• Todd Yakoubian

We Interrupt Regular Programming For This Special Message

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

It's not the first time it has happened and it certainly won't be the last time. Sunday night, meteorologist James Bryant interrupted American Idol for a tornado warned storm in the Channel 7 viewing area. Some of the viewer reaction may surprise you, but not me.



Viewer email #1


"We get it. There’s a tornado warning in south AR for another 30 minutes. How long do you need to interrupt programming to keep saying the same report over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Seriously!!!! and over and over and over and over and over and over

BTW is there a tornado warning for Polk county?  Is he bored and wanting to be heard?"


Viewer email #2


"I'm watching some guy tell us about a thunderstorm, instead of American Idol.  This is why you guys are the WORST and LEAST watched station in Arkansas!  You're just stupid.  Very poorly done."


I think you get the point. Every severe weather event will bring out the best in people and the worst in people. This is a typical reaction, but it has been worse in the past. I have had my life threatened several times.


Why interrupt programming? We act in the public interest as a TV station. If weather is a threat to life and/or property for any county in the Little Rock viewing area, we go on until the threat is over.


This is the viewing area for the Little Rock television market as defined by Nielsen Corporation.


The tornado warning Sunday night was for southern Scott county and northern Polk county. The direction of movement was east-southeast which would put Montgomery county in the eventual path if the storm maintained rotation on radar.


It's sad I have to say this, but we consider all lives equal whether you live on the fringe of the viewing area or in the middle of it. We will go on air no matter where the tornado warning is issued within the Channel 7 viewing area.


Why do we stay on the air for the duration of the threat? Storms change and evolve within minutes and even seconds. A circulation on one radar scan may weaken, strengthen, and move several miles on the next radar scan. We have the ability to track it street-by-street with modern technology.


While you may not be under the tornado warning, some may have friends or family in the affected area. That's why we ask to text or call if you know someone in the path of a dangerous storm.


I know you might be frustrated by these interruptions, but remember this. If there's ever a tornado threat in your hometown, we have proven time and time again Channel 7 will be there. It's what we do and it's who we are.


Your phone calls and emails are heard, but won't stop us from doing the right thing.


While the majority of you reading this agree with what I have written, a few may not. A vulgar email, phone call, or death threat will not stop us from doing our job.


Thank you for your loyalty and making Channel 7 the most trusted weather source in Arkansas.



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Copyright by Meteorologist Todd Yakoubian 2020

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