Monday, May 12, 2008

An eye-opener

Not too many people know the name Rob Madeo, even though they know his writing fairly well. For more than three years, he made the Capital Region his audience, including just about every media-savvy reporter in television and print. Through his blog, he regularly spoke to an audience of thousands and his writing became an industry standard among the blogosphere's rank and file.

Then in December 2006, he vanished. He left behind a simple thanks to his loyal readers and then disappeared.

That was until March, when the Albany Eye was again voted as a top local blog by Metroland readers, after being awarded the top blog honors the previous year. Both citations and one from the Times Union came without a single update to the site throughout 2007 and into 2008. Suddenly, the Albany Eye blinked open for a quick missive. And then another in April. Only this time, it was to announce he’s starting a new venture into the blogosphere.

The Albany Eye it ain’t, Madeo confesses on his former site. Rather, it’s a way to satiate the almost drug-like craving many bloggers feel as they ply their trade. For those unfamiliar with Madeo’s real job, he’s the award-winning promoter at Albany’s NBC affiliate, WNYT. Though he received several commendations for his work at the station, he remained largely anonymous among the general public.

Then in September 2004, a curiously sardonic writer identifying himself as the “Albany Eye” started blogging about transgressions in the media world. Within a year, the Eye grew to almost epic proportions, drawing thousands of readers and becoming a household name in newsrooms. So popular was the Eye that it even generated a short-lived blog critiquing the quality of its daily posts.

But periodically, the Eye would blink shut. Madeo later confessed these outages were largely due to the growing heat to pull him from anonymity. Sure enough, there were plenty of denizens lurking in cyberspace and waiting for the right cue to out the anonymous critic.

But it wasn’t this heat that finally took him down. It was Madeo’s own compulsion to blog. When former Phish front man Trey Anastasio was arrested on drug charges, Madeo found himself blogging about the incident from work. As a result, he ended up tipping off just about every media source under the sun. The move infuriated the network, which managed to track the posting back to his office. Suddenly and without notice, the Albany Eye disappeared altogether.

What followed was a curious sequence of events. The domain name was first usurped by a nearly illiterate poster, foisting their cyber-trash as the Eye. The poster made allusions that the Eye was in fact J.R. Gach, a sophomoric radio host known among legal circles as a lawsuit magnet. Ultimately, the Eye prevailed, banishing the short-live author to the depths of cyberspace and restoring an archive of his posts, but never adding to them.

Pan to the present. The Eye is back, only this time, he’s Rob Madeo. His new blog seems to have a bit less of the caustic edge he wielded like a rapier in the old one, but it’s unmistakably the Albany Eye. And he’s provided an explanation for many of the questions so frequently asked by his fans. So if you’re among the thousands who enjoy his witty, sometimes twisted sense of humor, give his new site a peak. It’s every bit worthy of a read. So this is a welcome back, Eye. You’ve been sorely missed


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talented writer, no doubt. But, too bad Rob Madeo is a prick in real life.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Rob said...


3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..and if I'd leaked an exclusive to the outside world, I'd be gone and my name, mud.

..people have been canned for much, much less...

One must wonder where the Channel 13 brass keep the jar holding Mr. Madeo's soul.. or lower, rounder dearly treasured items..

7:20 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

They keep that jar up in the attic near the old U-Matic machines.

12:10 PM  

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