Monday, August 27, 2012

The Little Engine that Could

It's good to know that after 30 plus years in television news there are things that I can still learn.  Tropical Storm Isaac provided this old cynic an excellent lesson in skilled planning and preparation.  It gave me a chance to share my knowledge along with a little bit of wisdom, while getting to see a first rate managers leading an understaffed and outgunned team to a stunning ratings feat.  The can do attitude permeated the entire station operation from promotions, to production, to engineering, to the newsroom, even into sales, traffic and our general manager.

Our news director Eric Maze, made the bold decision to unleash the hounds in the face of Isaac on Sunday.  A simple two-tiered approach would put us on the air as soon as Sunday's NFL football game ended on FOX at about 7 p.m. for continuous coverage until 9 a.m. the following morning.  Our station faces severe technical limitations when compared to the other stations in the market, plus the other station's boast staffs more than double what we can put out into the field and into key positions inside the newsroom.

Isaac was a massive storm that threatened to do a lot of damage to our viewing area.  Somehow we were spared by and large, while Florida's east coast suffered the brunt of this weird tropical system. Even though Isaac turned out to be a dud, we gave our viewers excellent coverage of the events in our area as they unfolded without sensationalizing the storm.  Eric set the bar very high and the news and production team at FOX 4 worked seamlessly together to the benefit of our viewers.  They repaid us in spades by watching our coverage in large numbers into the wee morning hours.

It leaves me wondering what will happen when the next major tropical system moves our way.  It may be game on from our competitors.  Regardless, we've shown our viewers and I'm betting some of our competitor's viewers that we're capable of giving them first rate weather coverage.  It's nice to beat the two neighborhood bullies with one armed tied behind your back.


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