Hurricane Irene: Orlando TV’s connection

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Former WESH anchor Tom Schaad (right) anchors storm coverage on WAVY-10 in Norfolk.

A couple of notes from a weekend of TV news dominated by Hurricane Irene…

HLN spent Saturday showing coverage from affiliate stations along the East Coast, including Norfolk’s WAVY-NBC 10. On the desk there was former WESH 2 anchor Tom Schaad — a veteran of Orlando’s hurricane-filled season of 2004.

Meanwhile on Sunday, WFTV News Director Bob Jordan — a man who doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind — was busy on Twitter critiquing the New York-centric, doom-and-gloom storm coverage. Some samples of his entertaining tweets:

  • Watching network coverage of the (marginal) hurricane. All I can say is, “Oh, the hyperbole.”
  • In 2004, 5 named storms hit FL. 3 of them (Charley, Frances & Jean) had winds in excess of 115MPH. Sorry NYC, your storm is puny.
  • Some of these network reporters (networks shall remain unnamed) look downright foolish.
  • ABC Reporter informs us that winds are about 20 miles per hour at his location. That’s no typo. TWENTY miles per hour.
  • GMA anchor open at 9A references “MONSTER hurricane.” This is not, has not been and will not be a Monster hurricane. It is a tropical storm.
  • WFTV had more boots on the ground covering the ’04 hurricanes than ABC News does covering this “monster hurricane.”
  • Not much evidence of social media on ABC this morning. They are behind the curve.
  • At 11AM, ABC graphics and copy still refer to Irene as a “hurricane.” This is beyond hype, this is deliberate misinformation.
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Roger Simmons has been blogging about Orlando television since 2001. You can email him at