive people reading a teleprompter full of news that's spectacular on video, inconsequential to the viewer and forgotten in a flash. Fine. It's theater. I get that. But theater thrives on character, too. And this is what's lacking in the South Florida television news market. Character will make one TV news station stand out from the others.

Now would be a good time to introduce you TV folks to Bogey. With a name like Mike "Bogey" Boguslawski, you can't not be a character.

However cynical one's views may be about the viewing tastes of South Floridians, they couldn't possibly be more superficial than those in Los Angeles, where a bald, aging Bogey was a sensation. Speaking from personal experience, I was an infrequent viewer of television news during the one year I spent in L.A., but I must have seen at least one segment of Bogey's, because nine years later I recognized the name in a pile of faxes in our New Times office.

It's not just that he looks different. It's that distinctive voice, that absurd, infectious enthusiasm. And watching him, you're sure that this time he's finally gonna snap and just cold slug somebody -- even though he never does. That's how passionately he takes his mission as bully for the bullied, vanquishing all those who would cheat the powerless.

Which is why in this moment in local history, when you can't swing a mutilated cat without hitting a white collar crook, Bogey is perfect. The recently transplanted consumer warrior sent out videos to all the local stations, requesting a relatively meager salary in exchange for the camera crew he needs to work his television magic.

Admittedly, he's a touch long in the tooth -- 68, to be exact. "But I have 15 more years!" says Bogey when I bring up the subject. "I feel 28!"

As he waits for that phone call, Bogey's kept himself his busy. A few weeks ago, he helped out a 7/11 clerk who had trouble with used-car salesman. And his most heavenly mission is a campaign to attract big-ticket country acts to the New Covenant Church on the Lake in Pompano Beach, which desperately needs the money it could generate from ticket sales after the insurance dollars proved insufficient for repairing the damage from Hurricane Wilma. It's non-paying work.

"I know it's hard for people to understand," says Bogey. "'Why would this guy break his tush to help people?' But I believe we're put on this earth to make other peoples' lives better."

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Thomas Francis