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Posts Tagged ‘ABC 33/40’

Longtime Birmingham Meteorologist Takes a Turn as Sports Anchor

James Spann, chief meteorologist for Birmingham, AL, ABC duopoly ABC 33/40, sat in on the sports desk for Mike Raita.

His report didn’t lack for opinion, which TVSpy can only speculate is what prompted the disclaimer by 10:00 p.m. anchor Dave Baird, “The following sportscast does not reflect the views or opinions of the ABC 33/40 sports department or any anchor at this desk.”

Spann, who has over 35 years experience as a TV weatherman and has worked at ABC 33/40 since its inception in 1996 told viewers, “They need another bald headed older guy to do sports. Here I am.”

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Pam Huff Remembers Wendell Harris, Who Made Her the First Female Anchor in Alabama History

Pam Huff, along with James Spann, took time during a recent ABC 33/40 newscast to remember longtime Birmingham newsman Wendell Harris, who passed away Tuesday morning.

Harris hired Huff and Spann during his time as news director at Birmingham’s WVTM, giving them both the first big breaks of their careers. When Huff was 24, Harris decided to give up his spot on the WVTM anchor desk and made her the first female nightly news anchor in the state of Alabama. Read more

Meteorologist James Spann on Tornado Coverage: ‘We’re Not as Good as We Think We Are’

In an interview with NPR, veteran meteorologist James Spann, who has become something of a severe weather pundit during his time at ABC 33/40, highlighted the limitations he and his colleagues face when covering tornadoes.

“We’re not as good as we think we are, and we have to accept that and work on it and be better, and admit the warning process has some work to do,” Spann said, referring to the public’s over-reliance on typical tornado warnings, such as sirens.

Spann has long been an outspoken critic of the warning process. Read more

WHNT Offering Viewers Money to Be Meteorologist’s Facebook Friend

Just in case his extensive coverage of tornadoes sweeping through Alabama wasn’t enough to entice viewers to Like WHNT chief meteorologist Jason Simpson on Facebook, the Huntsville CBS-affiliate is now offering $519 to be his friend.

WHNT, channel 19, has posted a big promotion on Simpson’s Facebook page, offering viewers a chance to win an American Express gift card if they Like the veteran meteorologist.

This is certainly not the first instance of local stations offering prizes in an effort to boost Facebook connections, but it is the only time in recent memory where a dollar figure for friendship was placed so closely to someone’s head. Read more

In Wake of Whitney Houston’s Death, Former Anchor Roy Hobbs Recounts His Battle with Drug Addiction

Roy Hobbs, whose decades-long career as an anchor and reporter was derailed by drug abuse, opened up about his struggle with addiction in a recent interview with Birmingham CBS-affiliate WIAT.

After working as an anchor at WAGA in Atlanta and ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Hobbs was arrested in April 2010 for possession of crack-cocaine.  In the wake of Whitney Houston‘s death, Hobbs felt compelled to share his story with WIAT (video inside). Read more

New Campaign Rips TV Meteorologists for Denying Climate Change

As the AMS holds its annual meeting this week, a group of conservationists has launched a campaign pressuring TV meteorologists “to report the facts about climate change.”

Forecast the Facts is backed by three non-profit organizations and its goal is to hold meteorologists accountable on climate change.

“Scientists have been predicting for years that human-induced climate change would lead to a future of increasingly dangerous extreme weather events,” the campaign states. “But when most Americans tune into their local weather report, they won’t hear a peep about climate change. Why? Because the majority of TV meteorologists don’t believe in it.” Read more

WHNT Hires Jason Simpson as Chief Meteorologist

Jason Simpson has been named WHNT‘s new chief meteorologist.

The Huntsville CBS-affiliate announced today that Simpson, who currently serves as the morning meteorologist at ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, will become the station’s lead weathercaster.

“Jason is an exceptional broadcast meteorologist and has outstanding severe weather tracking skills,” WHNT president and general manager Stan Pylant said, in announcing the move.  “We had a tremendous amount of interest from a lot of qualified candidates from all over the country.  In the end, the right person was right here in our own backyard.”

Simpson replaces Dan Satterfield, who recently departed WHNT after 17 years as chief meteorologist to “explore new opportunities.” Read more

WBMA Meteorologist on Tornado Sirens: ‘The Time Has Come to Take Them Down’

In the aftermath of a tornado outbreak that killed more than 300 people this spring, veteran meteorologist James Spann is calling for an overhaul of the NWS tornado warning system — and a new commitment to weather coverage across local regions.

In a post on ABC 33/40‘s weather blog, Spann writes that tornado sirens, which have an 80-90 percent false alarm ratio, are outdated and overused. “Getting these kind of warnings over and over and over again totally create an ocean of people that won’t be paying attention when a real tornado emergency is in progress,” he writes. “The cry wolf syndrome is very real, and very dangerous.” Read more

Feel-Good Video of the Day, Tornado Edition

ABC 33/40 captured more than just frightening live images of severe weather this week, as a tornado system ripped through Alabama. They also uncovered this story (above) about a puppy that was discovered buried underneath rubble. Auh!

Meteorologist James Spann Attributes Success of Tornado Coverage to Volunteer Videographers

“If you can show a live tornado with a camera, there’s no doubt that people will react in a more urgent way,” said ABC 33/40 meteorologist James Spann, whose in-depth coverage of Alabama’s brutal tornadoes has been admired by newsers across the country this week.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Spann said that live video of the tornado system, much of it shot by volunteers, made the difference in ABC 33/40′s (WCFT-WJSU-WBMA) coverage. Here’s the Times:

Live video of tornado touchdowns is a relatively new phenomenon, one that has been made possible by extensive mobile access to the Internet. In Birmingham, WBMA recruits and trains volunteers to follow severe thunderstorms and act as spotters, complete with dashboard cameras linked via the Internet to the station.

“They’re just like an extension of what we do,” Spann said of the volunteer videographers.

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