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Snowpocalypse TV coverage: too much, too little, or just right?

"We are not under enemy attack...we are having a snowstorm, we really need constant coverage of it on commercial TV?" one TV Column fan writes to us in re Snowpocalypse 2010 Day 6.

"I want my real news reports.. I'm sick of cute dogs in the snow, bent trees, whiteout views of the Capitol, joggers, unidentified roadways, etc.," adds the reader, who says the local TV stations' coverage is "unnecessarily constant-- even depressing" and wonders how the rest of you feel about it.

So how do you feel about all the coverage, anyway?

NOTE: At posting time, Washington's local ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox stations are all still covering Snowpocalypse 2010 nonstop...WJLA says they will re-air afternoon soap operas starting at 1 a.m. Thursday. NewsChannel 8 is carrying the same feed as WJLA...WTTG and WJLA are both covering the snowball fight in Dupont Circle. Oh and our local CW station, WDCW, is now showing another episode of "The Tyra Show," and our local MyNetworkTV station, WDCA has "The Wendy Williams Show."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 10, 2010; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  Summer TV Press Tour 2007 , TV News  
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Total overkill. I am sick of listening to the local channels yammer on and on about the weather, are they really that obtuse or do they think we are......?

I am so disgusted with them all that I am swearing off local tv. I just turned it off and watched a movie.....thank goodness for Netflix!

Posted by: doubled641 | February 10, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

We have to remember, the news coverage isn't meant for someone to sit and watch all day. It is so that you can click on the news watch for a few minutes and get all the info you need.

Posted by: barbnc | February 10, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm reminded of a very old Saturday Night Live Bit from one of the earliest seasons. The media had been reporting for weeks on the illness of Francisco Franco. Finally Franco died, and on the following Saturday's Weekend Update, Chevy Chase reported "Our top story tonight: Francisco Franco is still dead."

Well, it's still snowing, and it's still getting deeper and it's still causing problems around the metro area. This kind of overkill probably makes people think we're wusses where snow is concerned.

Posted by: jlhare1 | February 10, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with the comment about pictures of dogs in the snow. Totally! Give them the hook?

Posted by: rryder1 | February 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm from a transplant from the snowy north and can attest to this being a real storm hitting a large metro area. Of course full coverage is appropriate. So many people here have no clue what to do in big snowstorms. If the media wasn't emphasizing the severity of the storm, you'd be amazed at how many more people would trying to go on a beer/ chips/ etc run via car or walking down the middle of the road in a whiteout. Many seem to think its best to drive fast so they're off the road quicker. Snow-related common sense back home isn't indigenous here; there really is great need to remind people what not do and offer tips. Sorry, rest of the country, but the local area needs extra coverage this week.

Posted by: cozybirch | February 10, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

When the local TV news starts getting on your nerves, just pop "Anchorman" into the DVD player.

Posted by: howellb1 | February 10, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

This is the snow event of the century for the area for heavens sakes. TV coverage has been excellent. Sure, sometime tedious and how many hilarious efforts at snow shoveling can you watch before concluding we're a region full of either idiots or creativity, depending on your point of view. Complain about over coverage of sex scandals and murder cases but not of weather events that affect the whole region. It's dangerous out there. Of course, next winter when we revert to panicking over two inch storms and once again be labeled wimpy but this week we are just overwhelmed. Sure it's not the Apocalpse but it is awesome. Even double awesome. We have spring TV flood coverage to look forward to.

Posted by: interactingdc | February 10, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I thought that one of the benefits of going digital is that stations have multiple feeds - why not shunt regular network programming onto 4.1 / 7.1 / 9.2 on the digital dial (or vice versa)? That way folks who want wall to wall coverage can tune in, but those who are interested in national/international news and other programming can still hear from outside the beltway.

Posted by: sciencegrrl | February 10, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

For those of us who left the wintery environs of DC for warmer climes it's kind of nice to see the coverage of our old haunts and remember the "fun" of going through the latest major snow storm. While it may seem overkill on the local level, getting a chance to see video (Snow fight at Dupont!!) and hundreds of pictures from our nation's capital is worth seeing from a national scale. Hang in there; I'm sure you/we will be back to the normal diet of murder and mayhem on the local news shows shortly.

Posted by: maxtex | February 10, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

BORING! I'd like to have been able to see the NYC broadcast of the Today Show or The Early Show, get some new recipes, advice, fashion updates. Nonstop narrative about the snow we could easily see out our windows makes for cabin fever. Give those announcers the day off--back to regular programming with a few minute update on the half hours.

