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February 26, 2020 1:48 pm  #1


Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

I’ve written about this before, but on Wednesday, it really showed just how stupid it is. I was watching CTV’s Noon News and as all too often happens, they put weather guy Anwar Knight on location, this time at some sort of greenhouse to promote a weekend event in Brampton.
 
After an early relatively non-informative promo, they finally went to the full weather forecast at 12:30 PM. Now you'd think on a day when we're in the middle of the very worst snowfall of the way-too-long Toronto winter, with a hellacious drive home to come, they might actually want to talk about the forecast and what to expect.
 
Instead, we were treated to an endless interview with some guy about planting seeds! It must have been 3 or 4 minutes long but seemed longer. To add insult to injury, when they finally got to the actual forecast – you know, that thing he’s employed to provide – they showed one map before being interrupted by “Breaking News” on the coronavirus – a presser which turned out to have so little info in it, they quickly abandoned it and went to a commercial break.
 
And we never actually got back to the weather – which had been the top story when the show began. When they came back from the break, it was straight onto business, consumer news, entertainment and sports - but not a word on the weather!  
 
As a long time TV news producer, I’m well aware that weather is often considered a “flex point” in a show, where you can do your lighthearted “look how we’re serving the community” stuff. But on a day when weather is the lede and we get the worst snowstorm of the year, maybe keep your forecaster in studio and treat it like the important story it is.

I sure would love to know what they were thinking over there. 
 
</rant>

 

February 26, 2020 2:01 pm  #2


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Just an addendum - they finally went back to Anwar some 20 minutes after his original weather should have run. Because so much time had been wasted on the interview and the presser that went nowhere, he was forced to race through the forecast, which is something that always happens when they spend too long on an interview that's totally irrelevant to most viewers. (I often find myself yelling at the TV, "Just get to the weather already!")

Look, I get that he loves the shmoozing and getting out with the public. And he's good at it. But other CFTO weather people who are in the same position usually set the scene quickly and deal with the forecast first, then spend a minute or so with the guest. That's the way it should always be done, IMHO.

And one more thing - there's another danger with putting an affable weather guy like Mr. Knight at some community event. Too often, he'll be yukking it up with some kids, throwing back to the studio while yelling, "OK, who wants to paint this wall!" and then laughing as he throws back to the studio. And then the anchor is forced to read something like, "Three people, including a child, were killed today when a fire ravaged their apartment in the east end."

It's what we call a "hard turn." And it happens way too often.

I wish the producers at CTV Toronto knew which way the wind was blowing. Unfortunately, their weather guy is often way too busy doing something else to tell them.  

</rant pt.2>

     Thread Starter
 

February 26, 2020 2:13 pm  #3


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Judging by the hype of the weather and its failure to actually happen this year so many times, maybe it was a good idea to not report it much https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/cheerful.png
  and to be honest none of it is sticking to the pavement (so far today) atleast here in downtown.

 

February 26, 2020 2:22 pm  #4


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Forecasters say the worst is yet to come during the drive home and the drive in on Thursday. Moderate snow is predicted after 3 PM, with heavier flakes after 8 o'clock. Add in strong winds over the next two days that will blow it all around and it's a big deal.

And I think I just gave you more info than Anwar did!

But hey, how 'bout those seeds you can't plant until spring?

I think in the end, my point is if you're there to do the weather, do the weather. That's what I'm tuning in to see. And yes, there are lots of places online to get it. But if I'm spending an hour watching a newscast, then I expect them to deliver certain things. Seed planting isn't one of them! 

Sorry. I'm probably overreacting. But this has long been my #1 pet peeve about local TV newscasts and I hate it when stations do it. Surveys in the past have shown weather is one of the main reasons viewers tune in to already struggling TV news shows. Why leave them out in the cold, especially on a day when it really matters? (Not that there's any weather guy to tell them how cold it is...) 

This doesn't bug me so much on a summer day when we're in for three days of sunshine with highs in the 20s. But on a day like this one? Get to the forecast pronto. If there's time later, then do the frills. 

