Tag Archives: Lubbock

Why Allyson Left the News Biz and My Memories of a Duopoly

Another interesting article that touches on some of the challenges facing those who work in local news.  I can relate to a degree.

Texasize was two, two, two stations in one
Texasize was two, two, two stations in one

I miss being on the morning show terribly sometimes, but my job certainly changed when my CBS station entered into a “cooperative work agreement” with the ABC station in the market.  A duopoly before duopolies were cool!  This was the late 1990s.  Here is what my typical day looked like after the “merger.”

I would get in about 3:30 to work on weather graphics and go through scripts.  At around 5:15 I would record weather cut-ins.  At 5:30 I anchored the local CBS show until 6am.  Then I would walk across the newsroom, dump those scripts and pick up scripts for the local ABC show that I anchored from 6-7am (while my recorded weather cut-ins aired on CBS).  After the ABC show it was back into the CBS studio where I anchored 1/2 and 1/2 with the network including local interviews and what not from 7-8am.  From 8-9am I did the local weather cut-ins live during the CBS Morning News.  That all finished at 9am at which time I would rewrite some of my scripts and record three radio newscasts for our radio partners and ftp those to them.  9:30ish am it was time for lunch.  When I got back from lunch; about twice a week I would go with a photog or shoot my own feature story that would air in the evening news.  Sometimes I would fill in as anchor or weatherguy on the Noon.  Additionally I was the web site manager, so I would also be posting stories to our web site.  I also managed one other person who worked the evening shift updating the web and I trained reporters and producers on posting their scripts.

It was very hectic and of course no extra money for any of us for the extra work.  I tell you though, the experience was amazing!  Lots of reps doing lots of things equals a lot of experience in a short amount of time.  All of this was before the social media explosion.  I actually would have LOVED interacting with viewers on the morning show.  We were a fun loving bunch in the AM :-)

I do know that reporters and anchors these days are required to be on social media constantly while they are increasingly shooting their own stories and producing their own shows (respectively).  News shows are cheap to produce and launching a 4pm news (for example) adds local avails without having to hire more staff.  Just have the anchors anchor another show and have the reporters do a different version of their story.  Very attractive to GMs; meanwhile news staffs get stretched even thinner.

So, for the few of you still reading here is Allyson’s story who left the newspaper biz.  She was getting burnt out while staying broke.  What do y’all think?  Is part of the local news story the inability to pay and keep good people like Allyson?

Why I Left News, by Allyson Bird

Your Complete Annular Eclipse Viewing Guide

Happy Annular Eclipse viewing for my son in Albuquerque celebrating his birthday today!  Also for my Mom in Lubbock, Texas if they can keep the skies clear enough just before sunset.  Here are viewing times and tips from NASA and your friendly announcer dude:

Weather, Man!

Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?
Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?

Man do I love weather.  It has been a passion and an obsession since I can remember.  It truly is how God made me.  Of course I have a very strong political and “religious” bent too.  I joke that my favorite subjects to discuss are politics and religion and that’s why God gave me such a passion for weather.  So I can relate to people with without offending them.  :-)

My weather fascination started very early.  My folks tell me that I was always talking about it even as a very young child.  I have early memories of unusual weather events when I was a wee lad in Los Angeles.  Severe Thunderstorms one afternoon and ice in the puddles at school one morning.  I was born in L.A. but we moved to Oregon when I was 8.

Growing up in Oregon was great for a weather freak like me.  Numerous storms coming off the ocean and in the 70s that meant lots of surprises in the actual weather compared to the forecast.  Fluctuating snow levels in the Cascades, east winds into Portland combining with overrunning warm air bringing epic ice storms, but not to our house :-( and I could go on about the different weather phenomenon I got to witness first hand.

I had the TV weather down.  KOIN would have the weather on first so I would watch that.  Then I’d switch over to KGW and catch most of their forecast.  Then it was over to KATU to watch the tail end of their weather.  This was especially important on the rare nights when the snow level had a chance to come down to the Willamette Valley Floor.  I remember many a frustrating evening watching it rain while I would stare at the thermometer stuck at 36 degrees trying to will it to come down.

