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January 25, 2023 12:04 pm  #1

When Does The Media Forecast Of A Big Storm Become "Weather Porn?"

I was talking to a few fellow broadcasting friends on Tuesday, who expressed supreme irritation about the build-up to the first big storm of the year to hit the GTA. Forecasters say the city could get hit with 20-25 cm. of snow, the first big dump in a winter that hasn't had many of them. 

Their problem was they felt some of the radio and TV stations in town were over-hyping this thing, and that it veered into what's been called "Weather Porn," when raising the alarm to keep people tuned goes way over the top. I have to say I haven't really noticed that with this latest one, but I can see why some felt that way. It happens when there's a potential emergency situation imminent and in an effort to hype the headline, they go a bit overboard. 

I'm actually more unhappy with the TV people who seem unable to stop themselves from saying, "For those who've missed the snow, you're going to get what you've waited for!" Beyond some skiers, who misses a huge dumping of snow that paralyzes an entire city and province? I could easily have gone an entire season without this kind of storm, and not given it a second thought. But I certainly don't look forward to it in any way. What's next? "If you're a tornado fan, boy, have we got good news for you!"

So what's your verdict? As I post this, the storm is just getting started. Do you feel the media goes too far when it comes to putting these warnings on air? Or are they simply doing their job in telling viewers and listeners how bad what's to come could be?

It's a fine line - and I admit that sometimes they cross it. But in this case, I have to say I haven't really noticed it. But there's a lot of bad weather left to come in this disturbance and we'll find out if some stations will stay calm in the eye of the storm.


January 25, 2023 4:55 pm  #2

Re: When Does The Media Forecast Of A Big Storm Become "Weather Porn?"

I think it depends on who's doing the reporting about the incoming weather and their attitude and delivery, gleeful "boy are you in trouble if you have to go outside, it's a real mess!!!" vs. calm and factual "drive according to conditions with a full tank of gas and a fully charged cellphone and stay home if you can" the first is self-serving and "porn-y" the second is concerned with the audience.

I grew up in Montreal where we'd call this amount of snow just another Wednesday.

p.s. on a day like today I miss having Mike Stafford on the air with the joking about Snowmageddon and the cool Aussie Aboriginal musical instrument sound effect.

Last edited by betaylored (January 25, 2023 5:01 pm)


January 25, 2023 5:00 pm  #3

Re: When Does The Media Forecast Of A Big Storm Become "Weather Porn?"

One thing about Toronto media weather-porn, is the 'money-shot' is never worth the build-up.


January 25, 2023 5:16 pm  #4

Re: When Does The Media Forecast Of A Big Storm Become "Weather Porn?"

If Toronto ever got the seven feet of snow parts of Western New York received recently, this city would be paralysed for weeks. Back in January 1999, when Mel Lastman called in the Canadian Army for snow removal, we received 118cm of snow between Jan 2 and Jan 15. That works out to just under four feet. Personally, my prediction for the 416 is maybe 15cm. If you have to travel, drive according to the weather conditions. You will get to your destination eventually, but safely. Simple common sense.