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Winter Weather Coverage: Serious Business Behind the Scenes

WHNT News 19 Producer Amanda Redfoot Fielding Constant Newsroom Calls During Winter Weather Coverage.

WHNT News 19 Producer Amanda Redfoot Fielding Constant Newsroom Calls During Winter Weather Coverage.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Trust us. If closures and sloppy road conditions have you in a chronic state of huff and puff – we’re right there with you.

Winter has been a palpable force to be reckoned with this season and it starts to take its toll on everyone.

The team at WHNT News 19 doesn’t have the option of hanging out in the La-Z-Boy just waiting on things to clear up. We have to be here with battle stations manned to bring you the latest information on air, online and on social media.

But we don’t do it because we have to; the extended hours, the standing out in the cold or rain, the spending time away from family who meanwhile are blissfully constructing an eight-foot snowman – we do it for you.

Winter weather coverage from a viewer standpoint can become a little overbearing.

It’s a fact we admit and know all too well, ourselves.

At some point you may transition into a constant eye-roll at the perceived redundancy. How many times can local news teach you how to drive in rain, snow or ice? How many times can you be schooled on the dangers of space heaters? How often do you need to be reluctantly reacquainted with the term, ‘black ice’, you may ask yourself?

Believe it or not, we are here to help you – not to annoy the daylights out of you.

We remind you of these things because we’ve been there – in the trenches, as it were – and we’ve seen it happen time and time again.

While you may think we’re all sipping cocoa waiting on rain to turn to ice or that reporters are busy gathering up only the cheesiest of props imaginable to hold up in their live shots (rain gauges, wind meters and yard sticks dipped in snow just to name a few), there’s actually tons of work going on behind the scenes just to keep the proverbial ship afloat.

Meteorologists working around the clock analyzing the latest models and data; news directors making lodging arrangements to ensure crews don’t get stuck far from the station and preparing to sleep on a cot themselves, if conditions warrant; assignment managers dispatching crews to the areas of most community impact; producers fielding call after call to the newsroom and constantly updating school, church and business closings; web content managers making sure the latest information is right at your fingertips. Not to mention crews banding together to drag out the grill for some impromptu burgers and dogs (and other sundry junk foods), just to keep everyone’s heads above water – or, more accurately, above the slush.

The scenario behind the curtain of “TV magic” is a scene of controlled chaos – and I use the word “controlled” loosely.

And those roads we tell you are too treacherous to drive? Well, it’s our job to get out and drive them for you. Counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s all in an effort to accurately convey the weather story to you, our viewers. And you have to get out there in the thick of it – after all, news doesn’t happen in the newsroom.

You may eye roll, but it won’t stop our indefatigable efforts to take action and keep you informed and safe to the best of our humble abilities.

So what annoys you most about winter weather coverage and local news in general? Is it the campy phrases, the over-precaution, the wittingly alliterative and often maddening segment titles (ex. “Winter Weather Woes”), or shameless attempts to garner viewer/user feedback and engagement like this one?

It’s your turn to let us know. Don’t worry – we’re “winter weather workload” hardened – you can’t hurt our feelings.

11 comments

  • Niki Hogan-Ward

    WHNT does an amazing job of keeping viewers up-to-date on what’s going on. And as a former employee (15 years ago), I can personally attest to the HUGE amount of effort and time given by just about every employee at WHNT, not just the news room. There are – and will always be – people who will make complaints about “too much coverage.” But most of us really want/need it to make informed decisions. Keep up the great work WHNT!

  • happy mom of 3

    Thank you so much for your sacrifice. We are cozy at home while you do the hard work. I’m sorry some people can find anything to complain about and are ugly. Better to be on the safe side. God’s abundant blessings on the staff. Much grace and peace as you work.

    • Windy

      DUSTIN IF YOU FEEL THIS WHY WATCH OR LISTEN TO THE WEATHER REPORTS OR READ ANY POSTINGS MADE ABOUT THE WEATHER !!!! My family and friends TRUELY appreciate the REAL SACRIFICES THAT THESE MEN AND WOMEN MAKE NOT ALL OF YOUR VIEWERS ARE JERKS THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT Y’ALL DO FOR US AND PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO THOSE NEGATIVE PEOPLE THAT DOES NOT UNDERSTAND CURTSY AND RESPECT

  • Nuclear Mike

    This unprofessional & inaccurate weather forecasting caused Huntsville to UN-necessarily lose any entire productive day of work & school…

  • Brian S.

    In the trenches? Wow. That is pathetic. The “storm” coverage has been for ratings. Don’t whine to us about having to show up to work. Just do a better job and stop sensationalizing a few flurries.

  • evelyn tatum

    I have been watching WHNT for over 5 years ever since i moved to sand mt. from Fl. and i love your station and all your reporters.You all do a great job. Keep up the good work. There will ALWAYS be people who have nothing better to do than to complain.

  • Joe B.

    Mike, what was the URL to your weather forecasting website? I have misplaced it and I don’t want it to accidentally get in my list of those “unprofessional & inaccurate” weather websites.

    I am so appalled (as I am sure you and Brian S. both are) by the fact that all of those other weather organizations even dared to mention anything about winter weather if they knew it wouldn’t be here until late afternoon! I mean what kind of person works in the late afternoon. (heck between you and me, I am at home in my smoking jacket and felt slippers by 4:30 PM.Just don’t tell Uncle Sam!)

    Places like WHNT and ABC3340 really need to look to those unsung meteorologists like you and Brian S. that don’t play into all this hype about winter weather. (again between you and me, I think the term “winter weather” was made up by the republicans just to try to scare us!)

    So again if you can send me that URL to your weather website I would much appreciate it. Send it to forecast@mikesadumbass.com

    Thanks!

    • Nuclear Mike

      I think you “played your hand” with the Republican remark which paints you are a “blue urban city dweller on the government dole”…

  • Michelle

    I just think it get over done. Come on I heard live coverage on another station earlier….” the snow is sticking to the barricades” Really? Give us the facts and move on. We get it.

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