We Survived the Weather Yet Again, Ursula Proves She’s Ready for Prime Time, and We’re Back on for The BIG Digital Switchover

I for one was glad to see the bulk of the winter nastiness pass to the north of us.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love to see some snow but ice is always bad news and it proved to be yet again.  As some of the faithful readers of this blog know, most of my family (brothers and sisters and mother) reside in extreme Western Kentucky in that area known as the Jackson Purchase.  Well, it turns out that the largest city in that area (Paducah) was Ground Zero for storm damage.  Paducah by the way is the largest town between Monkey’s Eyebrow and Possum Trot.  And yes, both of those communities can be found on a map of Kentucky.  The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore was doing satellite shots from Paducah before the weather hit and was there for two full days.  In fact, having Jim Cantore show up in your town is a lot like having Mike Wallace (in his prime) show up on your doorstep.  It’s just bad news somehow, someway.   My younger brother is an electric lineman for a rural electric co-op and he said while the damage could have been worse, his company placed an order for FIVE THOUSAND utility poles to replace those that had snapped off at the ground.  And that doesn’t cover ALL of Western Kentucky, just about a fourth of it.  He also tells me that even if his group gets all the power lines back up, there is no electricity because the lines from the Tennessee Valley Authority are down.  He says it may be three weeks for some people to get their electrical service restored.  Yes, I know, other areas in Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri and up through the Ohio River Valley got slammed but so far I haven’t talked to anybody other than family members so I can’t relate other tales of woe.  Yes, the Memphis area dodged the bullet and I’m quite proud of that.

Got a note a couple of days ago that Ursula Madden is the new co-anchor of the WMC evening news, taking over the chair after Donna Davis was given the boot.  I’ve only had the chance once to meet Ms. UM and that was when she interviewed me as part of a story she was working on concerning the Pyramid arena.  She struck me as a very pleasant person.  I’ve watched her on-air work off and on over the years and she has a good presence.  I think she will be a good evening side fit for WMC.  Also, I think she will find the evening working hours a lot more enjoyable than the early morning wake-calls that she mentioned in the newspaper Thursday.

It seems that the on-again, off-again switch from analog to digital is ON again for good.  I read that Congress decided NOT to delay the switch as some had hoped.  I say some because I think most broadcasters are ready to pull the plug on analog.  Plus, I was told that for the first time in my memory the TV stations won’t have a February book.  This is due to the switchover to digital which theoretically would skew the numbers. At least that’s what one reliable source told me.  Perhaps The GM will weigh in on this with clarification. That means for the first time staffers in newsrooms can take vacation time during February.  That is if anyone can afford to take a vacation.

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7 Comments on “We Survived the Weather Yet Again, Ursula Proves She’s Ready for Prime Time, and We’re Back on for The BIG Digital Switchover”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    All stations are having their Feb book in March because of the DTV switch.

  2. The GM Says:

    Correct, the Feb book is in March.

    The delay will resurface. Stations like mine will have unbudgeted utility costs in addition to running the risk of failures with analog transmitters. For example, many stations have not ordered back-up tubes for their analog transmitters because the Feb 17 date was within the life of the current tubes. Move that date out six months and the tubes may be just fine, or they may fail. If they fail, that’s about $35k just for a tube.

    Those viewers who are not prepared for the switch won’t be prepared in six months. We’ve spent countless hours and dollars informing folks. This is just another example of the Congress being smarter than the rest of us. I’m sure $650 million for additional converter boxes will make all the difference in the world.

    The GM

  3. JD Says:

    Hi Joe!
    A sidebar not necessarily for publication, but Robert Anderton died. I hope you and the Missus got a chance to go in his place and enjoy some atmosphere and fine dining. This was one of those places that really knew how to take care of the customer and make them happy. Many of the kids used to go there to learn how to bartend and be the perfect waitress or waiter. If he got mad at you, it was like having a teacher mad at you. Just for the second and then forgotten. He wanted you to do your best…..”for his customers and then his business. Keep them in that order and we will stay open!”
    Not many places like that anymore.

    For the GM………..I wish the media had the attitude of Henry Slavick, Harold Krelstein and Gordon Lawhead or even Hoyt Wooten! The viewer down the block meant more than New York! Same goes for local corporate restaurants. Is it the case of the bottom line again?

  4. Lew Says:

    We’re on day 5 of no power in Fulton County, KY. I heard some people in Far Western Kentucky will not have electricity for up to 30 days. I guess it’s too much to ask for ice storms to hit in the summer, when it’s warmer! I did see some MLGW trucks in town yesterday, along with crews from other cities. Hopefully they can speed up the process. It’s a mess though!!

  5. joelarkins Says:

    Friday afternoon I received a call from my niece who now lives in Memphis. It seems she finally located two large (13 thousand watts) but still portable generators. Both her Dad and her grandmother who live in the far western Kentucky towns of Cunningham and Bardwell respectively have been told it could be another 30 days before power is restored as they actually live several miles from a populated area. While waiting for the generators to be off-loaded from an 18 wheeler I chatted with a couple of the folks. One guy buying a generator was taking it Mountain Home, AR while two more were headed for the Steele, MO. area. Anything business closer to them was sold out. What we found as frustrating was that while we could get our hands on the generator, we were NOT able to get out hands on the things such as the special 220/240 watt connectors that would plug into the generators and then feed out to power large systems. They were no where to be found at the many places we called. It is indeed a mess in some parts of the country. As I’ve said before, I love to see snow, but ice is never nice.

  6. Former Fox 13'er Says:

    Funny Ursula story,
    As you can see by my screen name, I used to work for Fox 13. One day, we were out in the Cooper Young area knocking on doors to get interviews (MOS’s) about a break in, or something to that effect. We were having no luck. We would look for houses where someone was home, knocked on one door, and out comes Ursula:) We happened to randomly find her house. Needless to say, she didn’t comment.

  7. JD Says:

    Here ya go Joe….a suspicious hamster to lighten your day….

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