Monday, July 03, 2006

Okay, Who Let Liggett Type That?

An alert reader points out this crawl at the bottom of the screen on Channel 7:

"Your watching Newswatch 7"

Other notes from other alert readers that took the words right out of our mouths:

Who is directing the [Channel 6] news on weekends? I know you have touched on this before, but it is painful to watch Paul and Jaime sitting there staring into the camera, while the other is reading something new. The other week Paul Baltes stared with a look of awkward silence and bewilderment for what had to be 20 seconds while Jaime started into her piece. I am really embarrassed for these people.

Yet another writes, "Any chance you caught Jimmy 'the Geek' Siedlecki's Cirque du Soleil promo? He pronounces it Sirk DAY Solay... can Channel 6 find a bigger bumpkin?"

You wouldn't think so, but we didn't think they could bring in worse than Pat Persaud, Gary Smollen, Brian New, or Sheila Brummer, and look what they were able to dredge up. Siedlecki makes even Travis Justice look sophisticated.

Moral of the story: Never underestimate the power of the Big Sucks.


Omababe said...

The thing is, Omaha should not be a break-in market for rank beginners. At least, Omaha should be a step-up market for those who have paid their dues in Fargo or Winona, so to speak.

However, if we the viewers -- scratch that -- if the local sponsors are willing to pay for underwhelming mediocrity seasoned with dashes of hardcore ineptitude, that's what their money will buy -- and that's what we will keep seeing. :(

jmsqabq said...

Kids from Fargo now go right to Minneapolis .. so do kids from Wausau and other places that used to feed into Omaha.
Viewers and sponsors have nothing to do with it. There's only so much money a suit in Omaha will pay a reporter (not much, by the way) .. a viewer and/or sponsor boycott won't do anything to change that.
TV news is anchor-driven anyway .. research 'geniuses' will tell you no one listens to the blah-blah-blah of reporters. By the way, I say that with a lot of regret.

Joe Swank said...

Okay, another topic not touched but on the same lines, the weather folks. When will one station have the balls to get rid of their whole weather staff and bring in people that can forecast correctly, even 10 hours in advance? All weekend they were spouting we were going to get rain in the evenings, especially on Monday. Even Monday morning they called for a 50% chance...then nothing.At 5 or 6 Flowers even talked about some rain up by Tekamah that may reach us and may not - WOW go out on a limb! Then they have the gall to try to talk about a 7 day forecast and act like this or that will happen.

As I said when will someone fire their whole weather staff and give someone a chance to be right for a change. For someone that depends on the weather it is a joke!

operationseng said...

Joe Swank:

Your point is a very good point when concerning the weather teams in this town.

Having worked in the television industry for several years and having worked with a variety of people in a variety of stations across the country I have had the opportunity to meet several weathermen. I can honestly tell you that perhaps the best weatherman that I worked with was a man that had been a true meteorologist in the National Weather Service and the US Navy prior to his stint on television. This was in the mid 1980's before any of this computer equipment was on the scene. (At least in the station I was at anyway.)

I think it is rather amusing that he would gather all his information from a weather wire and some satellite maps and chart the jet stream on PAPER and BY HAND, and his accuracy rate was 80%. I've ran an accuracy rate on each of the weather forecasters in Omaha and have only seen a 51% accuracy rate at best. And this is with all the fancy computers they have.

Let's face it, I think they've gotten a trifle lazy and have come to rely too much on their technology and not enough on their skills.

Of course it could also be due to the fact that these people are showmen and not true meteorologists. Any response to this claim from any of the television weathermen out there? Perhaps there is something new in the mix that we aren't aware of. I invite the weather casters to speak on your behalf. I really would like to know what the issue is and if there is a viable reason for the low accuracy rates. If there is; well then, I will rescind all of my criticism and stand corrected.

photofarm said...

Joe Swank,

The forecast is as accurate as they can get it. The forecast Monday was right on target. There were showers in the area those nights if you look at the entire viewing area, just not your backyard.

Flowers described what would probably happen Monday with the rain in Burt County, and that odds looked like it would probably fall apart before it reached Omaha.

