News Flash — It’s Not a Major Snow Event

Local TV stations are so starved for snowflakes, they’d have you think this afternoon’s potential dusting should incite panic. In some cases, it is. Everyone’s making jokes about getting bread and milk, and anyone hosting an event of any type tonight is wavering on going through with it. I remember making these jokes a long time ago, but it is really getting much, much worse, maybe because local TV has so many more hours to fill. But don’t panic, or cancel your plans. It’s really going to be OK, even if you have to drive your vehicle on a wet stretch of pavement.

WAVE pulled the "Panic" Red when JCPS panicked

And Yes, JCPS is probably going to let school out early, as it’s already being reported in the media, based not on actual weather, but “predictions” of weather.  At 8 a.m., at least 8 hours before the first projected flake, JCPS had already canceled its early childhood education transportation, leaving plenty of working Moms without alternatives for getting their kids to school and getting to work. Which is  a really, really bad policy.

WAVE’s New Look: The other morning at the Breakfast of Champions, John Boel told me that what they’re doing on the WAVE morning show is truly unique, so I tuned in this morning to see. Of course, the show was all about the weather. But Boel is doing some unusual segments. Since the show comes on at 4:30, it is pushing to come up with stories that are fresh and not re-hashes of stories from the day before. So they’ve got Boel standing in front of a monitor showing video of stories from around the world that occurred overnight. Today it was two weather-related pieces — once from North Carolina and another from Oklahoma.

Let’s just say that I admire the effort, but I’m not getting up to watch the morning news at 4:30 to see a tornado in North Carolina. If I’m up at that time, it’s likely I did miss the late local news and that’s what I want to see.  It IS a different approach. Boel said his new assignment is difficult and requires plenty of quick thinking and learning of new technology. If anybody can do that well, it’s him.

Gannett’s Pay Wall: All signs point to the possibility that Gannett is really going to put up a pay wall on its web sites, including the Courier-Journal. According to this site, non-subscribers will have limited access to the newspaper online, and the cost of subscriptions and single copies of the actual paper could go up. I realize that Gannett is desperate, but this move will only serve to make its product less relevant. The downward spiral will continue as customers figure out that, well, it’s just not worth paying for. Which, of course, will affect what is charged to advertisers.

The leaked email implies that the changes will provide an opportunity for better news coverage.  I don’t think you’re buying that one, but Gannett is putting it out there in this suggested wording to customers, somehow justifying a price increase: “. . . is committed to investing new resources in its news gathering efforts. To support new investment initiatives name of media company is raising the suggested retail price.”

Can You Tell Them Apart? : Former WHAS-TV meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is back on the local airwaves after four years in Kansas.  He was hired by WDRB-TV the first of the year. Lori Farmer McDowell left the station then.  Kappell joins Marc Weinberg and Jude Redfield on the station’s weather team. Is it weird that they all look alike?