     Thread Starter
 

February 26, 2020 2:25 pm  #5


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

i get that weather (at times) can be boring... but not when a storm is looming. it's as if stations go overboard on both sides of the fence. on a side note, i was watching a cbc tv st. john's newcast, during their recent snow blast, and i was impressed when the "on location" reporter was talking about narrow streets, street plows, and insane mounds of snow. when doing so, he spoke using inches and feet (something most canadians use when measuring height and width). many canadians don't realize the use of metric and/or imperial are both (in advertising, media, etc.) government approved. i see no reason, when dealing with extreme weather conditions, forest fires, etc. why media outlets couldn't use both metric and imperial measurement. it's an important time to be totally understood.
 

 

February 26, 2020 2:30 pm  #6


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

My fave is when 680 News "opens" its "Storm Centre" ... or words to that effect. Do they do much more than maybe move the cup of coffee from one side of the desk to the other????

 

February 26, 2020 2:34 pm  #7


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Saul wrote:

My fave is when 680 News "opens" its "Storm Centre" ... or words to that effect. Do they do much more than maybe move the cup of coffee from one side of the desk to the other????

Great question and it usually only involves being able to sponsor the segment.

(The other issue is: when is it bad enough out to justify using the "Storm Centre" tag? Sometimes I think they do it just to up the ante, get in the spot liner, and make it sound like Snowmageddon is coming. Kind of like CNN and NBC calling everything in their first pack "Breaking News," even if it happened eight hours earlier.)

     Thread Starter
 

February 26, 2020 3:11 pm  #8


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Heres the thing....so far (I know storms can be hard to predict) but CTV Toronto news last night at 1130 spoke first right away about the storm.  It was already supposed to be bad at this time of day.  So far its a joke.  So at this point the hype is losing steam.   Its Canada at the end of the day.  It snows. 

 

February 26, 2020 3:30 pm  #9


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

RA, you are not alone on this.  I have read your previous posts about this and along with today's comments you are dead on!

Increasingly these segments are live "feel good community outreach" efforts,  with the weather all too often coming through as an afterthought.

 

February 26, 2020 3:37 pm  #10


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

markow202 wrote:

Heres the thing....so far (I know storms can be hard to predict) but CTV Toronto news last night at 1130 spoke first right away about the storm.  It was already supposed to be bad at this time of day.  So far its a joke.  So at this point the hype is losing steam.   Its Canada at the end of the day.  It snows. 

North of Toronto the snow is sticking to the ground. Forecasts suggest the heaviest will be overnight tonight. I like the heads-up ... if it will help people decide in advance whether or how they'll commute the next day, make other travel plans or related decisions. Weather is actually news that is directly and tangibly relevant to our everyday lives. Yes, spare me the hype (my point about the 680 Snooze Weather Centre). But weather has more direct impact on my everyday life than a housefire or even *arguably* a shooting. I agree with RA's original premise ... give me the forecast first and then frill it up (if you absolutely must). The inverted pyramid works in this case (I don't like the inverted pyramid in all cases, but for weather it's helpful).

 

February 26, 2020 4:40 pm  #11


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

This is regarding the weather person being on location.  Also when Jennifer used to be at City and was always on location.  This is something a lot of people don't know.  Why so much time spent on where they are broadcasting from?  This is not a programming thing.  It is a sales oriented.  In other words the location that they are visiting are supplying revenue to the station; hence the time spent on where they are broadcasting from.  At least that's what I've been told.  If I'm wrong please correct me.  RA's opening comments are dead on however.  I just want them to get to the weather.  Especially with the weather that's coming.

 

February 26, 2020 4:43 pm  #12


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

markow202 wrote:

Heres the thing....so far (I know storms can be hard to predict) but CTV Toronto news last night at 1130 spoke first right away about the storm.  It was already supposed to be bad at this time of day.  So far its a joke.  So at this point the hype is losing steam.   Its Canada at the end of the day.  It snows. 

Yes, I can tell you from experience how easy it is to hype this stuff up. The sad truth is that, for better or worse, people go crazy for weather stories in this part of the world. I'm not so sure it would be that way in say, the Miami market or in Honolulu, where it's pretty much the same every day. 

