To really measure Milwaukee's TV's handing of the season's first snowfall on Saturday morning, you have to go back to Thursday night's 10 p.m. newscasts.
Everybody led off that night with the forecast of snow on Saturday, but only one -- Channel 6 -- didn't follow those weather update with a "storm" preparation story. The Fox affiliate has a policy against hyping the weather which even has its own slogan, "Be prepared, not scared."
On Friday night's 10 p.m. news shows, everybody again led with weather forecasts, and then Channel's 4, 12 and 58 went to storm preparation coverage. Channel 6 again held back in going beyond the weather deck.
Channel 12 had Abe Lubetkin standing in front of a mountain of road salt on Jones Island, noting that plow drivers had received their assignments. "But to keep costs down, they aren't going to roll out until the storm system itself moves in."
Which makes sense, since there's nothing for them to plow until it actually snows.
Channel 58 anchor Michele McCormack informed us that "It wasn't just hype, there was a rush at the grocery stores."
Hmmm, wonder what created that rush, if it wasn't Thursday's hype?
Channel 4's Courtny Gerrish was sent out to watch Miller Valley's Christmas light show, and turned it into a snow story "These kids are excited about the snow."
Not as excited as some TV news directors.
By the way, Channel 4 announced Friday night that it would be blowing out its Saturday morning schedule for four hours of wall-to-wall snow coverage.
I haven't seen any numbers, but based on past winters, it likely pulled in a decent audience through the morning. That kind of live coverage is mind-numbingly repetitive, but it's designed so that when you wake up and see the white outside, you can turn on Channel 4, find out things aren't so bad, then turn off TV and get on with your day.
Ratings, of course, are the rationale behind all the time devoted to a normal snowfall. Channel 4 has traditionally made the most of what most of us see as pretty normal Wisconsin weather.
And after Channel 12 bested them across the board in the November ratings, expect Channel 4 to be cranking up the volume to get your attention.
I really don't have any problem with the forecasters, who are far more precise than their predecessors, despite nostalgic folks who think TV weather forecasting 20 of 30 years ago was somehow more accurate. That makes no sense, since weather forecasting is based on science and technology, both of which continue to improve.
In fact, I noticed Channel 4's Brian Gotter telling viewers during Friday's lunchtime newscasts that they shouldn't reschedule Saturday night activities because of the coming snow. I just came up with a new award for measured coverage of Wisconsin winter weather, and Gotter deserves the first Golden Snowflake for that bit of good advice.
No, it's the "news" reporting that surrounds the weather forecasts that drives viewers bonkers. Don't blame the reporters, who are assigned to stand out there. Don't blame the anchors, who are reading what's in front of them.
It's the newsroom management that decides to hype the story.
As long as I'm handing out Golden Snowflake awards, Channel 6 deserves one for setting itself apart by not offering all that "news" coverage in addition to the forecast.
The "Glee" gang heads across the pond: The high school kids from "Glee" performed over the weekend on Great Britain's "X Factor" semi-final results show, with Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester having a little fun at Simon Cowell's expense.
Here's the video:
"The Simpsons" vs. Fox News Channel: Fox News Channel has received a couple funny jabs in recent weeks from "The Simpsons," over on its corporate sibling, the Fox broadcast network.
And those Taiwanese TV folks who do the computer-generated animations, offered this odd look at the story:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.