Monday, April 11, 2011

In the Public Interest

I always give my wife a hard time when she complains that a prime time show is interrupted by severe weather coverage, or her afternoon soap is pre-empted by a Presidential press conference or election night results cover up half the screen on Biggest Loser every November.  So imagine the shame I felt yesterday while at a Masters party and Channel 5 decided to break into coverage for a weather update.  "They are breaking in to tell us about a Tornado Watch--not even a Warning?  Don't they know Tiger is about to putt for an eagle??"  That was quickly followed by "Oh my God, I've become 'one of them'!"

As hard as it may be to believe given some of the junk on TV and Radio nowadays, but the number one purpose of the broadcast media is to operate in the "public interest".  Some would argue that we fail in mission--but if you look back at last night, we certainly lived up to that requirement.  We here at Cumulus were wall-to-wall on all five of our stations for two hours with constant updates on Tornado Warnings and storm paths.  All of the Green Bay TV stations did the same.

It kills me when people complain about such coverage.  I remember Fox 11 just getting killed a couple of years ago when it pre-empted American Idol to cover Tornado Warnings in the northern part of their viewing area.  I couldn't believe that the meteorologists had to keep assuring everyone that Idol would be shown in its entirety after the DEADLY WEATHER SITUATION had passed.  I even heard people around here complain afterwards, "It was all the way up in Marinette County--hardly anybody lives up there."  I would try to explain that the few people up there probably appreciated being kept up-to-date on a DEADLY WEATHER SITUATION--even if it meant missing Danny Gokey warble his way through another bad cover version of the Beatles.

So please, try to be more understanding when severe weather or breaking news coverage pre-empts your favorite show or songs.  We are only doing our jobs.

1 comment:

  1. People today are very impatient. The T.V. show will be there another day, the election results will be there the next day, with the same winner. Slow down and "stop to smell the roses".