Wednesday, June 8

Mixed signals

Television stations love to hype their weather coverage. Nothing says "promo" like viewers who say "Channel ## saved my life!"

In my years of tornado chasing, I had more than a few people who noticed the irony, that while my station's weather department was telling people to take cover, my news department was plotting my intercept course with the funnel.

Well, a similar type of incongruence has led to a public squabble in Tampa. WFLA News Director Forrest Carr is now the ex-News Director, and he says it's because there was no station hurricane plan.

Carr claims he got frustrated with General Manager Eric Land, because WFLA had no back-up plan and no evacuation plan for the next hurricane that threatened. Carr says he was canned after asking if this was a violation of evacuation laws, which Land perceived as a threat.

Of course, Land claims this is a personnel issue, and he can't comment on it. Sure makes him look bad, along with owner Media General. (So much for "on my side.")

Still, there is a narrow window of opportunity here for the station to do a little good PR. A lot of public information, followed by a recounting of WFLA's own plan will do wonders.

After all... you'd hate to see in interview after the next hurricane with someone in a body cast, who says "If Channel 8 wasn't taking it seriously, why should I?"

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