September 27, 2006

Classiest Fans in the Nation - A Storm Story

Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to live a nightmare scenario? Have you ever thought to yourself how awful it would be to be in the middle of a firestorm of criticism...doing nothing more than your job...during a time of crisis...taking heat and venom from the very people you're trying to serve?

Enter KETV weatherman John Campbell.

Mr. Campbell was on duty on the night of September 16th on KETV in Omaha, the city's ABC affiliate. Doesn't sound like too hard of a job does it? Read some charts? Put together some scripts, maybe a graphic or two. (I personally think he's an outstanding weatherman for what it's worth).

Anyhow, imagine how young Mr. Campbell must have felt as storm clouds began to rumble across the Omaha metro area....meanwhile, about a million or so rabid Husker fans are watching their beloved team get beatdown by a superior USC team on the station's telecast. Now the clouds are building quickly as the National Weather Center starts to issue Tornado warnings for the Omaha area. Do YOU want to be the guy to interrupt the game? Especially when the game was relatively close at the time? (Who am I kidding? USC had barely walked out of the tunnel, and it was 14-3.) When the tornado warnings finally were issued for the Omaha metro area, the station made the decision to split the screen between the weather personnel, and the game. The severe storm coverage only lasted 20 - 30 minutes or so, and KETV returned to the game in full screen for the second half.

Anyhow, you'll be STUNNED to read Mr. Campbell's politically correct blog entry on the station's website, where he states how difficult of a decision it was, and how he received death threats and the like. I've attached the link, as well as the actual text from the blog itself. Please take this into consideration the next time you hear about how the "Classiest fans on earth" "love their team" so much that they'd actually phone in death threats to a guy who is just trying to save their ass and give them warnings. Yes, I realize this is a week or two late...but just goes to show you how "classy" fans handle their team getting their ass punked on national TV.

When in doubt...take your frustrations out on the guy trying to save you.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

That was horrible...

Last night was by far the worst thing that could have happened. I mentioned yesterday the great balancing act, unfortunately there wasn't much to balance once a tornado warning was issued for both Douglas and Sarpy county. The possible tornado (with confirmation from the Omaha Fire Dept. in southwest Omaha) was near the 180th and Harrison area.I want to set the record straight that it's our policy to cut-in when there is danger to the public and this was definitely the case last night. We worked hard to keep the game going in the double-box system.

I did not want to cut-in, but the situation warranted it. I apologize for the people trying to watch the game. I really do feel bad for the the interruptions.At the same point, while I feel horrible about interrupting the loss, I found the reaction by some people horrible too. Again, I wish I could change how things turned out. However, it's never fun getting death threats or having people calling me things I wouldn't even call Hitler or when people wish me a "slow and painful death". And for those saying we were doing it as a ratings ploy. That's not the case either. From a ratings perspective, it wasn't smart for us to cut-in during the game. That would not boost our ratings. We cut-in because of public safety and for no other reason. While it is also true that there were other channels broadcasting the information about the tornado, very few people were watching them.

The people living in Gretna or on 180th and Harrison were watching our station and in the end it is our policy. Always has been and always will.We're lucky there wasn't worse damage, but when the warning just comes out and you're on-the-air there is no possible way to know whether there is a significant tornado on the ground or not. Sometimes a radar signature that looks perfect for a tornado will produce nothing. Sometimes there's little indication of rotation in a storm and a town suffers damage.

Speaking of damage, those reports can be problems as well.. Sometimes when there is a warning, you'll get so much information about damage and such it is overwhelming. However, there are other times when you get no reports and when the tornado is long gone and then you find out a community is gone. That was the case during the Hallam Tornado a couple years back.I'm not going to post any comments to this post. I've heard quit a few already. (We also had quite a few emails saying that we were being inconsiderate by not giving full-screen storm coverage for the metro tornado warnings, because it was "much more important" than a football game.)

Again, I really do feel sorry. I would have rather watched the game too and I'm sure everyone that was here would have wanted the same.

John Campbell
StormTeam Meteorologist

(Special thanks to Sean Weide for uncovering this story in last week's reader's media notes blog)

Here is Sean Weide's blog entry that sums up the situation very well. Note the Husker fan replies to his blog entry.


Blogger JP Anderson said...

Boo Freakin' Hoo.. Sack up weather man.


From The Associated Press:

"Among The Associated Press' Top 25 football teams, five schools met or exceeded the national average with Notre Dame leading the way at 95 percent. The others were Nebraska at 88 percent, Florida at 80 percent, TCU at 78 percent and Clemson at 77. Florida had the biggest improvement from the federal number nearly doubling its 42 percent rate.

Three of the Top 25 schools had graduation rates below 50 percent. They were Texas (40 percent), Georgia (41) and California (44).

No. 1 ranked Ohio State was at 55 percent, and Southern Cal, the 2004 national champion, was at 55 percent."

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That embarrasses me. As a NU fan, whats really important here people?? I was watching in Lincoln but was glued to the storm coverage since my mom lives near 168th & Q which isnt far from the touchdown. I'll defend Husker nation till I am blue in the face but I cannot defend this. It was just a game not life and death. Anyhoo, GO BIG RED! Smack those fighting Manginos.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Obsessed Husker Fan said...

Hey AJ,
Is Mizzou gonna beat CU this weekend? Im just curious about your feelings on the game. Hawk Love vs. Pinkel. Should be a classic... yawn.

5:33 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Every fan base has it's yayhoos. Just trying to point that out in this story. This isn't so much a Husker problem as it is a society problem.

The scary thing actual funnel cloud did touch down at 180th and Harrison. Only about 30,000 people live within a mile of there. No biggie.

Scary stuff actually.

PS - Hawkins is a damn good coach...I'm rather worried, although I like the matchup of MIzzou's D vs. an inexpierenced CU QB on the road.

Nothing would shock me, although I'm quite sure NU will put a 30 spot on KU by halftime. (and I don't say that often)

7:21 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

JP, you can suck my left nut.

Public safety comes before the Felons-- and it's not even a close race. Omaha was damn lucky that Campbell made the decision he did. I think Campbell and the KETV crew deserve credit for what they did: THE RIGHT THING.

If it were your house in the path of the storm, you'd want to know so you could get to safety-- or are you among the fucking morons who would go get the video camera, and be in awe because of how "it sounded like a freight train"?

Then again, I guess it would be natural selection if God "sacked" you from life.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous bhg said...

You can't please all the people all the time.

That being said, TV and radio stations have a license that is issued by the FCC. Their license is under review every few years. Under that review, the public has an opportunity to weigh in on the stations ability to "serve the public interest".

So according to JP, not notifying thousands of people that their LIVES may be in peril is not in the public interest. I don't believe the FCC would have been able to turn a blind eye to a station that knew of impending danger to the public, and failed to warn them because of a football game.

Go left hand salute yourself JP.

If Nebraska is up by 30 by halftime, I'll eat my wifes quiche the next time she serves it.

8:27 AM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

Sam.. Mr. Sensitive.

How about a new post, AJ. This is boring.

8:55 AM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

1:40 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

BHG has a point. If Campbell does not interrupt the game to inform the public of the tornado warning, KETV loses its license.

Every radio and television station in the nation must follow protocol when it comes to EAS (Emergency Alert System)... they are tested at least once monthly... and are subject to suprise inspections by the FCC regarding their EAS.

Of course, if Russia were to send every nuke they can find in their arsenal towards the United States, Husker fan would jump up and down yelling "Go Big Red".

10:09 PM  

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