Monday, March 30, 2009

Home Show Friends

Just a quick blog to express "thanks" to all the viewers who came out to The Home Show at the Salem Civic Center this past weekend. The WDBJ promotion department requested the four SkyTracker7 meteorologists meet-and-greet viewers for the three day show. My day was Friday. I was amazed - not at the volume of people coming to our booth - but at the number of folks who thanked us for providing them a forecast in High Definition! One gentleman even noted he could see a "blimish" on my forehead last weekend! (True, it was there! Makeup can't fix everything!)

WDBJ has been providing you the area's only HD forecast for a year now, and viewers are saying they can really "see" the difference! Here's a bonus for our HD weather fans; we're now beginning to rollout new HD cameras on our WeatherBug sites. Baywood Elementary near Galax has already launched, and there will be more coming - very soon!

Thanks again to everyone who came out to The Home Show - and thanks for watching, in HD!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Severe Weather Coverage

Earlier this month, WDBJ sister station KWCH in Wichita, Kansas was put in an uneasy situation for broadcasters. When a tornado threatened, KWCH meteorologists "cut-in" over programming to deliver life-saving information. While this was valuable information for some of the viewing audience, it was distracting for other viewers who were not in harm's way. KWCH covers 67 counties in the Wichita area. It goes without saying that there could easily be severe weather in one part of this enormous viewing area, while completely sunny and pleasant somewhere else. Many KWCH viewers, not affected by the storm, were upset by the weather coverage which interrupted a KU basketball game. KWCH President/General Manager Joan Barrett discussed the station's action plan in a web post. In part, Barrett wrote:

"It's clear that we have made many fans upset. For that, I apologize. As you might imagine, it is certainly never our intention to frustrate or annoy our viewers - that's not a great business plan. I can't apologize for carrying severe weather coverage, it is what we do. It is something that we take very seriously." (Click here for full response from Barrett)

I bring this up because as severe weather season approaches, we could have the same thing occur around the WDBJ viewing area. For example, at the same time an EF-0 tornado touched down in Roanoke last summer, most of the viewing area experiencing "quiet" weather. Our storm coverage meant overriding prime time programming.

At WDBJ, we cover 26 counties across southwest and central Virginia. The FCC requires us to keep you, our viewers, informed of life-threatening weather events. We can't just ignore a severe weather warning because CSI, Survivor, The Price is Right or any of your other favorite CBS shows are on. On the other hand, SkyTracker7 HD Meteorologists try our best to provide you the information in a short, concise and detailed manner, thus returning you to regularly scheduled programming as soon as possible.
Just something to keep in mind as we wait for our first round of storms this spring! Fair winds! -Jay

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'll get back to you...

I'm not a technology guy. While my job has sparked an interest in technology in me I never thought I had, I'm not a technology guy.

What's a "technology guy" anyway? Anymore, it's more than knowing how to Google something. It's more than having an email account (or multiple ones). It's Twitter, texts, Facebook, Skype, instant messaging and more. My rough definition of a "technology guy" is someone who can actually manage all this stuff. They have unbelievable time management skills. I have "good" time management, but sometimes I wonder if it's good enough for 2009. I'm a perfectionist - but lately I find myself responding to emails typing in lowercase only. Texts don't have punctuation. It reminds me of an art teacher I once had. She told me while water coloring one day, "Jay, don't do it 'neat', just get the paint on the canvas. Just get it on there!" That's me, anymore. Just getting it done, but not perfect, at least in my opinion.

I "do" Twitter. I "do "Facebook". I read your texts. I get your messages on my cell phone. Despite recently figuring out some important emails were going to my "junk" folder, I get your emails and respond to them promptly.

Here's my problem...

There's simply not enough time in my day to monitor all the messages I get, whether that's on a social networking site or electronic apparatus.

Here's what I like...

Family time. Yard work. Grilling. Watching my NCAA bracket vaporize on TV before my eyes. Golf. A peaceful drive to the Shenandoah Valley on Route 11. Art. Model railroading. The list goes on...

The solution...

Maybe I need to realize every call, email, Facebook message, isn't worth responding to. It's always been my thought that if someone took the time to email me, I should email them back. I think it's time to only start responding to the really important, pressing stuff. The other day, for example, I received nearly 25 emails (on two different accounts), 4 texts, 3 missed Skype calls, 10 incoming calls to my cell phone, a few direct messages on Twitter, endless Facebook chatter, and 1 missed call on my answering machine at home. Most of these people just wanted to say, "hi".

I could sit in front of my computer all day and watch this stuff come in, and respond to it all. Instead, I'm "off" tomorrow and I'm not going to turn my computer on all day. Think of it as going Green. No juice running to this puppy all day!

Unfortunately, it's come to the point unless you're on my "short list", chances are it'll be a few days before I get back with you. Come on, you know you are wondering - who's on the short list? In no particular order: my parents, my wife, the weather team, and at the moment, my CPA.

Back to my original thought. A "technology guy" will probably respond to you instantly. I'm not a technology guy. Let me get your message, ingest it, process it, and... I'll get back to you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009