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June 17, 2024 1:21 pm  #1


Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

It happens every year, and I'll admit to being a party to it myself over the years - the difficulty in covering an ongoing heatwave has created a series of endless cliche stories on your local news and I've already starting seeing some of them on Monday. 

They come because TV is all about video but it's pretty difficult to actually show "heat." (In winter, you can shoot blowing snow, bundled up pedestrians, cars slipping on icy roads etc. Much harder to do when there's a heat wave.) So here are some to consider crossing off on your weather story Bingo cards over the next week. 

-"Those who have to work outside." An old favourite, it centres on construction workers, city road repair people and especially roofers, or anyone who has to be out in the sun for hours at a time in these conditions. Cab and Uber drivers are often in this group. See also restaurant cooks, slaving over a hot stove. 

-The early exercisers, who go out at 7 AM for their daily jog to try and avoid the afternoon heat.

-Kids at splash pads. The sight of youngsters running through water squealing with delight, either at a park or through a sprinkler in their own backyards is common. In the U.S., it's often children running through open fire hydrants, but I don't think we've ever really done that much in Canada. 

-Pets and children and why not to leave them in your car. A useful warning, I suppose, but hopefully nobody ever does anything that stupid anymore. 

-The people buying window air conditioners and the sales people telling you why they've been sold out for days. 

-The barely dressed folks who head to the beach, hoping to find relief by being near the water and telling viewers how much better it is down by the shore - and how hot it is. 

-Ice cream vendors. Watching people eat ice cream cones is not my idea of cool, but camera people looking for a shot about heat often can't resist them. 

-Endless reminders about sunscreen and hydration. Yes, it's a good thing we have news people to remind us to drink a ton of water when it's hot out. Otherwise we'd be too stupid to think of it ourselves. But they do it because they need filler to finish up these reports that - past the temperature forecast - really contains little new news.

And finally my all time favourite:

-The desperate reporter that takes the temperature of the sidewalk with a thermometer and then attempts to fry an egg on the surface to show you how hot it is out there. 

I heard Alex Pierson reference this on her show Monday and I couldn't help but laugh. And then I watched CTV Toronto's Noon News a few minutes later and saw a lot of it come true. (Although the egg thing usually doesn't happen until several days into the big blast.)

Please feel free to list any other extreme hot weather cliches you've seen or expect to see over the next seven days. In all my years in TV news, I think I've seen (and done) them all, but there may still be a few new ideas out there I've missed. Because in this case, everything old is news again. 

 

June 17, 2024 1:45 pm  #2


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

By the way, this reminds me of one of my favourite things I ever did while producing TV news. 

It was in the depths of winter, on an absolutely miserable day in January, when we had one of those blowing snowstorms in the middle of a deep freeze that made even walking a block almost impossible. We sent one of our reporters out to cover how the city was managing and I asked him for a favour;

Do a separate stand-up that showed the depths of the winter misery and then put it away in storage until sometime in July. Sure enough, half a year later, this same guy was then sent out to cover an extreme heatwave, with temperatures nearing 40C. And after detailing all the misery, he said, "But it could be worse!"

Cut to that stand-up, with the guy in the middle of the snow storm, wearing ear muffs and gloves, a toque on his head and the wind blowing him all over the place and obviously freezing. "Remember this last January?" he asked in that six-month old stand-up. "Be careful what you wish for."

And with that he signed off the story from back then. It was a great bit because everyone remembered how bad it had been and it showed we'd had the foresight to plan for it six months ago. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 17, 2024 1:52 pm  #3


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

- And the endless parade of so-called weather experts like Dave Phillips or Farnell and his dog, as if they know anything more than we do, or can do anything about it.  "Right, Storm?  ARF!"

 

June 17, 2024 2:33 pm  #4


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

Speaking of weather, anyone out there in tv land know if Anwar Knight or Tom Brown, formerly of CFTO, landed other gigs?    I did like both weathermen, especially the enthusiasm of Tom.

