We’re currently in the heart of May sweeps. It’s the annoying time of the year when desperate reporters and even more desperate new directors stoop to the lowest of lows to bring in viewers. Most of the time, the stories they run are your typical over-sensationalized, fill in the blank, fear driven pieces, like “12 Hidden Dangers Found Inside Your Microwave,” “How To Tell If Your Teen Is Sexting the Sexual Predator Who Might Be Hiding In Your Attic Right Now,” and “Watch Amanda Taylor Annoy Some Country Musician.”
Occasionally, though, reporters go outside the typical box of fear, paranoia and shitty interviews and produce a story that’s so ridiculous that it just has to be watched. KFOR’s Lance West is one of those reporters, and his story on Channel 4 tonight looks like one of those reports. Here’s a preview sent to us by an Ogle Mole:
So far, the biggest development of this severe storm season has been a lack of actual severe storms. I know we’re just now entering May and anything can happen, but we still haven’t had a multi-vortex mega grinder tree debarker hit a small town or Moore. That’s good and everything, but if you dropped $4,000 for a storm shelter over the winter, you have to feel kind of ripped-off.
The second biggest development has been the arrival of KFOR’s new bionic storm chase Reed Timmer. Not only does the former reality show star and PhD candidate bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Mike Morgan’s weather team, but he also rolls around in the Dominator – a futuristic armored storm chasing machine complete with grounding spikes, unbreakable double-pained glass and probably a flux capacitor. Here’s a pic of the beast and its master:
The sudden arrival and emergence of Reed and has Dominator surprised everyone. This includes KWTV Channel 9. Now, in a “It’s so obvious it’s embarrassing” response, the OKC ratings leader is having a contest to help nickname David Payne’s storm chasing vehicle. They haven’t announced what the grand prize is, but if it doesn’t include playing catch with Gary England or a trip to the beach with Lacey Swope, I’ll be disappointed.
Anyway, because this is the type of stuff we do, I asked out contributor network (Tony, Spence, Marisa, Chelsea, Joel, Zeb, Chad, etc.) if they had any name suggestions. They did. Some are pretty good. Here are 18 of them:
1. XXXXtreeeme Mountain Dew Red Bull Storm Chaser HD 3000
From what I’ve heard, David Payne drinks a mixture of Red Bull, Mountain Dew and Dean Blevin’s Smart Ones for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He’s a dare-devil.
2. The Dominatrix
If they go with this, maybe we’ll finally get to see Lauren Nelson in leather.
3. The Overcompensator
This is probably the best possible name, but only because it’s true and accurate. Hell, it would be a great nickname for the Dominator, too.
There are some weird changes taking place at NewsOK.com.
We first noticed this back in February when the site turned into a poor man’s Huffington Post and began to share national news stories from across the web. Here’s the basic formula. NewsOK.com interns and editors find a clickable headline from a site like Gawker or TMZ, post the first paragraph of the story on NewsOK.com, and then give the old “Click here to read more” treatment. They don’t provide any additional information or commentary. It’s a shameless, cheap and very productive way to get a couple of extra page views per site visit and show additional ads. If you go to the site, you can see all the national stories stacked on the right sidebar.
The site is also in the midst of posting sprightly little columns from something called the “The Digital Desk.” They kind of remind me of the stories you’d see at BuzzFeed but probably not click on. That’s probably a good thing because the posts are kind of boring. Here are two recent examples. Make sure you drink some caffeine before trying to read them.
6 types of people you might have seen at Norman Music Festival: My favorite is Number 6. It shows a photograph of people taking cover from rain with the caption “People who would not let rain keep them from enjoying the festival.”
20 ways people responded to news of Russell Westbrook’s injury: I have no comment about this post. That’s how awful it is.
Now this is where things get creepy. When they’re not ripping off BuzzFeed, it looks like the Digital Desk is trying to stoop down to our level and write blog posts about Oklahoman weather and weathermen! This development has led to people asking me if we’re worried that OPUBCO is trying to force us to move to Enid or something.
The short answer is “No.” Here are four reasons why:
1. It’s hard to put a fledgling blog out of business.
2. OPUBCO doesn’t have the best track record when launching new web products or ideas. These are the same people who brought us Wimgo, Cardboard Mr. Know It and Steve Lackmeyer’s Google Hangouts. I think the only successful experiment NewsOK has launched is Beat Baldwin, and in all honesty, we don’t even know what that is! I bet Mike Baldwin is still confused by the thing.
3. The articles are, well, not that great. This one about 5 Types of Oklahomans and How They React to the Weather is okay, but when you have to begin a post with a disclaimer that “this is meant to be fun, and not meant to poke fun at the serious nature of severe weather in our state,” it instantly loses its, well, fun.
Then we have this thing. It’s a blog post by Managing Digital Editor Rob Hibbard. I’ll award three bonus points to anyone who can figure it out.
Yesterday afternoon, the NBA unveiled a new commercial featuring Russell Westbrook. It’s pretty cool. You should watch it here if you haven’t seen it.
This is where John Rohde stepped in.
Rohde, who apparently does not understand how the internet works, took offense that Royce would post a YouYube video on Daily Thunder without crediting The Oklahoman.
Yesterday, we published a post about the less than stellar debut of Channel 9’s new severe weather “Dream Team.” Apparently our critique resonated with a bunch of people. In just 24-hours, the post garnered over 12,000 pageviews and was liked more 700 times on Facebook.
Here are some snippets:
To say that Channel 9 had too many cooks in the kitchen would be an understatement. (Their coverage) was like watching a group of people have an argument on a reality show; there were lots of screamers, not enough listeners and you really wanted to change the channel…
There were several awkward moments where Gary tried to pull a CNN and use a gigantic touchscreen to show what was happening on radar. He couldn’t get the device figured out and was obviously frustrated. It was like watching your grandpa attempt to figure out an unfamiliar remote control and TV set-up…
The Channel 9 weather crew was supposed to be a Dream Team, but right now they’re looking like this season’s Lakers. They seem to be heavy on egos, but low on teamwork and chemistry. Let’s just hope they get everything figured out before Gary England tears his achilles. That would suck.
Despite the awkward and sometimes painful to watch storm coverage, Channel 9 did win the ratings war. We know this because their Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Rob Krier sent a rousing email to the station’s staff congratulating them for the “banner day” and “dominating in the ratings.”
Here it is:
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