Posted by: commonsense101 | February 10, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more. The coverage is repetitive and ridiculous! Let the Capitol Weather gang update us once every few hours, flash emergency announcements like highway closings at the bottom of the screen and stop with all the separate listing of school closings, just change it to "Everything is Closed. Forever." Then put on regular programming, or throw on some classic movies, perhaps with a beach theme! Ratings GOLD!

Posted by: arlingtonteacher | February 10, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

it's too much and completely unnecessary. Yes, the snow is creating some emergency situations. however, the advice they are giving ad nausem could easily be done in 5 minutes between shows. Nonstop coverage of some idiot newscaster standing the mess telling you not to go outside is stupid. A waste of time and money. And, creates a sense of urgency and doom that is not real. I would much rather have the chance to use this rare opportunity of being home on a weekday to watch some of my favorite weekday shows that i never get to see.

Posted by: kcox3 | February 10, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

While I agree that updates and survival information are important, especially for so many snow virgins, the news coverage is so beyond that. How many cute dogs, frozen reporters and "oh, look a snow plow" shots do we need? People need entertainment, they need something to take their minds off the cold and wind. They need something new to talk about with their trapped families. They could do updates every 2 hours and I am betting that would be enough. I also wonder where the alternative digital stations are on Comcast. (I am a digital subscriber) I tried to find the one ABC7 noted on their website and got a message it was only for HD! So, I just turned off the endless news. I am betting a lot of people did the same thing. Thank heavens for Red Box and Netflix and DVD home collections!

Posted by: lostein | February 10, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

There's a very good reason these people are only local leftist water carriers, and not national leftist water carriers. They have no talent. Thank God for the remote..

Posted by: wewintheylose | February 10, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey yea it was a bit overkill. I dont get to stay home during the day often and I was looking forward to watching Ellen Degeneres..MAYBE some Oprah..but NOOOOOOOO all of you media hounds stayed on non-stop...interviewed people carrying pizzas..dogs..some snowball fights...talked about your donuts waiting at the just goes on and on and on...ENOUGH! UGH!

Posted by: IGotLotsToSay | February 10, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I mean with all of us stranded in the snow and having nothing else to do but watch tv, the last thing we want to see is pictures of more snow.

Posted by: arlingtonliberal | February 10, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I think you people need to get a grip. Let's have a reality check on what exactly was pre-empted here: Daytime TV. "If only I had my stories and Jerry Springer, today would have been a non-stop fun-fest of entertainment gold!" Yeah, right. Daytime TV is designed to be horrible, so people go out and get jobs.

I also have to assume all the people complaining don't have cable...or a DVD collection...or a game system...or a computer...or--God forbid!--a book. I mean, if you have nothing better to do than complain about wall-to-wall storm coverage on the local channels, STFU and just be glad you have electricity.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | February 10, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Well, it is good to lull one to sleep on a wintry afternoon. If this was the first time snow had ever fallen in the history of this region, I would expect and hope for the kind of coverage they been giving. Since it isn't, it's way too much and way too repetitive. To my way of thinking, they could cover the storm during their normal newshours, break-in to regular programming for major new developments, and have a running band of closings at the bottom of the screen.

Posted by: catlady6 | February 10, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

It's the thing that is affecting everyone. Why wouldn't it be *the* big story?

I think it's quite refreshing for the lead story to be something that has nothing to do with politics (well at least nothing rational to do with it).

Posted by: afpre42 | February 10, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

ComfortablyDumb took the words right out of my mouth. Daytime TV is typical awful. I've been sucked into the coverage but there are plenty of other TV/Entertainment options. I'm sure Prime Time TV won't be preempted.

Posted by: ShawnDC | February 10, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit biased. I don't like weekday tv so live news all day works for me (even if it blows).

Posted by: richs91 | February 10, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

The History Channel isn't showing annoying joggers and cute dogs.

Posted by: tristesse27 | February 10, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I think it's totally appropriate. Most people are outside shoveling and doing other things and want to come inside and get an instant update. Just because coverage is on all day doesn't mean someone has to sit and watch all day. I think it's important as this is a huge storm, with dangerous implications for some. If you don't want to watch it, there's like a zillion other channels on TV!

Posted by: luvtheskins428 | February 10, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

For God's sake there are 200 other channels on your tv. If you don't like to watch 24 hour coverage turn to another channel and maybe you will actually learn something.

Posted by: MKadyman | February 10, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

To all of you who think there is too much coverage of the snow storms on local television...pool your money and start your own TV station...then you can run whatever programming you choose to. Or, you could pony up far less money and get connected to cable TV. Or you could read a book to pass the time and just look out the window once in a while to get a glimpse of the weather.