I may have told this story before, but it illustrates the point. Back when we started our news website decades ago, we discovered through Comscore that whenever we published an "it's a big storm" yarn on the front page of the site, the numbers would go through the roof. There's just something about a snow event, even if it doesn't live up to the predictions, that viewers can't resist.

The only other tale that used to bring in such high page views was the occasional salacious murder. Sorry to say it, but that just seems to be the way many people are. 

Well, one day the inevitable happened - a gruesome murder in the middle of a snowstorm! The numbers went crazy - millions of page views in less than 24 hours. And as we kept updating the story as it unfolded, they kept coming back to read the new top. It turned out to be the biggest story of the year when we looked back at it.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I wouldn't fool around with the weather, unless it's a perfectly calm day and nothing is happening. 

And we're not the only ones who think this way. Try watching a Buffalo newscast sometime. I'm not sure about WGRZ, but barring extraordinary breaking news, both WIVB and WKBW lead every newscast - all of them - with the weather, regardless of whether it's stormy or not. And no, they're not at some charity event, ignoring the forecast while they chat endlessly with an organizer. 

     Thread Starter
 

February 26, 2020 5:13 pm  #13


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Many years ago a savvy Radio executive asked me if I ever noticed what the top story was on CJAD.  On every newscast. As you read this the answer becomes immediately obvious but it wasn't to me at the time he asked the question.  Each newscast began with the current temp followed by a 24 (IIRC) forecast and a repeat of the temperature.  It took 20 seconds at the most. A few years later, in those per-smartphone days, my wife mentioned to me that  she didn't like having to waiting 5 minutes until the end of the newscast  to hear the weather when she was rushed in the morning. I mentioned it to the ND at the station where I worked at the time. He said she had a good point and in the time in took to write the memo and adjust the format the weather became the lede. 

PD's used to obsess over what they called "the basics."   Weather is the most basic of the basics. Don't mess with it.  In other words, "What you said, RA!"
 

 

February 26, 2020 5:49 pm  #14


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

AMFM wrote:

This is regarding the weather person being on location.  Also when Jennifer used to be at City and was always on location.  This is something a lot of people don't know.  Why so much time spent on where they are broadcasting from?  This is not a programming thing.  It is a sales oriented.  In other words the location that they are visiting are supplying revenue to the station; hence the time spent on where they are broadcasting from.  At least that's what I've been told.  If I'm wrong please correct me.  RA's opening comments are dead on however.  I just want them to get to the weather.  Especially with the weather that's coming.

I remember on more than one occasion,  Jennifer broadcasting live from a new Walmart location that was having it's opening day promotion.
 

Last edited by Media Observer (February 26, 2020 5:50 pm)

 

February 26, 2020 6:45 pm  #15


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Media Observer wrote:

I remember on more than one occasion,  Jennifer broadcasting live from a new Walmart location that was having it's opening day promotion.
 

That's really pathetic if true. Wow.
 

 

February 26, 2020 6:57 pm  #16


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

I also watched the Noon CTV newscast and when Anwar appeared on screen he was in front of wonderful lush green plants and bushes. My first thought was Great! He's promoting some area gardening expo which means I've got to wait 4-5 minutes to hear how bad the snow storm will be. To his credit, he eventually gave the snow timeline with heavy snow between 6-8pm  and the worst from 8pm-3am. Does CBC, CITY and GLOBAL do this sort of thing or is it all business when it comes to the weather? I realize all stations do a bit of "Happy Talk" between the anchors before the weather segment is introduced. That I can handle.

 

February 26, 2020 7:34 pm  #17


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Looks like almost everyone had the weather as the top story at 6pm.  I scanned CTV Kitchener, CTV Toronto, CTV London, CBC, City, and Global. All had a report and weather map right off the top.  CHCH Hamilton didn't lead with the weather and didn't get into any weather until 10 minutes into the newscast. However doesn't look like Hamilton received much snow during the day.  CHCH had the blockage/protest at Caledonia as the lead story.  CTV Windsor also didn't lead with the weather, did have the weather as the 2nd story.  

