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FAQ: Why did we interrupt 'American Idol' for weather?

Posted at 12:09 AM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 16:58:09-04

CINCINNATI -- "American Idol" viewers in our area Monday night found their season finale interrupted by an unexpected guest performer: Steve Raleigh, who broke in to the talent competition for live coverage of a tornado warning in Brown and Highland counties.

Although we never heard back from judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, we did receive some negative audience responses closer to home. 

WCPO staff, including Craig McKee and Tanya O’Rourke, spent around 30 minutes answering calls from viewers who were upset to see the long-awaited finale pre-empted for weather coverage. Repeatedly, we got the question: Why would you do that?


Why would we do that?

It’s been our policy for years to provide continuous coverage -- that means breaking into network programming -- whenever there is a tornado warning in any part of our coverage area. 

Being a local news station means being committed to the safety of the people in our area. Sometimes that means long-running investigations into power and the people who wield it. Other times, it means pre-empting network programming to cover a potentially life-threatening weather event for 30 minutes.

Regardless, safety is always our first priority. We believe this focus is what makes us valuable every day, even if it leads to in-the-moment frustration.

By the way, there really was a tornado.

Why does Steve need to be talking? Why can’t you scroll the information across the bottom of the screen? 

In a tornado warning, the situation can change in a second, which is why a scroll of words across the bottom is not sufficiently safe. Broadcasting Steve’s voice also enables the message to reach more people in the area of the event, including those who might be away from the television and subsequently not able to read scrolling text.

TL;DR. You still ruined my show. What are you going to do before I tweet-shame you into oblivion?

We’re truly sorry about that. You will be able to watch a special, Steve-free director’s cut of the finale on ABC’s official website by Tuesday evening, when the network posts it online. Hulu subscribers will also be able to view it there.

If you'd rather watch it on TV, you can also catch the entire two-hour finale on WCPO at 8 p.m. Saturday.

I have more feelings.

That's okay. If you do, we encourage you to contact our Feedback Friday hotline or send us an email. We are happy to hear from you, even on days like this.


We know. Wig. We feel that already.