"A tornado is the most violent and unpredictable form of Nature."
I learned that lesson during 9 years in Indiana, a state with more tornadoes than here, covering a few of these tragic events. As a reporter in a small station, I doubled as weatherman occasionally; just reading the AP reports from the weather service, not predicting, in the very early days of TV weather coverage.
How different things are today! How very much better last week when many of us prepared ourselves and families for taking precautions as the 3 Lexington stations did a marvelous job of trying to keep us safe.
Weather is a staple of local TV, but only because station management spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment and people annually. I hired the first meteorologist on Lexington TV, and the second, backed totally by station management; and it spread to the other two. In time, jockeying for the latest generation of weather computers became an important factor in local TV news leadership. The results really showed last week--in one of television's greatest ironies.
TV succeeds, financially, on attracting the most viewers so commercials may be sold at a higher rate. Yet, during severe weather, there are no commercials! Regularly scheduled programs are taken over nonstop by weather/news coverage. At a time of maximum audience, when commercials could be sold at a premium, the stations devoted themselves totally to operating "in the public interest, convenience and necessity" as their charter provides.
Thank you WTVQ management and weather staff! Thank you WLEX management and weather staff! Thank you WKYT management and weather staff, where long time chief meteorologist T.G. Shuck signed off after 20 years on the very day of the twisters!
Hail and Farewell, T.G. (Welcome back Chris Bailey) And again, thanks to local TV station management and staff for a job well done and for savings lives I have no doubt.
I'm just sayin'...