28 March 2009

What a Job! If everyone is peeved, you did It right!

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I am not much of a Basketball fan. Cricket and Football for me. No not that football. REAL FOOTBALL. Think Beckham!) . (Who I am watching play for England against Slovakia, as I type!)

I’m smart enough to know that March is HUGE for basketball fans. Now the rub. Two big games are on, and the CBS is broadcasting them in High Definition. As I expected, storms started to develop,  and conditions were favorable for tornadoes, hail and damaging winds.

The trick here is to give out all the necessary information immediately, but still allow those in the path of the storms to know that they are dangerous, and when they will arrive.


Viewer Mike Wilhelm took this shot of the storms behind our transmission towers in Huntsville.

Thanks to some excellent directing, and a little cooperation from Mother Nature, we showed almost the entire game, and anyone watching would have had advance warning of the storms, with the needed information to prepare for them.

The newsroom told me, that indeed the phones melted during the game. About half of the callers were asking why we were not on constantly tracking the storms, and the other half were upset about the on air map, the crawls, and the short interruptions. That tells me I hit the right balance. This has to be the only job in the World where if you tick everybody off, you did well!

Anyone who has done this job for 29 years, soon gets to have a thick skin. The complaints are usually pretty silly. People do not seem to realize that there are other areas of North Alabama than where they live. They cannot seem to understand that the folks where the storms are, want to know if they are about to be slammed by a a tornado. Actually they do realize it, they just don’t want to admit it.

My way of thinking about these situations, is to imagine I am watching Doctor Who. Would I think the interruptions were fair?

Tonight, I would have said yes.

The real problem was missing Earth Hour! I turned out the lights at the same time as those in Vancouver and San Francisco though!


PS, England 4 Slovakia nil 🙂