Big blown call in Little Rock
By BroadCasting & Cable Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/11/2001 7:00:00 PM
Underreporting severe weather has its risks, too. A Little Rock, Ark., weekend weatherman was fired after telling viewers not to worry about tornado warnings on other stations and from emergency service sirens.
Shea Rial was first suspended, then lost his job at KTHV-TV , because of that late-February performance, which included an apology blaming the misreading on faulty equipment. But the station said that, although one of several machines used in weather forecasting was malfunctioning, there was more than enough other evidence to have properly reported the danger to the community, especially for a skilled meteorologist like Rial.
Mark Raines, news director at the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate, said it is station policy not to comment on personnel issues but the station "received a lot of calls from viewers who couldn't believe we dropped the ball. Neither could I. We take weather coverage very seriously here. This could have put someone's life in danger."
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