The Newsroom

Severe Weather & School Closing Alerts

How do tv stations handle this type of information? (December 2015)

RK
Rkolsen World News
I'm watching Sky News right now and I'm wondering how do British broadcast networks handle things like regionalized severe weather alerts and school closings in the UK given the extent of regionalizations and centralized play Out?

Here in the US when there's severe weather or the threat of severe weather they will throw up a bug or specialized logo graphic saying Thunder Storm Warning and they will run a crawl (and sometimes a small radar box) usually after every commercial break and if the "block" between breaks is particularly long they will play it again.

If there's imminent wide spread danger for say a Tornado Warning stations will break into programming with their meteorologist (or anchor in one case*) at the ready using their $100,000 weather computers with $5,000/month subscription fee and occasionally their own operated radar all to show you the details of the storm. Of course with certain severe weather events like tornados the local cable companies will cut out of all programming and air this:



For school /business closings they will leave up a ticker up on screen until about 10AM. Some are designed to work within a stations graphic packages while others like WNBC's decide to push back the frame:

Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re a VO/SOT when you’re a PKG.
BA
bilky asko Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
School closures due to severe weather are announced on designated radio stations in a long list, and often online.

exemplī grātiā ……..

SCHOOLS on YORKSHIRECOASTRADIO.COM
06-Dec-2015 @ 09:35
DV
dvboy Central (West) Midlands Today
Schools often have a direct link to radio stations, usually online, to log into the website and update the status themselves.

Most schools also have text messaging systems set up to directly alert parents and guardians en masse.

School closures don't generally make it to tv in the UK but regional slots on BBC breakfast will advise people to listen to BBC local radio if there is a lot of then eg due to snow.
Hello, good evening, and remain indoors.
AN
Andrew Founding member Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
They read school closures on BBC Local Radio breakfast shows. When there is significant snow it can take ages to mention every school in the county

I'm guessing they also used to do them on commercial radio but probably not these days.
DV
dvboy Central (West) Midlands Today
They do on commercial radio especially in the city areas. Some stations that cover a large urban area like Heart West Midlands do it and will abandon all normal features during their breakfast show to read out the list because it takes so long
Hello, good evening, and remain indoors.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
I imagine it would be harder to do on TV here as our TV isn't localised like it is in the US. When you look at the sizes of BBC & ITV regions, there could be hundreds of schools closed in a region on a particularly severe day! Imagine what it would be like in the heavily populated regions like London, Yorkshire or Granada!
LL
London Lite Founding member London London
As mentioned, radio is the main outlet for listing school closures and covering major local incidents, although in areas such as London, where the amount of schools are too large, they'll refer you to local council websites or the school one instead. In any case, schools these days are able to send parents and pupils information via SMS.

Local tv 'could' also offer a similar service, but as some aren't on-air in the morning, it's really not worth it.
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
The only time I ever listened to local radio in the morning as a kid was to see if our school was on the closed list. It never was - we'd usually go in and half an hour later they realised half the teachers couldn't get in and then close it!

The weather graphics over programming in the US would not go down well here. If the weather is that bad you're probably unable to watch the TV anyway, and if you can you probably want to forget about the weather and enjoy what you're watching, not have a satellite pic covering a quarter of the screen!
Stay Local. Stay Safe. Stay Alive.
WO
Worzel Anglia (West) Look East (West sub-opt)
dvboy posted:
They do on commercial radio especially in the city areas. Some stations that cover a large urban area like Heart West Midlands do it and will abandon all normal features during their breakfast show to read out the list because it takes so long


Most commercial, community and BBC stations still do. I've worked in all three types of stations in the last 5-10 years and they all do/did.
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
In these days of schools having websites, Facebook, Twitter and the ability to text parents directly, it does seem something of an anacronism to read out such a long list on air. That said, it does paint quite a nice picture of the situation across the station's patch, if all of the schools in one area are shut but they're open in another that tells you something.

On at least one occasion Radio Sheffield did an AM-only opt out for the closures list and carried on as normal on FM.

Do local radio stations have the resources to compile lists of schools these days? I believe at one time the arrangement was that the school phoned a specific number (not the usual studio phone in number) and quoted a password, as a safeguard against hoaxes. I guess just answering the phones could tie up a Broadcast Assistant/Assistant Producer for the whole show.
Write that down in your copybook now.
DV
dvboy Central (West) Midlands Today
Yes it's sometimes done by a website these days. The school logs into the station web site to report itself closed and is otherwise assumed to be open.
Hello, good evening, and remain indoors.
BA
bilky asko Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
In these days of schools having websites, Facebook, Twitter and the ability to text parents directly, it does seem something of an anacronism to read out such a long list on air. That said, it does paint quite a nice picture of the situation across the station's patch, if all of the schools in one area are shut but they're open in another that tells you something.


It's the only method that can be used whilst driving (unless you have a connected phone, and happen to have a child at an institution with a dedicated snow line).

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