WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to get you the information you need the most in severe weather. We want to provide this to you and your family in a timely manner.
During the heavy snow we saw this week, most of our phone calls and emails were about roads. Another large portion of the phone calls and emails were from companies wanting us to list closings.
In the spirit of us relaying information that is most crucial, we have some suggestions for employers.
Listing closings is a part of the public service we provide. But we have to set limits. It's not always popular when we explain to a business owner why we can't list their closing, but we offer solutions here that can help you. Some businesses are using these successfully.
We limit the closings we list on WHNT-TV and WHNT.com to major employers -- companies with several hundred workers or more. These include Redstone Arsenal, Marshall Space Flight Center, manufacturing plants and government offices, including county courthouses and city halls.
A couple of years ago, station management decided we would limit what we put on the 'TV crawl' to make it more efficient for you. Here is why.
We have 11 counties in our viewing area. If we don't set limits it would take a listing 30, 45 minutes, possibly an hour to cross the screen once. We did a time test during one of our newscasts on February 26. It took the listings eight minutes to cycle through, starting at the first school closing and waiting for it to come through again.
We list these on whnt.com alphabetically where people can find them within a minute. We realize not everyone has the Internet.
We encourage smaller businesses to use other methods to contact employees and customers. Facebook is a free solution. You're probably on it already and you may have a company page. Many of your employees probably use Facebook and many of your customers use it too. In addition to closings notices, this is a great way to grow your audience and it's a great marketing tool for your business.
Twitter is another solution, or email, or a group text. With social media so prominent in all of our lives, you can get a message out quickly to your employees and customers. This could be very helpful for all involved - we hope you agree.
We also list school closings, even though many school systems already send out emails, text alerts and phone calls.
We are constantly evaluating our policies and we welcome your feedback.
Here is a link to the WHNT News 19 Closings Policy.