Friday, December 29, 2006

Severe Weather Potential & Emails

The possibility for severe weather still exists late tonight and into Saturday as a strong cold front pushes into the state. A squall line is expected to set up with heavy rain and damaging winds possible. My co-worker, weekend meteorologist Eric Law, will be on duty and I have complete confidence in him and his abilities to keep you informed of the impending weather.

Speaking of, I sometimes get emails concerning our weather coverage. Here is an email I got last night:
My wife is a weather nut, so perforce I am obliged to doze through obligatory 5 minute time slots during which the reporter/meteorologist is expected to say something interesting about the weather. You and your disciples seem to do a better job more consistently. When Hartman first arrived, he was (I thought) way ahead of his competition, but over time others, notably you, have equaled his skills and surpassed his presentation. Better yet, most of your subs seem to do the same. One of the griping things about one of your opposites seems (if he is still there) to be a tendency to talk down to his audience. Sample:"Now this is what I want you to do. I want you to go into your closet..." all said while he dramatically prances about in his over-tailored suit.

Likewise griping is the exaggeration of threats and dangers about which nothing can be done. I feel that much of that is the result of the evident requirement to occupy five minutes of air time. This you do extraordinarily well.

Granted, everyone has an opinion. As the Chief Meteorologist, I must make the decision as to whether to follow the pack and do what the competition is doing, or to make my own decisions and stick by them. It is my belief that there is no need to go on the air and stay on for hours at a time, only to say the same old thing over and over and over again! However, if a tornado has been spotted and has a history of damage, WLBT pulls what is called wall-to-wall coverage and we blow out the commercials.

There comes a point when you have to let the public defend themselves. Break in, tell them the latest weather information, give them the tools they need in order to determine if their family is at risk, then pray they take heed. Holding their hands for hours at a time, I can't do because there are another 100,000 plus viewers out there to serve as well.

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