Last edited by djwildbill (June 17, 2024 2:42 pm)

 

June 17, 2024 2:35 pm  #5


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

And the hotter and stickier it gets outside, the weather presenters seem to get exceptionally cheerful. I will take wind chill over humidex every time. You can always put on an extra sweater to keep warm. There is only so much clothing one can remove to stay cool. September can't come soon enough.

 

June 17, 2024 3:07 pm  #6


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

It probably falls under the people at work category, but one cliche that never gets old (yes it does) is the traffic cop or crossing guard, dutifully directing traffic through the scorching heat.
The others are how weather people and broadcasters loving to use a special term for a weather phenomenon.
For instance -- "And this HEAT DOME will be with us for a week!!"
"we've never seen such a HEAT DOME before."
"Experts call it a HEAT DOME."
And in the winter... "we're in the grip of a WINTER VORTEX."
This VORTEX is one heck of a VORTEX.
Donald Trump would make a good weather presenter... "It's a HEAT DOME like we've never seen before."
"Not many people know about HEAT DOMES."
"It's a DOME with a lotta HEAT... a lotta HEAT." 

 
 

 

June 17, 2024 3:11 pm  #7


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

djwildbill wrote:

Speaking of weather, anyone out there in tv land know if Anwar Knight or Tom Brown, formerly of CFTO, landed other gigs? I did like both weathermen, especially the enthusiasm of Tom.

Nobody could shill a 'Mountain of Toys!" like old Tommy.  The guy was insufferable.
 

 

June 17, 2024 3:41 pm  #8


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

And then there are the AC repair people, who are the equivalent of the CAA spokespersons in winter. "There's at least a two day wait for service..."

Oh, and don't forget to list all the cooling centres, with hours and addresses along with the extended hours for City-run pools. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 17, 2024 5:30 pm  #9


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

djwildbill wrote:

Speaking of weather, anyone out there in tv land know if Anwar Knight or Tom Brown, formerly of CFTO, landed other gigs?    I did like both weathermen, especially the enthusiasm of Tom.

Knight is at The Weather Network in Oakville. Saw Natasha Fatah throw to him during a noon-hour segment.

 

June 17, 2024 7:09 pm  #10


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

I think I saw at least four of the scenarios listed in my original post on CTV News at 6. And this is just the first day!

It's going to be a long week...

     Thread Starter
 

June 17, 2024 7:32 pm  #11


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

RadioActive wrote:

I think I saw at least four of the scenarios listed in my original post on CTV News at 6. And this is just the first day!

It's going to be a long week...

Cliches are among my top peeves, particularly the overused words or phrases.
That said, from what I read above, it seems every possible way to cover a heatwave has been eliminated. Sadly, there are still incidences of pets and, even sadder, little children being left in hot vehicles. Telling everyone who needs relief where the local cooling centres are is vital for some people's well-being. Extreme heat is potentially fatal, especially to those who are vulnerable. I believe in this circumstance a little repetition is called for.
Aside from the clever "cut to January" clip, what should TV broadcasters be showing when reporting on extreme heat?

 

June 17, 2024 7:58 pm  #12


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

In Toronto the term "hot car" usually refers to a BMW stolen from a driveway in Forest Hill and driven to a cargo crate at the Port of Montreal.

 

 

June 17, 2024 8:02 pm  #13


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

kevjo wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

I think I saw at least four of the scenarios listed in my original post on CTV News at 6. And this is just the first day!

It's going to be a long week...

Cliches are among my top peeves, particularly the overused words or phrases.
That said, from what I read above, it seems every possible way to cover a heatwave has been eliminated. Sadly, there are still incidences of pets and, even sadder, little children being left in hot vehicles. Telling everyone who needs relief where the local cooling centres are is vital for some people's well-being. Extreme heat is potentially fatal, especially to those who are vulnerable. I believe in this circumstance a little repetition is called for.
Aside from the clever "cut to January" clip, what should TV broadcasters be showing when reporting on extreme heat?

I wasn't saying they shouldn't cover the heatwave. It's a big story and affects us all.