Posted by: LouisianaVirginian | February 10, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I was always under the mindset that if you didn't like a show or event on TV, you don't watch it. This IS the snowiest winter in the history of the area but even with that being the case, they'd still talk like they have if there were 5 inches of snow. Nonetheless, as others have said it's necessary to have the snow coverage on TV all day for those who don't sit in front of the TV all day. Again, you don't like it or think it's too much, do something else.

Posted by: CBartnek1 | February 10, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

There was entirely too much coverage. There was no need for 10-12hrs straight non-stop coverage. I don't care how bad some may think daytime tv is, there are fans of the variety of daytime programming that comes on. If they had to, 10 mins at the top of every hour would have been sufficient in updating us on the important issues of this storm. But after going through what we went through on Saturday, I'm sure plenty of people got the gist of how strong this storm was and acted accordingly. There is only so much you can tell matter what there will always be those that want to go jogging, driving or whatever in the middle of a blizzard. They are not preventing that with non-stop coverage.

However, IF they must have non-stop coverage, I would have liked to have the option of not just watching basic cable, or coverage that's not just about snow. I requested of Directv today to make their national feeds of the networks available for one day, but was told that they needed a waiver from the local affiliates to do so. So, I would hope that the local news channels would offer that option to viewers that complain to them, and I know they did due to all the explanations given on air by channels like WJLA as to why their daytime programming wasn't on. If we had the option of whether we wanted to watch their all-day coverage or something else on the network, there wouldn't be the need for articles like this. Both sides of the spectrum would get what they want.

For the record, I stopped watching the nets at around 9am and hung out on the internet. Now, it still hasn't stopped snowing here in Annapolis area, but the news just went off. Go figure.

Posted by: cadence00 | February 10, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only person who has a VERIZON FIOS remote that can CHANGE CHANNELS?

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | February 10, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, I mean with all of us stranded in the snow and having nothing else to do but watch tv, the last thing we want to see is pictures of more snow."

Absolutely! If they'd leave out all the filler about dogs and "gee, look at this street" -- repeated ad nauseum -- it would be okay. But, nooooo ....

Posted by: SilverSpringer1 | February 10, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

ComfortablyDumb wrote:
>>> "Daytime TV is designed to be horrible, so people go out and get jobs."

That may be the single most intelligent thing ever posted on the WashPo forums.

Posted by: PDiddy | February 10, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree...what I don't understand is why WJLA needs to have the same news coverage on channel 7 and sister channel News Channel 8...why not just put it on Channel 8 and let regular programming continue on channel 7?

What really made me angry today is when the WJLA news anchors this afternoon were talking about how Cnee Simpson was interviewed on Regis and Kelly, but guess what WJLA we couldn't see it because you BLOCKED it with your constant news coverage!!

Ugh...I've had enough of all those anchors...I like the news, but this is overkill!

Posted by: smart_cookie2 | February 10, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Warranted coverage, absolutely. This series of storms has broken records over a century old, and we have a LOT of overconfident idiots around here with big trucks and/or lazy people who don't have any sense of civic responsiblity. The more the local news emphasizes the situation the better off we all are.

Do you really need to watch repeats of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'? Because TBS has them too.

Posted by: SupremeWu | February 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice to have a respite from storm coverage. We all know it's snowing and conditions are vile. I miss Judge Judy!

Posted by: ejay13 | February 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

If only my cable was working, I could have an opinion - it's been out since Friday, and Comcast doesn't have a clue as to when it'll be fixed. And their on-line responses are from someone who clearly doesn't have any idea it has even been snowing here! Maybe the customer service folks at Comcast should watch the snow coverage.

Posted by: my-thoughts | February 10, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

As one who is always critical of made-up sensationalism on tv news, I have no problem with this coverage. Outside of 9-11, there may not be a bigger local "impact" story than this six days of hell.

Besides, there are 572 other stations to watch...!

If you don't like the giggling insipis anchor on Channel 7, switch the channel.

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | February 10, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

It's odd that the pop media isn't talking too much about how all this extreme weather is really being caused by "carbon forcing" from an increase of 0.010% of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere over the past century which is causing catastrophic global warming to occur.
I've got a nice bridge in New York you might be interested in buying, too!

Posted by: Doowadiddy | February 10, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

WAY TOO MUCH. Can't thye just use your regular news time to cover? I mean, we do KNOW ALREADY that it's SNOWING OUTSIDE. There was absolutely NO regular programming on the major networks all day!
Makes the cabin fever worse!

Posted by: shes_cleva | February 10, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I've had it on Channel 9 all day! Great fun. Much more interesting than other stuff...if I want anything else, I can change the channel!

