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KTVI Gets High Marks For Juggling Severe Weather Coverage During Cardinals Game

Wednesday’s Cardinals game against the San Francisco Giants along with severe weather in the St. Louis area prompted the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to weigh in on how local TV stations juggle alerting viewers to storms without obstructing the game.  According to the St. Louis paper, KTVI, the St. Louis FOX affiliate, set the tone for what they’d like to see in the future.  You can watch a sample of the coverage after the jump.

Storms were in the forecast when the pregame show aired, and weather info appeared on the screen. But when play began, KTVI soon removed the weather graphics and inserted them only briefly during the early stages of the telecast.

The Post-Dispatch liked the restraint shown by KTVI, allowing viewers to watch the game while keeping them up-to-date on the changing weather without overdoing it, something the paper doesn’t seem to think other stations handle as well during sporting events.

When severe storms are in the area, the trend on local TV has become to plaster a map on the screen, accompanied by text scrolling across the bottom of the picture to dispense warning information.  These bells and whistles aren’t overly intrusive for general programming but are exasperating for those watching sports because athletics telecasts have much more information displayed than do mainstream shows.

The paper also pointed out KTVI chose viewer experience over revenue at one point, updating viewers during a planned commercial break instead of during game play.

“It cost us a little bit, but one (commercial) spot is worth it when you can get that message across without getting in the way of the game,” KTVI general manager Spencer Koch said Thursday.  Added (meteorologist Dave) Murray: “It’s a two-edged sword. We like the revenue when you have an opportunity like this, but you also can’t let the audience down when it comes to severe weather. We were doing what we thought served the audience well and let the game flow.

The article addresses the choice stations are forced to make between providing entertainment to the viewer, while trying to keep them safe.

“There always are all sorts of philosophical,” angles, Koch said. “I feel we have a responsibility to protect our viewers. If that’s too much, then I understand people complaining about it. We have different age groups, we have different people who watch different ways. I don’t think there is a right or wrong. We try to serve the viewers the best way we can. We discuss it a lot. If we didn’t put it on, we’d be accused of not serving the viewers. It’s not about just pleasing the viewers. You have a responsibility. ”

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Here’s a sample of the coverage during the game:

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