For those of you tuned in to the Ken Schulz Show . . .er, I mean the WHAS-TV newscast. . . on Tuesday, not only did you miss an episode of Jeopardy, but an ABC News story about the effect of the troop surge in Baghdad. There was also an interesting piece of news on a MySpace executive’s speech in Kentucky, and of course new rumors on the UK coaching search. And yes, there was a new, exclusive-to-WHAS poll on the Governor’s Race that never got a moment on the weather…newscast.
WHAS-TV seems so determined to be the weather leader that it’s losing sight of its audience. Consultants have advised the station to win in weather at all costs, and to chase fires, so they’re “staying the course” as ratings fall. The station sent two reporters for live shots at a condo fire this week in which there were no fatalities.
President Bush, in the face of mounting criticism of his Iraq policy and evidence that it’s not working, vows to “stay the course” when the American public tells him to change direction. Likewise, lame-duck WHAS-TV management continues to devote its prime time viewing hours to “weather” while its ratings continue to slide and viewers opt for competitors.
On Tuesday, the area experienced a pretty typical spring storm. There were some moderate warnings, and it rained really hard. The station sent Mark Hebert out in the street outside the studio, where he confirmed on-air that it was, indeed, raining. Some folks lost power, and we were reminded over and over again that 5,000 LG&E customers were without it. Schulz, the meteorologist, waxed on and on in front of his weather map. For about two hours.
Enough already. The station sent a video crew around town, and showed several fallen trees and signs. It had people calling in reports of the rain, and put them on air, and later even encouraged viewers to send in photos. Seemed to me the on-air personnel were struggling to keep from laughing out loud about actually reporting, in a newscast, how hard it’s raining.
As usual, the other stations afforded the storm a reasonable level of coverage, but managed to squeeze in actual news.
It makes you wonder if WHAS managers are paying any attention at all. Like our President, the station continues to “stay the course” while viewers turn away in droves.