So obviously I was going to go to school to study Meteorology.  I had it all planned out.  Go to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and get a BS in Meteorology and minor in Communications.  They had a TV station on campus.  I had a great score on my ACT and was even accepted into their advanced math program.  I was set.  One big problem.  My drug problem.  I still had some growing up to do and I blew my chance to go to school.

KCBQ 1997ish
KCBQ 1997ish

The story doesn’t end there however!  I ended up moving to Roswell, NM a few years later.  At 21 years old I took what I could carry and bought a bus ticket and started re-pursuing my dream to be on Radio and TV.  Math and Science were always my favorite subjects in school so naturally I went into broadcasting.

I got a part time radio gig in the early Summer of 1984.  That turned into a full time radio gig.  First overnights and then evenings and then Music Director.  After two years I jumped over to TV as a Master Control Operator, directing news cut-ins and also voicing, shooting and editing commercials.  From there it was into the News Department at another station as a news photog, then a reporter who shot his own stuff and also backing up the weatherman and then finally the weatherman!

Adrienne & Mike in the Morning
Adrienne & Mike in the Morning

Lots of detail left out in the above story, but God helped make a way for me when I had messed up and didn’t choose the easier way.  After another 8 or 9 years on the morning show in Lubbock, Texas as a weatherman, news anchor and feature reporter my life took another turn.  Through it all I have never ever never stopped loving and studying the weather.

Now here I am in Tucson, Arizona.  I have a web site and morning weather web show dedicated to my weather passion.  I just can’t help but share whether the audience is big or small.  When you have a chance, check out the site.  TucsonWeather.us and tune in to “Coffee and a Forecast” every morning (yes, weekends too) at 5:50 Tucson time for the live recording.  Or you can just catch up with it later when I post it on the site and in the Facebook group Tucson Weather.

Whether it is mud in the Pacific Northwest, Baseball sized hail in Lubbock, or Monsoon storms with amazing lightning in Tucson, I love weather.  I especially love snow and cold!  But that is another blog entry (or two).

Of course I have other passions and other web sites that support those.  There is also a lot of detail left out of the above story.  All fodder for future blog entries.  I better post this and get to work.  “Coffee and a Forecast” airs in less then an hour. :-)

So, you want to be in TV News

Hilarious video a couple of my friends posted on Facebook.  The lure of bright lights and adoring fans draw so many to the business, but it’s in the trenches of busted equipment, long hours, working every holiday, annoying consultants and small towns that separate those that are truly talented, and driven (and few that are clueless but strikingly beautiful) from the those that thought it was gonna be all fun and flowers.

After you hang in for awhile and make it to a big market (or stay in a smaller one) then you can make a decent living and have folks stop you in the store asking you when it’s going to rain.

Hahaha! I remember getting so embarrassed when my gear would break down while interviewing a Congressman. Or working several Christmas’ in a row. I was poor, but I had a dream and I worked through it. I finally had a house and a nice contract and THEN I left. What is wrong with me?

Don’t answer that!

One Reason I Left TV

Morning Show was Fun
Morning Show was Fun

It left me.

There are many reasons why I left, but a Newsbusters story this morning reminded of something that used to really bug me.

I used to anchor the morning news on two stations in Lubbock, Texas.  CBS13 from 5:30-6:00.  ABC28 from 6:00 – 7:00.  Back on CBS for news 7:00-8:00 and then weather cut-ins on CBS from 8:00-9:00.  Yeah, it was busy.

Occasionally, our producer would want some time off and some of those times, I would come in at Midnight and produce my own shows.  Part of that process is pulling down news stories (packages as they are called) from the various satellite feeds from the networks.  It used to bug me to no end how hard it was to find down the middle reporting.  I trusted many of our local reporters to give an honest look at both sides more than I did the supposed leaders of our industry!

Being a watcher of the news these days, and also an unapologetic conservative reporter in the “new media,” I can tell you that yes, it has gotten worse.  It seems like when the networks crowned Barack Obama as President the veil was lifted.  Network news isn’t unbiased reporting any more, rather it’s reporting with a liberal slant in much the same way that this blog and my videos are reporting with a conservative one.  I don’t mind so much that ABCBSNBC are liberal, except they try to pretend that they are fair!

