Play Me A Song


When I was in college I walked into the department office one morning and the secretary was having a particularly frustrating morning.  I was a DJ at one of the radio stations in town at the time and when she saw me coming she decided I needed to hear about her problem.

Now, understand this was 100 years ago before the iPod and satellite radio, and other than cassettes (I’m not 8-track old) local radio was your only option.  The secretary was a perfectly average, perfectly wonderful and lovely woman.  “I was so frustrated driving in to work this morning!  Every station was yak, yak, yak.”  Then, making a motion as though she was pushing radio buttons, she said, “Just play me a song!”

As the noise continues to increase, try and remember there are a lot of perfectly average, perfectly wonderful, perfectly lovely people who just want to know if it is going to rain.  If you play them their song, they won’t push the button.


About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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8 Responses to Play Me A Song

  1. Jim says:

    Kevin, I am not a meteorologist and don’t dare pretend to be one, I’m just a weather watcher.
    I have taken a few Weather Spotter Classes, put on by the local NWS Office. My friends and family know I keep up with the weather and in spite of all my trying to point them to the right (official) sources of weather information, they look to me when it gets nasty. Black clouds and rumors get going some days and I get calls- “what’s this weather gonna do?” I know they listened to the forecast that morning. But either they did not understand it or the forecast did not include what they were observing.
    They aren’t hearing updates often enough. They are pushing buttons looking for what they want to hear (or calling me or their version of a me somewhere) they can’t wait on the Weatherman that’s telling them to tune in at 5,7 and 10 to find out what the weather is going to be like.
    This is the Information Age. People want what they want NOW, not 30 minutes or an hour from now. They have their music in their phone, earbuds in playing that song. If you don’t have it when they click on you, poof, on to the next stop. Or they are calling someone like me.

    I’ve said enough, too much perhaps.
    Oh, by the way, I am 8-track kinda old.


  2. Kevin Selle says:

    Right on the money, Jim. One of the things that I have realized is that we can’t ever know when or why a user is going to want of need weather information, which is why I believe that fresh non-automated data is a good next step. Thanks for the reply!

    • Jim says:

      Think of the number of folks you see out working, or playing for that matter, outdoors. Car sales people, utility crews, law enforcement, construction workers, painters, lawn care and on and on. These people have a NEED to know whats coming in the next 30 minutes, the next 3 hours. They may have a job to do that will be impacted by the weather in that time frame, so do they start or not, wait an hour or 2?

      Someone has got to give them something to go on. My brother called me last week- “Jim, what’s this rain in the area going to do, is it headed up near the power plant at the lake?”
      He had a painting job to do and would rather not get setup to do it if the rain was going to hit. I looked at GRLevel3 radar and knowing his location, told him to go ahead with it, he would be in the clear. I get the same calls from friends at car lots, and friends that just want to know what I think about the weather situation.

      So, is that type of personal conversation with your viewers what you need? Would it be too much. How exactly do you get relevant info for the next 30 min to 3hrs out there?
      My first thought is ONLINE Streaming. What would it take to provide that based on YOUR market? The on duty MET and a couple of interns? Dollars are tight- I KNOW.
      How would you do this? Does the on duty Met make a 5 minute (more or less) video, post it on the site or make it available from an APP. It does not even have to be produced with the high dollar pro equipment used in regular station productions, after all, the viewers are watching on a 4in. screen.
      Does it even have to be video? What they will be HEARING is more important than seeing the stitching in your Coat and Tie…right? Don’t let that coat and tie biz get in the way. I want a weatherman that looks like he ain’t scared to get out in it.

  3. Kevin Selle says:

    You got to the head of the class, Jim. Right on the money again. It seems like the local TV stations are the ones that need to execute this, they have the staff in place. Getting them to do it…and more importantly…getting management behind it is a big hurdle. Thanks!

  4. Jim says:

    Well, here’s the thing. Where I live there is no local TV station. The radio stations use canned weather from who knows where. There are opportunities for individuals to serve markets, large and small, WITHOUT the tv stations. This is why broadband is in the state of limbo it’s in. You and I know that the powers that be want it on one hand and don’t want it on the other. There is a lot going on behind the scenes to keep just the right balance so that the ones in control of media keep it.
    Hypothetical case: IF, a big IF, highspeed fiber optic based internet served every home, every business, even in the rural areas like where I live, look at the content that could be created and broadcast by anyone. That’s scary to those who control media and the content we create and consume. If I had that high speed internet here, I could create loads of content, weather, how-to’s, and on and on while sitting here looking at the chickens out in the yard and the sounds of the horses running in the pasture filled the air. I could serve my community actually 2 or 3 nearby communities with relevant weather info that the TV station 30 miles away will NOT. And it would not have to stop with that. Someone else could provide other content on their stream. Case in point- The TWiT Network.
    If these old teletype business and pricing models/practices would get the hell out of the way of the internet we would all benefit.

  5. Kevin Selle says:

    Jim…here is my best advice. Start. Do something. Anything. Then continue. Go for it! You never know where it will lead. Most important…you will learn things along the way. Go for it! I appreciate the conversation, thanks!

  6. Kevin Selle says:

    Even more important…keep me posted.

  7. Pingback: Quick, Stop What You Are Doing | Digital Meteorologist

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