In all, despite the hokiness that crept into some of the broadcasts, the bulk of the coverage was thoughtful and well-done. But at the same time, “Live from the White House” cannot be dismissed as a wasted messaging effort for Obama.

Indeed, in a week in which the national press corps—already bored with the stalled American Jobs Act—has been frustratingly and entirely absorbed by Herman Cain’s maybe-shenanigans in the late 1990s, the president’s efforts to reach the public through local television channels look particularly shrewd. Besides pushing his jobs plan, Obama managed to tailor his message ten times over, and address the regional issues that get less play within the Beltway and on the national nightly news.

In this way, viewers in these markets got something too—a chance to hear the president speak on the more local issues that matter to them.

It may be a time-honored tradition to poke fun at local newscasters—Nichols made note of his visiting colleagues’ “lustrous hair and chiseled features”—but it’s smart and, maybe, predictable that the administration is taking them seriously.

And since Obama is taking them seriously, so is another presidential contender—one of lustrous hair and chiseled features, even. Just one day after KRTV Houston and KUSA Denver got their exclusives with Obama, they were contacted by Mitt Romney’s campaign and offered one-on-one interviews. Turns out the top Republican contender has an acute sense of timing, too.

Erika Fry is a former assistant editor at CJR.