CTV Kitchener often has their weather person out in the community for the forecast. I know it is popular with service clubs and special events.  Don't get the feeling this is for any money for the station just more of at PR move, connecting to the community type of thing. They often do interviews with the public/organizers when the weather is on location. These are almost always fun or light events. 

 

February 26, 2020 8:59 pm  #18


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

AMFM wrote:

This is regarding the weather person being on location.  Also when Jennifer used to be at City and was always on location.  This is something a lot of people don't know.  Why so much time spent on where they are broadcasting from?  This is not a programming thing.  It is a sales oriented.  In other words the location that they are visiting are supplying revenue to the station; hence the time spent on where they are broadcasting from.  At least that's what I've been told.  If I'm wrong please correct me.  RA's opening comments are dead on however.  I just want them to get to the weather.  Especially with the weather that's coming.

And this is the answer. The noon news is no longer about creating content that will generate ratings that will generate revenue - it's about short-cutting straight to the revenue. And realistically, the broadcasters aren't wrong for just cashing out. No matter how good the content, the ratings won't be sellable. Demographically, a local, weekday, noon-hour, OTA "news"cast has better revenue potential this way, long-term be damned. 


 
 

February 26, 2020 9:08 pm  #19


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Another advantage of a noon show is it gets you a jump on your 6 o'clock major. A lot of the material generated early in the day winds up being incorporated on the later show and - depending on the nature of the story -  some of the clips can be fed to other CTV stations, as well as used on Bell Media radio properties in the meantime. 

I once worked at a TV station that had a noon show. I remember how much it helped when it came to getting stories done on time (always a perennial problem) and making up the 6 PM line-up. At least you got some idea of what you already had in the can.  

     Thread Starter
 

February 26, 2020 9:15 pm  #20


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

RadioActive wrote:

Another advantage of a noon show is it gets you a jump on your 6 o'clock major. A lot of the material generated early in the day winds up being incorporated on the later show and - depending on the nature of the story -  some of the clips can be fed to other CTV stations, as well as used on Bell Media radio properties in the meantime. 

I once worked at a TV station that had a noon show. I remember how much it helped when it came to getting stories done on time (always a perennial problem) and making up the 6 PM line-up. At least you got some idea of what you already had in the can.  

You can still generate that content before noon without interfering with the 12pm infomercial's revenue.
 


 
 

February 26, 2020 9:55 pm  #21


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Media Observer wrote:

I remember on more than one occasion,  Jennifer broadcasting live from a new Walmart location that was having it's opening day promotion. 

Revenue-streaming the weather...that's the ticket! I wonder if money ever changes hands to have Anwar show up.

 

 

February 26, 2020 10:28 pm  #22


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

RadioAaron wrote:

You can still generate that content before noon without interfering with the 12pm infomercial's revenue. 

True. But putting it together as an actual broadcast and having the clips edited and chosen under an on air time deadline really helps to formulate what your major evening show will eventually look like. Plus, there's the added bonus that some of the stand-ups and edited pieces can be reused. You won't do that unless you're forced to. 

And having a noon show gets everyone ready. I can say from my experience that while prepping a noon cast was extra work, it lightened the load a bit in getting the 6 on the air. And any time you can save on what is often a last minute chaotic rush to the evening news start time is a bonus.

When the station I was at at the time stopped their noon show for financial reasons, I noticed a real difference in the urgency in the newsroom. And I never felt the show at 6 was quite as good.  

     Thread Starter
 

February 26, 2020 11:21 pm  #23


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Hi RA,
Back sometime in the winter of, I think it was in the early1990's, Clint was producing CityPulse Tonight, and the lead was the weather.   Either Harold or Environment Canada got it wrong but the forecast was for 8 cm to fall that evening.  Oh, we sent out the usual camera to get the visuals, plows, salters etc.  OMG it's the big story tonight!   Oops! Down from the heavens falls a scant 2 cm's.   Clint went with it, so sometimes the forecasters, as my wife would say are paid to be wrong.  

