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Dear KOKH…

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    You really have to get your shit together. You are in serious danger of replacing KFOR as the biggest joke in Oklahoma City media. Yes, KFOR—the station that buys syndicated segments like “Mr. Food” for the noon news but refuses to show the segment’s URL on screen, replacing it with the KFOR street address as if people who want more information are going to send a self-addressed stamped envelope. They haven’t figured out that using Google is easier than traveling back to 1975.

    But I digress. First, let me state that you clearly did the right thing by breaking into broadcasting when there is a tornado warning in the over-the-air broadcast area. That is always justified, even if it pre-empts Oprah’s last show or the Super Bowl or whatever else.

    The way you did it, however, was abysmally bad. I was watching because it hasn’t been the greatest week and I wanted to unwind by watching and keeping score for a baseball game. You were my only option, because when FOX Saturday baseball is on, it’s exclusive—no matter what package you buy from MLB or anyone else, your only choice during a FOX broadcast window is the FOX game, whether it’s one you want to watch or not. Rangers vs. Phillies was my last choice of the three games available, but there are lots of Rangers fans around here, so I understood.

    I hope you understand how much you pissed them off tonight.

    First, as you well know, you’re the only remaining OKC network affiliates (KOKH: Fox 25, and KOCB: The CW 34) who have not invested in the equipment to create, overlay, or rebroadcast HD video. Your excellent HD signals haven’t changed since about 2004, so when you have graphics to overlay, you drop into standard definition. It’s not bad SD like KFOR’s was, but it’s not great either. Just as KFOR has to learn it’s not 1975, you guys have to move beyond 2004 and start broadcasting local content—including weather graphics—in HD. We know the difference.

    Second, the break-ins were just awful. In the first one, around the 3rd or 4th inning, there was just background noise and dead air for several seconds until the meteorologist started talking about the storms. I’m assuming she was a meteorologist, because even two hours of break-ins later, she never mentioned her name. In the first break-in, she said storms were moving to the north and east, and drew a storm tracker showing the storms moving south by southwest. She couldn’t pronounce the name of a town affected by the storm and said so.

    As the game continued (for people in other markets, at least), we continually saw break-ins with increasingly useless information. After one or two pitches in an inning, you’d break in again with the Tornado Warning alert, and then tell us the same three things over and over. Miraculously, however, you always managed to say “we’re going to return you to programming” just as the innings ended and the commercials started. Much like the widely-known joke that is KFOR, this is trying to give the appearance of caring about viewers without sacrificing anything—except your viewers, who turn away because all they see is irrelevant information and ads. This is the age of the Internet. We can’t watch the game online but we can see pitch-by-pitch tracking and we know when the inning is ending just as clearly as you do. I think seven different times, you “returned to programming” just to catch ads, then broke in again after one or two pitches.

    This might be OK if your break-ins were useful. They were not.

    Although you seemed to have storm trackers in the field, we only occasionally saw video from them (until a short of an actual funnel late in the 8th inning), and never heard any sound. We don’t even know who was talking to us as there were no in-studio shots—just weather graphics. So each break went through a loop like this:

    “There’s a tornado warning for [specific area], with potential funnels [here and here]. We’ll talk about that radar picture for a minute. Now we’ll show you Millenium and show that there’s a hail core, and talk about that for 30 seconds. This is all in the area of a larger severe thunderstorm warning, and that’s for this area. And there’s a larger tornado watch, shown as all these counties in green. But that includes a tornado warning for [specific area]…” (repeat until you turn off the TV in disgust)

    No studio shots. No field reports. I guarantee you that anyone in the affected area turned to KFOR, KOCO, or KWTV after the first of these break-ins so they could get on-camera meteorologists, clear field reports, and HD images. Had this been in my area, no matter how much I wanted to watch baseball, I couldn’t have stayed with such useless information.

    We saw about two consecutive half-innings in the last part of the game, and saw the top of the 9th for the end of the game, but that was all that was uninterrupted in favor of low-quality information. Not only that, but your weather graphics (the reason what baseball we saw was in SD) were way too dated. They alternated between the tornado warning and the much less important severe thunderstorm warning and tornado watch, so someone tuning in wouldn’t have figured much out — they’d see a small baseball picture letterboxed on four sides and tune away. Perhaps this is why you justified replacing most of the baseball game with information that could—and should—have been replaced by modern weather graphics in HD.

    Remember, if your weather presentation is so annoying that you drive people away from your station (or to a cable channel), you’ve not only not performed a public service, you’ve performed a disservice. You want people to keep watching the game so that if something affecting a larger area (like Ada, or Shawnee, or OKC) crops up, you can warn them. When you do it this badly, you just make people stop watching altogether.

    You can’t fix the graphics overnight because Sinclair is apparently too cheap to invest in their OKC properties and keep them up to date. You can, however, at the very least, do as much as possible to keep the weather information brief and relevant. Don’t drop out of HD to show irrelevant graphics. Don’t pre-empt programming to show low-quality break-ins with no new information, no on-camera personalities, and no field reports. Don’t “return us to programming” just for the ads, because we’re not that stupid. We know what you’re doing, and we stop watching your channel.

    Break in during the commercials, update us quickly, and if necessary, send us to KOCB 34 for continuous coverage since you have the luxury of doing that. According to the schedule, KOCB had only reruns of Seinfeld and Two and a Half Men on tonight—incorrectly identified as in HD, when all of us here know KOCB does not broadcast any syndicated programming in HD, and we also know that Seinfeld was not recorded in HD. You could have had the best of both worlds with brief KOKH break-ins and whatever KOCB coverage you wanted, but you did it exactly backwards.

    This is why, when I have a chance to decide to watch local programming, I vastly prefer KOCO. They do it in HD. They don’t break in capriciously. They break in over commercials for sports or prime-time programming unless it’s a tornado warning, and even there they keep the broadcast full of relevant, changing information.

    I have a choice next Saturday as to whether I watch baseball in primetime, or do something else at night and watch baseball in the afternoon. Guess which option I’m going to choose? Guess whether I’m the only one who feels this way?

    You guys need to get your shit together. Boobery like this can’t be excused by your beautiful and stable HD images from the networks.


    My biggest problem is when I record a show on my DVR and go to watch it a week later only to see sensational footage about wildfires or weathermen running around about tornadoes in counties their station doesn’t even reach.


    I could have done without the Tulsa stations going to full blown weather coverage at 4:30 this afternoon when the storms were just forming in western oklahoma. By 8:00 they hit Tulsa as just strong winds and heavy rain and of course the finale of dancing with the stars was postponed by KTUL until this weekend, even though the winner will be plastered all over a hundred websites and many entertainment shows tomorrow. Here it is 11pm and they are still harping on the storms as they enter Arkansas. At least KJRH and KOTV have got a clue and announced they were now moving regular programming to the subchannels in these situations. My stepmom was happy when I told her to switch to 2.2 for the Biggest Loser finale and this weeks episode of The Voice instead of having to endure the constant weather dribble. I realize this is important at times but just showing a radar map and talking constantly about the pretty colors, causes me to go to a satellite channel. It’s Oklahoma we have learned to live with tornadoes and don’t need Hollywood weathermen having a weathergasm constantly harping it to us.


    Send a complaint to Sinclair broadcasting not KOKH. The people who work at KOKH only do what their bosses tell them to do. If that is to break in during programming and not commercials then its clearly sinclairs fault not KOKH. Cant blame someone doing their job.

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