How did Toledo television stations do in covering the onset of the first winter storm of 2005?
While some viewers may be inclined to respond with a finger, I'll go with a thumb:
THUMBS UP: WTVG-TV, Channel 13, had the most comphrensive coverage yesterday morning, with live reports from Toledo (Erica Hurtt), Bowling Green (Jim Carey), Findlay (Alexis Means), and Dundee, Mich. (Tony Geftos). In addition, Efrem Graham reported from the station's "Action Center."
WNWO-TV, Channel 24, had three people reporting out in the elements and WTOL-TV, Channel 11, had two.
THUMBS DOWN: WTOL was using a "Winter Blast '05" graphic at 5:15 a.m. even though, at the time, "Winter Whimper '05" would have been more appropriate. Needless hype.
UP: Does WNWO chief meteorologist Bill Spencer love his job, or what? He was the only primary weather anchor to appear on newscasts at 11 p.m. Tuesday and six hours later, 5 a.m. yesterday.
DOWN: At 4:48 p.m. Tuesday, as it went into a commercial break for Ellen, WTVG aired a "Special Report" to inform viewers about a storm that wouldn't reach Toledo for another 10 hours. Needless hype.
UP: All four stations (the three aforementioned plus WUPW-TV, Channel 36) made it clear that this was going to be a "two-part storm." WTOL had the best timeline graphic, showing viewers what to expect from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to midnight.
DOWN: WNWO posted a "Winter Storm Warning" graphic on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen Tuesday afternoon, more than eight hours before the first drop of precipitation hit the ground. But for at least two hour-long stretches yesterday morning, as the second -- and more potent -- part of the storm was approaching, the graphic was nowhere to be found.
UP: Yesterday morning, WTVG unveiled a "Priority School Alert" that informed viewers, via a red scroll at the bottom of the screen, of the most recent school closings. It was stacked on top of the regular blue scroll that lists school delays and closings, which made for a busy TV screen. (Warning to parents: Kids eagerly anticipating a snow day could become addicted to the "Priority School Alert.") Look for other stations to follow WTVG's lead.
DOWN: WTOL, which usually brands itself as "Toledo's News Leader," is temporarily referring to itself as "Toledo's News and Weather Leader."
UP: WNWO showed some spunk by starting its newscast at 4:54 a.m., two minutes earlier than its usual starting time of 4:56. Why 4:54? Because WTVG told viewers on Tuesday that, because of the weather conditions, it would be starting the next day's morning newscast at 4:55, five minutes earlier than it normally does. Obviously, WTVG, which has had the No. 1-rated morning newscast for more than two years, wanted to make a statement. And WNWO -- which has successfully branded itself as "Toledo's Weather Station" -- responded with a statement of its own.
DOWN: During its noon newscast on Tuesday -- 11 hours before the first drop of precipitation was recorded at Toledo Express Airport -- WTVG anchors (news and weather) referred to it as a "big storm," a "massive storm," and twice as a "nasty storm."