It would be nice of Omaha viewers would have the balls to admit that they don't have a clue about the weather, or any weather outside of their city block.

Hosh said...

I want to apply to be a weather forecaster!!!
At noon on Tuesday:
No chance of rane the rest of the day.
Check back tomorrow to see if I've been hired yet!

Omababe said...

>As I said when will someone fire
>their whole weather staff and give
>someone a chance to be right for a
>change. For someone that depends on
>the weather it is a joke!

At least it's not as bad a joke as the "Weather Twinkies" back in the 1970's.

The one I actually liked was Dr. Dave Eiser (Sp?) who had a style totally different. I thought he was just wordsmithing things like FROPAS and TROF until my dad told me those were real terms that weather people use. I actually learned a lot about the weather when he was around.

Oh well ...

weatherwoman said...

All the physics, differential equations and chemistry can not help us forecast the weather with the accuracy we would like. It is not an exact science, and very few textbook cases. The atmosphere is a fluid- the surface to about 6 miles.... think the "butterfly effect". It is a hard job, but we try to give the public what they want, and most importantly, warn them when a tornado might hit them upside the forehead. It isn't an easy job, and we work 24/7, weekends and holidays included. So if you like 4 years of Calculus go ahead and try to be a real meteorologist, but you will probably have to take a paycut.

Joe Swank said...

Mr. Flowers errr I mean photofarm. Yes there were showers in the area, but on Saturday night and into Sunday they indicated that "everyone" would get some rain - especially with Monday's showers. And their little storm trackers (is that a euphanism sp? for something?)showed a good dose of rain for Monday. Now for Flowers comment I was just laughing at how he covered both sides - either it would rain or it wouldnt. Please if you are an expert take a stance and say it.

Anyways my point was, and I think if we took a poll most would agree, the weather folks in this town are inaccurate quite a bit. Forecast High temps will be 88 at the 10pm news cast and by morning they are 95 - only 8 hours later. Thats not to mention the rain chances. Since April I have a vested interest in the weather (crops I am growing) and have routinely watched all 3 stations at 10 and in the morning to get the weather and nobody will tell me they are incredibly accurate. Monday Morning they were saying there was a great chance the Rosenblatt Fireworks may be delayed, but shouldnt be postponed. We didnt get a drop - and that is in the big backyard of Omaha. Oh and I have two backyards one 30 miles away, by Mahoney and it didnt get rain. I wasnt just talking about Omaha.

Again, I am sure the line of meteorologist defenders is quite a bit shorter then those of us in line to complain about their incompetence.

operationseng said...


I think I'll respond to your comments even though I am certain that Joe Swank is perfectly capable. We are talking about accuracy rates here and Jim Flowers is not very accurate when it comes to predicting the weather; none of them are for that matter. They are SHOWMEN; not meteorologists and that is the sad fact of it.

As to your point that he predicted the weather beyond Omaha, that is fine and dandy, but where is he stationed at? Omaha, Nebraska. It doesn't do a heck of a lot of good to predict the weather for Burt County when the majority of his viewers are in the Omaha area. I am sorry to have had to point that fact out to you.

Also, he did predict thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms, for the Omaha-Metro area and we received nothing. In point of fact, he predicted thunderstorms several times over the past week for THE OMAHA-METRO area, not Burt County, not Blair, but Omaha. If you don't believe me I will be happy to post a recording of a couple of the newscasts in which he stated as such on the web.

The man is not that accurate and while he is a nice person, he's not a great weathercaster. I also take issue with his tag line "the most experienced meteorologist in the Heartland." I'm certain that there are a few National Weather Service meteorologist that would take issue with that blanket statement.

barefoot_fairy said...

>Of course it could also be due to >the fact that these people are >showmen and not true >meteorologists

*Ahem* Actually, Bill Randby has a degree in meteorology from Florida State University. See the website.

The Dude said...

