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.
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?