So here’s the story from Newsbusters.  Seems the by a margin of 12:1, ABC, CBS and NBC have been reporting negatively on the new immigration law in Arizona.  No kidding (sarcasm).  Translation?  They are lying to the American people.  Propaganda even.  No wonder their ratings are down.  Americans are around 60% in favor of this law, and that’s even while they are bombarded by lies!  Honest reporting on the facts of the bill might even put a damper on some of the violent protests against the bill.  It couldn’t hurt anyway.  Certainly good journalism requires telling the truth.  Right?

Thank God that the term “media” is plural.  There are all sides being discussed on various mediums.  The TV networks used to do a better job of balancing themselves out.  Now we consumers of news have to turn to a variety of sources.

I don’t miss being on TV so much… well, maybe weather anchoring.  Maybe that’s why I started TucsonWeather.us.  See ya there!

Guaranteed White Christmas

Overton Hotel in Lubbock, Looking West
Overton Hotel in Lubbock, Looking West

Thanx to the internets!  There is a Christmas Blizzard brewing right now pretty much over Lubbock, Texas’ head.  The storm started as rain in California, but brought snow to some areas south of Tucson.  The storm sank further southward than originally expected and the forecast for Lubbock changed from rain and some snow to some rain and more snow!  Right now the Hub City is covered with about 6″ and it’s coming down sideways.  The 7am observation at LBB is:  “Snow, Freezing Fog, Blowing Snow and Windy, 26.”  I’m jealous, especially since I should have been there had I had a few extra $$s.  Thankfully, there is the internets.

This gathering storm is now plowing east.  The kids and grandkids north of Dallas are under a Winter Storm Warning and they could see rain changing to snow by this afternoon and maybe an inch or three just in time for Christmas!

Add this snow to what is already on the ground and a large chuck of the U.S. is fixin’ ta have a White Christmas.  If you aren’t, then just surf some web cams, put on some Bing Crosby and dare to dream!

Snow Cover early AM the 24th.

New Mexico/Texas Storm Now…

Last year on Mt. Lemmon
Last year on Mt. Lemmon

The storm that left 5″ of snow on Mt. Lemmon and even a dusting on Tombstone has now moved into Far West Texas.  El Paso has had a couple of inches of snow from the storm as the vigorous upper level low combines with more moisture and some cooler air.  The Sun isn’t quite up yet in El Paso, but here are some web cams to check this morning before it all melts.  The roads look wet, so the snow has marginal sticking power in El Paso even though they do have a Winter Storm Warning.

Meanwhile in Roswell, NM (my old stomping grounds) it’s snowing right now with a Winter Weather Advisory in effect.  They are expecting “Generally 2-4″ of snow..”  Here’s a nice web cam on the Pecos River in Carlsbad, NM with which to watch the snow coming down.

Lubbock, where I also lived for years, is expecting 1-3″ of snow with some sleet and rain mixed in today.  Yes, I am jealous!

The good news is (for snow lovers like me) El Nino Winters are generally cooler and snowier for places like Roswell, Lubbock, El Paso and even Tucson.  We’re just getting warmed up… er started.

Update 6:24 a.m. MST: The El Paso cams I have linked are somewhat of a bust with images from last night that aren’t updating.  However, the Carlsbad “Brad Light’s Cam” camera is GREAT!  Here’s a shot I just captured.  Snow in Carlsbad!

Snow Day in Carlsbad, NM!
Snow Day in Carlsbad, NM!

Update 6:42 a.m. MST: Here is a link to webcams in Midland, Odessa, Notrees and Hobbs.  Snow in Hobbs and a dusting in Notrees.  Also, a friend of mine on Facebook, Jessica Armstrong, says it has started to snow in Lubbock near 50th and Quaker.

Update 8:07 a.m. MST:  Snow sticking in Lubbock.  Courtesy KCBD First Alert DigitalTower Cam:

Grassy areas and roofs right now
Grassy areas and roofs right now

Texassize Weather

Keith Monday tells me this picture is 1999ish.  That fits about right.  This is the combined ABC28 and CBS13 (Texassize) weather team at the time.  Good times!

Keep it here.  We'll keep you advised.
Keep it here. We'll keep you advised.

Matt Hines, Matt Miller, Keith Monday, Ron Roberts, Mike Shaw and David Young.  There are a few folks here I don’t remember their names.  My apologies.  I’m not good with names.  I really need to work on that.