I'll chime in since I'm a tv met. I try to stay even keel with any type of weather and I choose what words I say wisely because of the fact as some people pointed out about what apparently Mr. Flowers says. If I were to say everyone was going to get rain or heavy snow I'd have to be pretty sure (95%) there's going to be something falling from the sky. As far as forecasting I had one of the best teachers in school to learn from and I put as much effort into forecasting as I do into my show. Trust me I'd be ten times more mad than a viewer if my forecast is completely incorrect. The thing is some mets probably don't do their job as seriously, don't have the proper training, or even bother to look at what's going on.

weatherforecaster said...

I am planning to pursue meteorology at Creighton next year and plan to on the broadcasting side of things. I have already been forecasting the weather for around 5 years now. How? The same exact computer models that NWS and tv meteorologists use are on the internet. One such site is

From watching our local meteorologists Jim Flowers, Bill Randy, and Ryan McPike since I was young, I can tell you that the most accurate one is Jim Flowers. He not only is almost always more accurate than everyone else, he is almost always better than the NWS. He is also a Real Meteorologist and does not always rely on computer models. Here is one example. A few years ago the first major snowstorm of the winter season hit the area. Computer models forecasted less than 1 inch of snow. Jim Flowers: 3-5 in. Ryan McPike: 2-4 in. Bill Randby: 1-3 in. NWS (The only "True Meteorologists" Apparently) 1-3 in.

How about using a recent example: Today. Jim Flowers: 84 degrees. NWS: 81 degrees. Actual: 83. Closest: Jim Flowers.

One more example: Last Saturday. Jim Flowers: 96, NWS: 93. Actual: 100. Closest: Jim Flowers.

As far as Monday goes, any meteorologist, true or not would put in the chance for storms. Computer models showed rain. Even if there were not computers, did you feel how muggy it was on Monday? Dewpoints in the 70's. There was a front across the area and no cap (no warm air preventing storms from developing). Good situation for storms. It was a hit and miss situation and we got missed. That's how it goes sometimes. But you would be stupid not but in the chances for storms. Also there was A 50 % chance of rain. NOT 100 %.

There are meteorologists out there that rely too much on computer models and not themselves. But not in Omaha. Our 4 chief meteorologist use not only models as guidance but also there head. They all have solid backgrounds and have gone to good schools, have taken the Calculus, Physics and everything else to get to where they are.

photofarm said...

Mr Swank,

I farm, and check many weather forecasts all of the time. The ones that complain about " inaccurate " forecasts are just plain full of it. I've never heard Jim Flowers say that everyone will get rain or thunderstorms. That is unless the radar is totally lit up.

They do sometimes go overboard on snowstorms, but it is often after a long dry spell, and I think most of it is to get idiots attentions ( raise hand Joe ) that they might have some problems driving into work.

I'll repeat again IT IS THE OMAHA VIEWING AREA which is larger than the Omaha metro area.

BTW when they say Isolated Thunderstorms, it means the odds are you will get missed.

For the location we are in, and how fast the weather changes, the Omaha TV stations do a pretty good job. There accuracy is better now than 20 years ago, especially 12 hours out.

operationseng said...

To the weather people that responded:

Thank you for the input, it is appreciated. I don't think that we as viewers totally understand the process that you go through, and not understanding the process, we tend to be more critical. I know I do.

It is my hope that this website, critical as it can be, will be a discussion point where we, as viewers, can actaully learn from the media, as to what occurs behind the scenes that we are unaware of. I was in television years ago and I'm certain, like everything else, it has changed considerably over the past ten years. Again, to the weather people that have responded, thank you for your response and your input. You've assisted in furthering my education on the subject and I appreciate it greatly. Hopefully others out there will follow suit by offering their input as well. I believe that this is what this website was intended for.

operationseng said...

Barefoot Fairy:

Just adding a little sarcasm there. I'm certain that Mr. Flowers also has a degree in meteorology as well. It just seems to be more about the show than the weather. Lighten up a bit.

rickoxo2 said...

