Monday, February 10, 2014

"We Interrupt Regular Programming to Bore You to Death...."

We've had an unusually harsh winter this year. When the remnants of one snowfall finally melts away, the next one immediately comes along. The temperatures have been sub-zero most days, and the windchills even worse. But believe it or not, that's not the worst thing about this winter.

No...the worst part is our local TV news. These days, our network affiliates will use almost any excuse, it seems, to keep the local news on the air--as if St. Louis isn't already suffering from news overload. The CBS affiliate, KMOV, has local news from 5:00-7:00am, noon-12:30pm, 5:00-5:30pm, 6:00-6:30pm and 10:00-10:35pm. The worst offender, KSDK (our NBC affiliate) has local news from 4:00-7:00am, noon-1:00pm, 4:00-6:30pm and 10:00-10:35pm. Our ABC and Fox affiliates aren't so bad.

When we have snow--even those "events" not qualifying as snowstorms--KMOV and KSDK immediately preempt all regular programming to keep local news on the air to provide nonstop, repetitive accounts of every flake that falls. We get to see their armies of reporters stationed throughout the metropolitan area, letting us know it's snowing. Like we can't see that for ourselves! This reminds me of my dad's reaction to televised Presidential speeches. He always said the American people must be perceived as stupid, because after every speech, reporters came on to explain to us what the President had said.

Last week alone, KSDK preempted part of the Today Show at least three times--twice for snow coverage (once for a snowfall of a mere 2-3 inches!) and once to cover an accident on the interstate. KMOV preempted The Young and the Restless for snow coverage at a critical point in the soap opera's storyline--which sent regular viewers scrambling to KMOV's Facebook page to complain.

Don't get me wrong--I can see the need for continuous news coverage of major events. A snowstorm that affects travel, causes power outages and threatens public safety requires keeping us informed--but a news alert at the top of each hour would do that quite well. It's not like a dangerous thunderstorm, where conditions change minute by minute and warrant keeping the public updated as it happens. As for serious accidents on our highways, yes, we need to know--but again, a brief interruption at the top of the hour would do that.

I wonder if newspeople have clauses in their contracts that guarantee them a specific amount of on-air time that makes their bosses interrupt our TV viewing for no valid reason. Those who don't have cable, satellite or streaming must find it particularly annoying.

I miss the good old days...when there were only two daily local newscasts (6:00 and 10:00) and "Breaking News" meant something really important had happened.


Be sure to check out William's blog for a behind-the-scenes look at Russian wannabe-czar--I mean President--Vlad "The Impaler" Putin at the Sochi Olympics, and our joint blog for a snippet of Same Time Tomorrow (I promise, it will get finished)! Also check out PK Hrezo's blog for details on her Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. blog tour and Cheryl Dale's blog announcing her new book (which has a cover by Collin)!


  1. Ah, local reporters and breaking news. A plague so annoying it would have had Pharoah crying uncle right off the start.

  2. I miss the good old days too. News was news rather than a constant stream of insipid speeches delivered by perky talking heads.

  3. Thanks for the mention, Norma!!

    Oh I totally agree. One of the reasons I don't miss TV too. I hated those news interruptions. I think they finally got smarter and started adding taglines at the bottom of the show, which isn't so bad, but those networks belief that everything has to be interrupted for insignificant news stories is ridiculous. Plus, with web access to any news reports we want at any time should reduce that even more.
    I used to watch news every morning but it really started getting me down, so I just stopped. Now i get my news from the web when I feel like I need it, or Hubby tells me, or I see it on blogs.

  4. 67% chance of the end of the world in Perth, that's not good odds Norma :) I know what you mean though, we have the same on 43C days, we start off with the news on the radio, 'it's going to be a scorcher today' .. well gee thanks very much for that news :)

  5. I stopped watching TV news years ago. For some reason, they don't usually break in with 'breaking news' when we're watching NCIS or The Big Bang or other prime time shows.

    And thanks for the plug, Norma! Collin did a super job on the cover!


  6. hahahahahahaahaha "Fire destroyed by home "
    I use to watch NBC morning news but they have just gone over the cliff. And their coverage of the Olympics shows it.
    Plus everything has a title that matches... Tragedy at.... (?) Horror at... (?)
    I watch the first hour of CBS pretty much straight news.
    Congratulations to Chery and Collin

    cheers, parsnip

  7. Well, I needed that chuckle, thank you Norma! I guess the constant feeds are part of our new order (sadly), sigh...I myself don't have TV access/reception and your post made me realize that's not so bad a thing!:)

  8. @ William: You've given me an idea--mock news broadcasts of Moses' conflict with Pharaoh and the plagues in Egypt...Noah and the Great Flood...the end of the world....

    @ Lynn: Talking heads. That says it all!

    @ PK: That's what people are saying on Facebook: "We can get it online. Enough already!"

    @ Grace: I knew you'd enjoy that one! All that thunder and lightning...maybe Thor was paying a visit!

    @ Cheryl: I'm so glad you like his work!

    @ Gayle: Jon Stewart pokes fun at that sort of thing on The Daily Show. Last week he did Terror on Bullshit Mountain!

  9. I usually watch news when I'm fixing dinner and cleaning up the kitchen--that's about all I need!

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  11. They do the same here if and when it rains, a fire is going, or a police squad & helicopter chasing a vehicle. My son & family live in Washington state where snow fell. The newscast said all schools were closed. My son called the local schools since there was only two inches of snow. Sure enough they were open.

  12. @ Maria: Once a day is enough for most of us! A while back, Brian Williams did spots for NBC News, talking about how we're all "hungry for more news." I have yet to meet anyone who wants more news!

    @ Shelly: It seems to be a nationwide frustration!

    @ Mari: They reported school closings when they weren't actually closed? That's bad.

  13. Oh, and don't forget you can get those nice apps for your phone, just in case you missed something as you stepped away from your TV...
    Good one, Norma!

  14. Norma, my eyes popped at the amount of local news in your area. It's way over the top. We look at the evening news more out of ritual as we get our news junkie fixes via the computer in the a.m.

  15. @ Lorelei: I've had a couple of those. The KSDK app hasn't worked in a long time, and I had KMOV only for weather alerts. I dropped both in favor of Weather Bug!

    @ Kittie: I tend to only watch news in the morning. I can only imagine what TV is like for people who don't have alternate forms of TV viewing like cable, satellite or streaming!

  16. So . . . was the man holding a bowl of spaghetti when he was attacked? A good reminder to write clear sentences.

  17. I would have had to turn of the TV a long time ago - super annoying!

  18. @ Mark: News writers are often guilty of a lack of clarity!

    @ Hilary: It's beyond annoying! I switch to our Roku and watch something good!


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