I was just predicting the tried and true methods all of us who've covered this same story have done over the years. And it's always the same, The problem, as noted, is that it's easy to cover storms - thunder, lightning, trees blowing, the sound of howling winds, hail, traffic snarled on wet streets etc. Snowstorms are the same. 

Much more difficult to illustrate heat beyond people wiping their brows and sweating, the sun high up in the sky and kids diving into swimming pools. Maybe a few boats on the lake for good measure. Oh, and a doctor explaining the dangers of prolonged exposure. Gotta have him or her. So they turn to the same old same old every single year. 

Someone told me about Harold Hosein when he was on City TV doing his forecast from a freezer. That was refreshing, if not for viewers, at least for him! Haven't seen that since, 

It just seems no one has an original idea anymore, so they go back to the tried and true  And sure enough, there it was on display Monday night!

     Thread Starter
 

June 17, 2024 8:41 pm  #14


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

Scorcher, sizzler. steamy.

When Gordon Sinclair did his daily broadcast, he always has colourful descriptions for the weather.

I remember one brutally cold winter day he said "It would freeze the nuts off the bolts."


I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
 

June 18, 2024 2:02 pm  #15


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

We spend our winters in Seminole FL.

The temp in Seminole right now is +31. The temp here in London right now is +32.


I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
 

June 18, 2024 2:07 pm  #16


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

An old Red Skelton joke:

Yesterday in Palm Springs, the weather guy said it was 101 degrees in the shade. 

So I was smart.

I stayed in the sun!

     Thread Starter
 

June 18, 2024 2:12 pm  #17


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

The irony about Harold Hosain is that he's from Trinidad and Tobago, probably not likely to be bothered much about hot weather.
Also about using the same old cliches about the weather, we in the media are also guilty about the cliches around Christmas, 
And one of my real pet peeves, Halloween.
I groan every October 31st when I hear the newscaster say, "and remember it's Halloween, so if you are out driving this evening, be extra careful to look out for those little ghosts and goblins.  Children sometimes get excited and run around on Halloween.
And when you send them off to trick or treat make sure they don't have masks that stop them from seeing properly etc etc.

 

 

June 18, 2024 2:16 pm  #18


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

And don't forget all the Halloween mentions of the Rogers Pumpkin Patrol, designed to help keep kids safe. 

Somehow this only seems to air on all the Rogers' stations. Hmmm, funny coincidence that...

     Thread Starter
 

June 18, 2024 2:19 pm  #19


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

By the way, the winter deep freeze equivalent to frying an egg on the sidewalk is to throw a bucket of water into the bone-chilling cold air and watch it freeze before it hits the ground. Another tried and true TV classic.  

     Thread Starter
 

June 18, 2024 4:17 pm  #20


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

Still a fan of an excellent rejoinder John Moore shared with listeners when hosting MITM one exceptionally toasty day several summers ago.

John: And if some annoying person says 'Hot enough for ya!' you answer 'Why, can you make it hotter?'

Last edited by betaylored (June 18, 2024 4:20 pm)

 

June 18, 2024 4:20 pm  #21


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

RadioActive wrote:

By the way, the winter deep freeze equivalent to frying an egg on the sidewalk is to throw a bucket of water into the bone-chilling cold air and watch it freeze before it hits the ground. Another tried and true TV classic.  

Or taking a whizz outdoors and the stream freezes so you have to break it off.
 

Last edited by turkeytop (June 18, 2024 4:20 pm)


I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
 

June 18, 2024 6:06 pm  #22


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

turkeytop wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

By the way, the winter deep freeze equivalent to frying an egg on the sidewalk is to throw a bucket of water into the bone-chilling cold air and watch it freeze before it hits the ground. Another tried and true TV classic.  

Or taking a whizz outdoors and the stream freezes so you have to break it off.
 

Be careful what you break off.
 

 

June 18, 2024 10:05 pm  #23


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

From The Globe & Mail


I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
 

June 19, 2024 12:43 am  #24


Re: Hot Topic: Here Come The TV News Weather Cliches

Time to break out that Buster Poindexter tune. And the Billy Idol one.