This evening the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for a remote portion of the Evansville television market with approximately 8,000 people and a population density of 30 per square mile. The weather service warned for the possibility of a weak tornado, surely an EF0.

Two of the television stations in the market have the blanket policy that "whenever a tornado warning is issued for our DMA, we will carry continuous coverage."

Combine that with one of those two television stations carrying the Colts/Steelers game when that tornado warning is issued, and the first reaction is to look at the competition: if they don't cut in, we won't either and just hope nothing happens.

When that fails, it doesn't take long for some folks to be upset. Upset Football Fans

After about five minutes of a fill-in meteorologist fumbling, not knowing what to say other than explain how unlikely it is that there is anything damaging actually happening in a remote corner of the DMA and that he'd rather be watching football too. Meanwhile, the staff in the the control room rigs this up:

Picture-In-Picture Football

Let's back off for a moment and look at the big picture: who benefits from policies like this? Is it the public, or is it only insurance that the media outlets, who make big money on weather coverage, don't get egg on their face by missing even the tiniest event?

I'm not suggesting that these decisions be made based solely on what programming is on the air. I'm suggesting that a decision to insert a 60 second bulletin could have been made because of the lack of severity in this situation. Perhaps, in those 60 seconds, folks could have been directed to watch the competing station for full coverage.