Saturday, December 4, 2010



Over last night and into today, we in the Chicago area had our first measurable snowfall of the season. Snowing (or snow blowing) the stuff is a task for which I am not yet psychologically ready, but, once I got going, I got to enjoy it, as I normally do. Yet there is one thing that makes this task especially annoying. While I clear the snow, I listen to the radio, usually our all news station, WBBM-AM, or one of the news/talk stations, like WGN, WLS, or WMAQ. I like these stations, usually. However, listening to them while clearing the snow is made especially dyspeptic by the constant repetition of stories about the weather. So I have come up with a creative way for the radio and television stations around this town, or any town that experiences what we call “winter weather,” to free up perhaps half their air time, or half their non-commercial air time, over the next several months. They could simply announce about now:

It’s winter time in Chicago (or New York, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Detroit, etc., etc.). For those of you to whom this somehow comes as a startling revelation, it snows and gets cold around here in the winter. Deal with it. Now on to some real news.”

Instantly air time that is otherwise wasted interviewing some guy shoveling his snow who enlightens us with the news that it is cold outside or expended warning us that going out in the “brutal cold” will certainly result in instant death could then be used to report on things that really matter and somehow might qualify as actual news.

Oh, that’s right; then no one would listen. People would much rather hear the astounding news that it is cold outside in Chicago in January than, say, that the Germans are about to say “Nein” to propping up their financially miscreant neighbors or that the U.S. Congress is about to attend to such urgent business as The Dream Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell while our economy crumbles around us.

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