With all the technology that exists today, there must be some way to provide TV viewers who don’t care to sit through marathon local TV coverage of severe weather and would rather see the program being pre-empted by the live storm coverage.
Many of the local TV stations that provide live severe weather coverage have at their disposal auxiliary channels – which usually have far lower viewership than their main channel – to which the interrupted programming could be switched. Viewers could be told, either by a “crawl” on the bottom of the screen or by mentions during the severe weather coverage by the meteorologists and news people who are providing the live coverage, that the interrupted programming could be seen on their alternate channel.
Case on point: yesterday afternoon’s bout of severe storms which hit north and west of Madison. The local live coverage pre-empted the popular game show “Jeopardy” on WMTV-15 in Madison, and the folks at Channel 15 got an earful of complaints from callers and on the station’s social media platforms.
Listen, friends: as a retired broadcaster, I can tell you that you’re not going to change the minds of the news managers and meteorologists at these stations. They’re going to interrupt programming to do live severe weather coverage, period, end of sentence. They see it as a critical mission to keep their viewers informed when there’s dangerous weather around, and they’re not going to be dissuaded.
I just wish that for those of us who don’t care to sit through the extended weather coverage, there would be a method whereby we could continue watching Jeopardy. Or whichever show is being interrupted.
But, I suspect my proposal is fraught with all sorts of legal issues. In the specific case of yesterday afternoon, I’m guessing that Channel 15 couldn’t just switch Jeopardy over to CW, another local channel owned by the same company that owns Channel 15. And I suppose the lawyers would holler if NBC-15 would say “during this live severe weather coverage, Jeopardy is being streamed live on our website, NBC15-dot-com.”
We’re fortunate in Madison to have a great collection of seasoned professional meteorologists providing excellent, knowledgeable, authoritative severe weather coverage. I’m honored to say that some of these folks – like Gary Cannalte at Channel 3 – have been personal friends for decades. They're very, very good at what they do.
But when the severe weather is 50 miles away and not headed toward me, I selfishly wish that there was a way I could see the program being interrupted, instead of the radar-indicated tornadoes.
I’ll take “Alternative TV Coverage” for 400 dollars, Alex…….