Posted by: hlef | February 10, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't going to pile on, but this has gotten to totally absurd proportions. Was nothing at all happening in the outside DC world the last several days? We wouldn't know about it if it did. But we sure do know, ad nauseum, about the snow. Like we don't know it's here. Enough already! And yes, I have availed myself of my DVR, and my 230 or so other channels. But there IS programming on local channels I would like to watch if the TV personalities would just SHUT THE HECK UP!!! PLEASE! For God's sake PLEASE! Enough already.

Posted by: pnoell | February 10, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: 4thFloor | February 10, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I do not think the coverage is overkill.

For those who don't want to see the snow-news coverage, turn on another channnel. Stop whinining and acting like you don't have options.

Also, I think it's selfish to think that just because YOU are sick of hearing about the snow situation that means others should be deprived of such news.

A lot of the information is valuable news, I'll admit, a bit of it is fluff. So what.

Posted by: twilson66 | February 10, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Post! They're providing a public service! They're like WTOP radio. Providing updates, so that any time you turn on the TV you have the latest information. I don't think it's overkill. If you don't like it change the channel. Pretty simple, huh!

Posted by: rusty6 | February 10, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I have just been thankful to have electricity so I could turn on the television! This is an extraordinary weather event for this region; the coverage has been excellent. Thanks to all the local stations that have been doing the play-by-play. I know they're all exhausted and looking forward to the end of it, too!

Posted by: hueylewis | February 10, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Anything is better than "Ellen."

Posted by: gjjg4dgd | February 10, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Anything is better than "Ellen."

Posted by: gjjg4dgd | February 10, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I think what got to me the most were the constant warnings not to drive unless it's an emergency followed by some reporter driving while using Skype to show us how road conditions were. I guess the advice was for everybody but them. Hmmm... I wonder if use of Skype is as dangerous as driving while texting.

Posted by: donoterp | February 10, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

So we moved here from the UK a few months ago and it's reassuring that DC is just as hopeless as London when it comes to dealing with snow. However, I found the TV coverage to be very useful - yes it was wall to wall but I'm sure that it brought home to everyone how dangerous and futile it would be to venture onto the roads. Respect to all those guys driving snow ploughs and diggers around the clock doing their best to dig us out.

Posted by: itsjustnotcricket | February 10, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

The full-time coverage was an excellent, necessary public service. No one has to watch all day. There is an "on-off" option. You may also turn to another channel or watch a DVD. Considering first-responders are hindered by the weather, hospitals need help getting employees to work & those requiring vital health-care are shut inside: this is a public emergency! Thank you to our local stations. Hint: If you are young, healthy & bored, please organize a snowball fight.

Posted by: jadams4 | February 10, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Overkill? Couldn't tell. Between reading for classes and shoveling driveways/sidewalks so the neighbors who walk by the house could keep it movin', I haven't had to look at the television for more than a few minutes a day.

Nor have I missed watching. What would the newscasters say this time that they haven't said any other time a snowstorm hits the region? A rush on grocery and hardware stores? Cancelled flights and trains? Problems with Metro, snow removal, and impromptu snowball fights? Nah, been there, done that, got the t-shirt, thank you very much.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | February 10, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Overkill. If I were getting pertinent information I would appreciate the coverage, but I'm not. I'm getting Pat Collins eating a sandwich and on repeat how dangerous it is to drive/walk in this weather directly followed by a list of the places that are open in case you want to walk or drive in this weather. Forget about bogarting just day-time TV they've got the evenings too. And for someone who catches whatever comes over the airwaves, this is not helping with the cabin fever.

Posted by: jams3 | February 10, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

jams3, you hit it right on the head! Well done! Pat Collins can suck it!

Posted by: fdwkr43 | February 11, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what you all even expect to see on television anyway - it's not like it's usually that great. In fact one of the legitimate functions of mainstream media is to act as a conduit for government updates during severe weather.

Posted by: fleeciewool | February 11, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I seem to recall that we all had to switch to digital TV or get a converter box so they would have all those additional channels for emergency communications--so why not use THEM for the non-stop coverage?

and to all those who on their high horses say just switch channels, guess what, there are still folks around who are disabled and low-income and have only "regular TV"--they can't switch to cable. Those folks, like a close friend of mine, don't have choices, and that "crappy daytime TV" is one of their only sources of entertainment. they can't shovel out. they can't afford cable.

I wish more people in this area would stop assuming that EVERYONE is as well-off and technologically connected as they are. Your superior air is disgusting. comfortablydumb is just the right username for most of you.

Posted by: cr1957ny | February 11, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

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