Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Long Night

It was a rough Tuesday! As expected, the severe weather broke out mid-afternoon and didn't stop until 11pm. We had several reported tornadoes on the ground as well as damage coming in from all parts of the state. A couple of times yesterday afternoon, I had to break into commercials and programming (no big deal considering we have those "judge" shows in the late afternoons). Around 6:30pm, I had to break into Entertainment Tonight because we had 2 tornadoes on the ground. As always, there will be complaints from viewers. One man called the WLBT newsroom and told a producer that he wanted her to come "yank" me off the television so he could see his show. When she kindly explained to him that we had tornadoes on the ground, we had an obligation with our viewers and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), he shouted, "I know what your obligation is. Get Barbie off the tv!" The producer sat quietly on the phone for a few seconds and the caller said, "Well, I'm waiting! She's still on!"

Then, I received this email from another viewer:
Where have you gone Dear Woody? Maybe it's me... but I do not believe the general viewing public needs or wants a mind numbing door to door prediction, jam packed with meteorologist jargon we do not understand or need to know, if we wanted to be a meteorologist we would have taken classes that are not jammed down our throats over and over while we just hope to get the basic facts,,, are we in danger, yes or no... simple. Give us credit for a little common sense and don't go on and on cutting in on programing when we know you are really not helping the public, but just trying to stay ahead of other local stations and get more little citations to hang on the wall, its all about ratings and who can "Out Technical " the other stations, I expect to see a weathercaster knocking on my door sooner or later, going door to door screaming "hey it is raining, remember, you heard it here first!!!!" PLEASE GIVE US A BREAK!!! Signed, Anonymous

At the same time I was receiving this email, I had several calls from senior citizens who were scared and needed assurance. Some wanted me to tell them how their weather radio worked; others wanted to know if they should abandon their mobile home because they live alone.

Even after all of these years, I still can't get over the number of people who think the severe weather doesn't matter if it isn't affecting their home. It's almost as if they think, "let everybody else die..let me watch my show!"

When I had to break in, I made sure to make the updates clear, concise, and tell viewers what to expect. When we had tornadoes on the ground at several locations with reports of homes damaged, trees and power lines down, it became apparent this threat was real and warranted. To be honest, I don't go on the air to try to out-do the other television stations. If I wanted to do that, I would go on for hours at a time and stay on. The last thing I want to do is to scare the public or to overwhelm them with weather information.

I can only hope if some of these viewers find themselves in the same position as others did last night, there will be a meteorologist around who cares the same for them.


Melanie Smith said...

Keep your chin up!!! YOU LOOK GREAT AND DO A GREAT JOB FORCASTING THE WEATHER!!! ;O) Have a good rest of the week!

John said...

Barbie, the same people who are complaining would be the same ones probably that would complain because they didn't get a 1 hour notice of the tornado that took their roof off. I get a whole lot more aggravated about the radio. A whole town could get wiped out by the time they get through with that alert tone. YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION, GIVE ME THE INFO.

Thank you, Barbie
HUGS to your clan at home

FYI: Channel 3 is the only station I can get.

Sara said...

Don't let negative comments get you down. You did your job and you should be proud of that. Unfortunately, there are some people in this world who don't do anything but complain.

John said...

Barbie, the same people who are complaining would probably be complaining that they didn't have an hours notice before a tornado took their roof off. I get more aggravated with the national weather service radio alert. YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION, TURN THE ALERT OFF AND GIVE ME THE INFO, DUH!!!!! A whole town could be wiped out by the time they turn the alert off.

Thank you Barbie
HUGS to all your clan at home. You know what kind.
FYI: I can only pick up channel 3.

shellj said...

People out there are crazy. It is no sense for grown adults to act like they do. I was glad to get the updates,because I had a church meeting to go to and by getting updates I knew where the whether was and knew where it was going.

It was a great help;)
Thank you for staying up and taking care of all of us!

vicky turk said...

Vicky TURK said... evil lurks around just like a tornado you never know when one will blow! comments, that some people truly need prays. Barbie have a blessed day.

wlabare said...

Mrs. Bassett, Being a fellow weather forecaster, I understand your situation. My In-Laws are in your viewing area and they are very happy to see you. Please remember it is only the rude people who speak out. Just remember the millions of other people who are silently saying Thank you Very much. I personnaly say thank you and God Bless YOU!!!

SSgt Warren LaBare