Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Weather Or Not

The local TV news operations in the Cleveland market rarely need help emphasizing bad weather. Most of 'em pull out all the stops even when moderate storms are forecast anywhere NEAR Cleveland, complete with flashy graphics, hyperactive and excited weather forecasters, and bundled up live reporters all over town.

Give them a real storm, and they're off to the races.

Local stations preempted such important programming as soap operas and popular syndicated talk shows for coverage of this winter storm.

For example, ABC affiliate WEWS/5 pushed talk titan Oprah Winfrey to 2:05 AM early Wednesday morning, right after an airing of ABC's "General Hospital". We didn't see if WKYC/3 did the same to its own talk powerhouse, Dr. Phil, which keeps the "Channel 3 News" folks off the air until 6 PM on most days.

And local stations also kept people in late, and brought them in early. The morning shows got a jump on things this morning with a 4 AM start...some even bringing in weather forecasters from the night before.

Radio-wise, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 blew out Premiere's "Coast to Coast AM" in favor of live, local programming with weekend morning host Bob Becker, leading up to the station's "Wills and Snyder".

The major winter storm experienced in these parts didn't quite warrant the final move - preemption of prime-time network programming, which continued unabated on all of Cleveland's "Big Four" stations. Oh, with the requisite "Official School Closing Station" graphics at the bottom of your screen, of course.

By the time we hit the late newscasts on Tuesday, we tired of it all. Yes, all the schools are closed. Yes, you're not supposed to be out on the roadways.

So, we hit the national news feed live out of Univision, the Spanish-language outlet seen locally on WQHS/61 in Cleveland.

And we got a strange satisfaction about picking out words like "tormente" while watching the live Reporter In Front Of The Highway Department's Salt Dome shot from "Nueva York". And we know not even a bit of Spanish.

By the way, we hear out of Time Warner Cable that the storm prompted them to cancel their press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning. We suspect the TWC folks would do it, if not for the fact that they wouldn't have anyone show up for it.

We've been told that we'll be kept in the loop about future developments, which may or may not track with some of our speculation in the previous item we posted. As we told them, we reserve the right to be spectacularly wrong in our own clearly labeled speculation...

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW! Imagine that!
A Clear Channel station actually providing information!
Lemme guess....smoke and mirrors right?

In all seriousness, WTAM did a great job with coverage.
Also, in Akron, I heard constant updates on 640 WHLO and 98.1 WKDD yesterday afternoon with news reports and continuous traffic information, which continued into the evening.

Bob said...

I have long tired of the over-hyped quality of television weather reports. It's more about outdoing the competition, particularly in sweeps periods (don't forget, February is one of them) than truly providing a service to the public. I know - I have worked in television news.

I stick to information on the radio and on the internet, chiefly the online weather resources of the National Weather Service and AccuWeather. There I can get the information and I can decide what plans to make.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above.
Channel 5 is STILL on the air with coverage and you can tell they are searching for things to talk about.
They've been with the live shot on Euclid Ave. for a good 5 minutes, even talking to the UPS guy.

Anonymous said...

Hey OMW, speaking of Channel 5, do you know where Jason Nicholas came from?
He's quite good (and appears quite young too!)

david5258 said...

oa--i was in warren on business yesterday, leaving at 520 to return home to orrville.
kudos to wkbn570 for their coverage of winter traffic hazards live wth ron and casey. they invited callers to give reports for their experiences and got responses from cleveland to pittsburgh and points in between.
on a personal note, i took the tpike home to 77. it took 90 minutes to make the normal 40 minute trip. i got home safely at 910. 570 was clear all the way into independence. terrific community service to a locally operated clearchannel outlet.
david5258

Anonymous said...

Next time, WTAM 1100 should take a page from the 570 WKBN playbook and
start storm coverage when the storm hits. Yesterday (storm day) most downtown Cleveland businesses let their employees leave early at 2 or 3pm. 1100 to the rescue? - Nope! Nary a traffic update or report on TAM between 3 and 4.

Instead we had to put up with Triv talking about the size of Anna Nicole's bosom...and expounding on why black NBA players like white blonde women. PULLEEEZ! Gimme a break!

Note to Ray Davis and Darren Toms: call Dan Rivers at 570 KBN and ask him how severe weather programming is supposed to be done. Kudos to 'KBN!

Anonymous said...

TV is the worst source for weather info — it's verbose and hysterical more than it is informative, unless you count the summer thunderstorm reports that read like railroad timetables. "2:15 Medina, 2:35 Montrose, 2:40 West Akron..."

Online sites — I happen to like Weather Underground (wunderground.com), which doesn't show you how to make bombs, but has lots of clear, accurate information from authoritative sources — beat broadcast for this kind of service.

Anonymous said...

TV is the worst source for weather info — it's verbose and hysterical more than it is informative, unless you count the summer thunderstorm reports that read like railroad timetables. "2:15 Medina, 2:35 Montrose, 2:40 West Akron..."

Online sites — I happen to like Weather Underground (wunderground.com), which doesn't show you how to make bombs, but has lots of clear, accurate information from authoritative sources — beat broadcast for this kind of service.

Anonymous said...

Actually not ALL schools were closed today (at least at first). Shaker Heights screwed up and didn't close until staff started to arrive and kids were on the way!

74WIXYgrad said...

I agree with the 11:58 poster. WTAM was a day late and a dollar short on their storm coverage. I think that they were negligent, as the station calls themselves "news radio". the weather and subsequent traffic conditions was the news yesterday afternoon. I don't care about triv yelling "news time" "sports time" "traffic time" etc., or his pet name for Alison.

BizDecision said...

I'd like to thank "anonymous" for reminding me of the painful 2+ hours of radio I endured listening to WTAM Tuesday on my way home. I wanted constant road/traffic updates. Instead, I heard Triv jokingly (at least I hope he was joking) say that if you put a blonde with big boobs at the front row of a basketball game, Kobe Bryant wouldn't score more than something like 2 points. He talked about how much money a pimp could make in Las Vegas this coming weekend since the NBA all-star game is being played in the City of Lights.

What an idiot. Triv is a total buffoon. What an embarrassment to Cleveland.

Chuck Galetti is a tremendous upgrade over Triv. Bob Frantz is A LOT more listenable than Tub O'Triv. I would keep it locked to WTAM for the drive home if either of these two took Triv's shift.

Bob Long said...

It was really wrong of the TV folks to keep talking about the "blizard." Yes, blizzard conditions did exist in NW Ohio around Sandusky and Findlay, but not in Cleveland and points south and east.Yet, there they were , talking to people in Cleveland and Akron about how they coped with the blizzard.