 

February 26, 2020 11:30 pm  #24


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

RadioAaron wrote:

And this is the answer. The noon news is no longer about creating content that will generate ratings that will generate revenue - it's about short-cutting straight to the revenue. And realistically, the broadcasters aren't wrong for just cashing out. No matter how good the content, the ratings won't be sellable. Demographically, a local, weekday, noon-hour, OTA "news"cast has better revenue potential this way, long-term be damned. 

Weather is brought to you by the Prezler Law firm.  They used to have tons of advertising...now I honestly do not recall seeing any of their ads at all...just the little weather blurb.


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.
 
 

February 26, 2020 11:33 pm  #25


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

Saul wrote:

My fave is when 680 News "opens" its "Storm Centre" ... or words to that effect. Do they do much more than maybe move the cup of coffee from one side of the desk to the other????

I hate 680's Storm Centre because it usually goes like this:
:00 Headlines which is mostly the weather on a storm day, which usually includes an overview from the weather specialist.
:01 Traffic and Weather which usually includes an expanded forecast with the weather specialist.
:03 Top Story, which is the weather with the same specialist who has been on twice in the previous three minutes.
:07 Storm Centre update
:09 Tease for Traffic and Weather coming up next, which usually includes another overview from the weather specialist.
:11 Traffic and Weather which usually includes an expanded forecast with the weather specialist.
I understand that the weather is the top story, but 6 forecasts in 11 minutes?

Last edited by Prod Guy (February 26, 2020 11:38 pm)

 

February 26, 2020 11:59 pm  #26


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

The Foxer wrote:

Hi RA,
Back sometime in the winter of, I think it was in the early1990's, Clint was producing CityPulse Tonight, and the lead was the weather.   Either Harold or Environment Canada got it wrong but the forecast was for 8 cm to fall that evening.  Oh, we sent out the usual camera to get the visuals, plows, salters etc.  OMG it's the big story tonight!   Oops! Down from the heavens falls a scant 2 cm's.   Clint went with it, so sometimes the forecasters, as my wife would say are paid to be wrong.  

LOL...I remember this happening more than once in old (pre-layoffs) BT days; (don't watch the current show).  City would have reporters at subway entrances, Union Station, bus stops etc. with the intention of asking morning commuters how the forecasted storm was affecting their trips.  The only problem some mornings was that the predicted snowfall had not yet arrived.

Last edited by Media Observer (February 27, 2020 12:17 am)

 

February 27, 2020 1:07 am  #27


Re: Attn. CTV: When Weather Matters, Stop Wasting Your Viewers' Time!!!

The Foxer wrote:

Hi RA,
Back sometime in the winter of, I think it was in the early1990's, Clint was producing CityPulse Tonight, and the lead was the weather.   Either Harold or Environment Canada got it wrong but the forecast was for 8 cm to fall that evening.  Oh, we sent out the usual camera to get the visuals, plows, salters etc.  OMG it's the big story tonight!   Oops! Down from the heavens falls a scant 2 cm's.   Clint went with it, so sometimes the forecasters, as my wife would say are paid to be wrong.  

I happen to know former CityPulse reporter turned lawyer Lorne Honickman and he told me this story.

It was a holiday in the middle of a lazy summer and he was anchoring the 6. Problem was, try as he might, the late, great Clint Nickerson, who was pretty resourceful, simply could not find anything that was a lede. Story after story fell through and it now 4 PM and still no firm line-up. He was getting desperate.

And then, like a miracle, the skies opened up and a downpour of Biblical proportions came raining down on the city. It didn't last long and by around 5:15, it was over and the sun had come back out. Clint decided to lead with a 'torrential rain hits Toronto' type story.

Honickman was incredulous. "How can you possibly expect me to sell this as our top story, when there's nothing happening any more?" he asked his producer. But Clint had nothing else and told Lorne they'd write it properly and then he'd throw to then-weatherman David Onley on Queen St. W., who would show tape of lightning, people running for cover etc.

Honickman was still upset. But he read the copy and the show went on.

For years afterward, he would talk about that day, telling people the copy he wanted to read.

"Good evening," he threatened to say. "It's raining. Now let's go out to David Onley on Queen St., where it's not raining!"

Now THAT would have been a great opening!

     Thread Starter