Somewhere in grade school, I learned water freezes at 32 degrees. If the temperature outside is below 32 degrees, there is a good chance that if there is precipitation, it may be or become frozen.
How easy is that?
The people at television stations don’t think we are that smart.
As I wrote this, really cold weather was being forecast. I can predict if there is a snowflake or a frozen droplet of sleet between Macon and the North Carolina line, a live TV truck will be there to show it to us.
The newest toy in the TV station arsenal is a van with one camera mounted facing forward and another pointed at a TV reporter sitting in the back seat. The crews will drive until they find the elusive snowflake.
I love when they decide to drive the van around despite warnings from the transportation people that the roads are icing and dangerous. The rules don’t apply to the people in the action alive mobile Doppler snow-seeking van.
Every year, it gets cold. When it gets cold, you turn your furnace on. If it doesn’t work, you call somebody to fix it.
If the wait is a few days, you go down to the big-box store and buy a heater. Chances are, some man or woman from a TV station will interview you if you walk out with a box emblazoned with the word “heater” on it.
It is the same interview every year.
If you put the heater too close to your blanket, your draperies or something else in your house, you may catch your home on fire. If you think TV stations like snowflakes, they really like fires.
There is a blog about news coverage in Atlanta called “Live Apartment Fire.” An apartment fire is the holy grail of TV news coverage.
The other passion of a TV station is a dog. I believe if the moon landing took place today, they would cut away from a live shot from the moon to show something about a dog.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. If there is a triple-axe murder and police arrived and found three dead people and one live dog wandering around, the dog will become the story. Who will take care of the dog? Will he be put up for adoption? Don’t let us be bothered about the three victims; let’s focus on the dog.
Why do these things happen? Because they will generate viewers, and that’s the mother’s milk of the TV business.
Folks know water will freeze, pipes will burst, roads with ice and snow are slick, but we want to hear somebody on TV tell us again and again.
If there is the slightest hint of bad weather or a lonesome dog, you can expect the crew from one of the stations to be headed your way.
If the Doppler Super-duper radar has the first hint of some kind of adverse weather, they will interrupt programming to bring you flake-by-flake coverage.
OK, remember, water freezes at 32 degrees, put another log on the fire and take a nap.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.