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January 4, 2008
Weather coverage by local TV news


Thoughts on the morning coverage of the rain and wind:

* Two extremes: Channel 3 preempted the "Today" show and went all-weather, all-the-time. On the other end, News10 chose not to preempt "Good Morning America" and went with a bare minimum of local cut-ins. Channel 13 went to its national morning show, but it had sister station Channel 31 to fall back upon.

Overkill by Channel 3? Lazy phoning-it-in by News10? What do you think?

Fox40, which rarely cuts in on regular programming, did, indeed, break in on reruns of "DeGrassi: The Next Generation" at 8:30.

* Top morning stunt: It's got to be Channel 3's Mike TeSelle (pictured), reporting horizontally from the Yolo Causeway. The guy lives for this type of thing. He actually volunteers to go to Blue Canyon.

(UPDATE AT 10:34: Channel 3 is really milking this TeSelle visual. Anchor Chris Riva told TeSelle that viewers are e-mailing in, telling the station to send Mike home. TeSelle smiled broadly and said thank you. But later, Riva confirmed that TeSelle jumped up and volunteered when the Yolo Causeway assignment came up in the news meeting.)

* Best rain wardrobe: We gotta go with Fox40's Kye Martin, in a powder blue rain slicker that didn't puff up like the Pillsbury Doughboy when the wind hit. (Stefanie Cruz's red "Good Day Sacramento" parka almost turned into a hot air balloon as she stood in an airport parking garage.)

Back to TeSelle: He felt the need to tell us what he was wearing, a la actors on the red carpet at the Oscars: "I've got the Gortex jacket and the rubber pants. And both are soaked through." Later, he added: "This rain has made it through all five layers."

Best old-school look goes to Channel 3's David Bienick, dressed in a yellow slicker and galoshes up to his knees.

* Cliche alert: Good news. I only heard the phrase "winter wonderland" (from Fox40's Louisa Hodge) once from the Donner Summit coverage.

* Best line of the morning goes to "Good Day Sac's" Mark S. Allen.
After Michele Kane, live in a wind-swept backyard, screamed in shock as a tree fell down while she was doing a report, Allen, in the safe, dry studio quipped: "Is it just me, or did it sound like (the tree) actually fell on Michele?"

* Is it just me, or did I detect a slight bit of disappointment among our local TV news folks because the "winter blast" wasn't worse. Yeah, there are some power outages, a jack-knifed truck or two, trees down, minor street flooding.

But, from the intense buildup over two days, it seemed like they wanted it to be much worse. After all, it would help ratings.

* Nice use of viewer photos uploaded via the Internet by channels 3 and 31. Citizen journalism strikes again.

* Here's a question: Did all other news miraculously stop happening because of wind and rain? I mean, our local stations told us nothing about the presidential election or any other local happenings, other than the weather.

* One good thing from the all-weather coverage: We didn't have to hear the morning shows breathlessly report about Britney Spears' latest meltdown.

Well, there's always cable for Britney, if you must know.

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