Major snowstorms are huge media events, particularly for TV stations, and particularly during this month which happens to be a TV Sweeps period where ratings mean increased ad rates.
It is said that certain stories affect certain individuals. However, everyone is impacted by the weather. That’s why storm coverage is critical.
But it isn’t easy. Many TV stations have booked rooms at area hotels for reporters to stay at rather than going home. Absurdly long hours are the norm.
Although staffers work horrendous hours, KSHB’s Chief Meteorologist Gary Lezak may have taken his work schedule to a new level with this week’s snowstorm.
When the storm was at its worst in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Lezak anchored the station’s coverage along with cohorts Brett Anthony and Jeff Penner.
He was then on from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. last night, 5 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today. Sources say you can expect him to be on today from 4:30 to 5:30, and then 6- 7 p.m. and 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. tonight.
After his final newcast Lezak went home and spent time in the snow with his famous weather dogs Breezy and Stormy (below).
“Gary was the only Chief on when the storm was at its worst, in the early morning hours of Tuesday,” a source told Bottom Line. “I think this speaks to his passion and dedication for covering severe weather.”
Lezak told Bottom Line forecasting this kind of weathrer energizes him.
“Weather is just fascinating. The passion I have for winter weather forecasting gets me so focused and energized. The challenge of getting the forecast right is something I take very seriously. We want to prepare the metro for what’s about to come, and I know it has to help.”
With all the hours Lezak has logged it might mean that his catch phrase of “We have new data” could hit triple digits with this storm.
It also might mean a a well-deserved rest might be in order.