I'm forced to agree, in my limited knowledge as a news consumer, that Mr. Flowers does not have the strongest track record in the past 3-5 years. He is an extremly nice man, but I just have to say that the presentation is geared more for the show and less for the accuracy. This can be demonstrated by his use of phrases like "Tornodoes likely" and a "chance of tornadoes." These are massive weather events which should not be tossed around like a typical rain shower. With phrases like these, they guarantee a broadcast viewership based on fear of the weather. This is exploitative. If there is truly a serious threat for a tornado, there should not be hype about it, there should be serious reporting. Right now, at channel 6, there is too much hype.

Also, there was a snow storm earlier this year that was supposed to be 12-14", THEN was upped, by Jim Flowers, to 16-18". This was all 3-4 days before the storm hit. Then, the day before the storm, it was lowered to 10-12", and by the end I think we had like 6" at the max. This is either extremely poor forecasting or an audience grabber. Either way, that weather department should be ashamed.

What is Dale Munson doing these days?

Hosh said...

I think its funny that Jim Flowers' username is "the dude."

photofarm said...


You certainly put a lot of detail in you writing, but in reality, if they hit the high temp or low temp +/- 3 degrees that is 100% accurate as far as I'm concerned.

The complainers here would say that Jim Flowers, or Tyson Pearsol, or Bill Randby would be wrong if 75% of the Omaha Viewing area got rain and Omaha was missed.

Thanks for posting your details, I know that most of the time the Omaha TV people do use some of their own judgement. The computers don't always take everything into account. The biggest problem is temeperatures as percentage of snow cover on the ground changes

barefoot_fairy said...


Sarcasm doesn't exactly come through that well in a text-only environment.

weatherforecaster said...


To tell you the truth that was an embarrassing situation on the snow storm that we had. I was forecasting 15-17 inches of snow, thus was farely close to what Flowers predicted. I just want to let you know, however, that Jim Flowers did not put up 16-18 inches just to create hype. It was definately possible. Jim chose to take the high side of the model data which could have easily come true. A persistant area of dry air cut into the eastern part of the storm, thus significantly dropping accumulations across the metro. The dry air was forecasted by models but just a little bit further east. If the dry air would have been to our east as forecasted by models, we would have rather easily recieved at least 15 inches of snow out of that storm. Some areas in central Nebraska recieved 30 inches of snow because of lack of dry air and more moisture, an indication of how bad the storm could have been.

operationseng said...

Barefoot Fairy:

I stand redressed. No more printed sarcasm from me. ;)

rickoxo2 said...


Thanks for the additional info. I know that we live in probably one of the toughest areas to forecast. Like I said, I don't have the education that you or Jim have, I can only view the reports as a consumer. I do appreciate your perspective, though!

Obbop said...

We need a live action-cam in the Amazon rain forest to view the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings that, according to chaos theory, will impact the weather conditions here in the land of those proverbial "Nebraska values."

Are "Nebraska values" what I see while driving at 25 mph in the school zone with all the munchkins milling about while the vast majority of drivers zoom past me at high velocity?

bandit75 said...

**snore** Holy crap! For a minute there I thought I was having one of the most boring "I'm back in school wearing only underwear" dreams I've ever had, turns out I was just reading about the difficulties of modern forecasting. Jesus Christ people! If you want an accurate forecast, buy a Farmers Almanac. However, if your reading comprehension skills aren't what they used to be, open your window and stick your head out. If it's summer, chances are it's going to be hot and muggy. Winter, cold and possibly snowing. It's the Midwest! This shouldn't suprise anyone.

Now a suggestion for the big three plus 42/15. Each station should buy their own monkey and a dart board. On the dart board, place different temperatures, pictures of clouds, rain, the sun, etc. Then, when it's time for the weather, dress the little guy up in a suit and place him five feet from the dart board. Whatever he hits with his own poop on the board is your forecast. He'll be about as accurate as anyone else here in town, but if he's wrong it's okay, he's a monkey in a suit folks, isn't he cute.

Wasn't this post originally about each stations technical inadequacies?

operationseng said...


You know, I forgot what this post was originally about. I think you're right. It was about technical inadequacies. We got comment about the weather from the forecasters; anyone out there want to let us know what's been going on behind the scenes and why there have been so many glitches, especially at 6 on the weekends? Anyone? Anyone?

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