By Alan Pergament
This is what I’m thinking:
Channel 7 sure picked a hot weekend to introduce its newest meteorologist.
Jessica McLaughlin became the station’s fourth meteorologist over the weekend, joining a weather staff that includes Aaron Mentkowski, Mike Randall and Autumn Lewandowski.
Until recently, the station’s weather staff had been smaller than rivals Channel 4 and Channel 7. Channel 4 had four meteorologists before Amelia Segal left for Washington, D.C. The station, which is known to be slow to fill openings, is still looking for her replacement. Channel 2 has five weather staffers -- Kevin O’Connell, Andy Parker, Maria Genero, Mary Beth Wrobel and Jennifer Stanonis.
Like Stanonis, McLaughlin has a Brockport State College meteorology degree.
"We felt an additional meteorologist with credentials was necessary to be able to more effectively and credibly serve our viewers," said Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse.
McLaughlin's hiring is further evidence of the importance of weather in this market. Nurse also recently added a third sports staffer -- one more than Channel 4 -- in Jason Gruenauer, who no longer will have to fill-in on weather as he occasionally did before McLaughlin was hired.
McLaughlin told Channel 7 weekend anchor Kendra Eaglin Sunday on a rare 90 degree day that she is a Lancaster native who recently worked in Iowa.
According to a Google search, she graduated from Lancaster High a decade ago and four years later received a degree from Brockport in meteorology, with a minor in math.
Using my math skills, that makes McLaughlin about 27 or 28. The Google search also reveals that her work at a station in Mason City, Iowa included reporting on floods, blizzards and tornadoes. A story on a website she designed said that she saw her first tornado while storm chasing in Iowa with her father three years ago.
However, I doubt McLaughlin has seen a Sharknado. My story in Sunday’s Buffalo News about discovering new cable channels probably should have mentioned how many local Time Warner subscribers found SyFy after the campy film "Sharknado" blew up Twitter last Thursday. The film, which will be repeated at 7 p.m. Thursday, had a 1.3 rating in Western New York. That doesn’t sound like much but it is better than the channel usually averages here. The film reportedly didn’t do very well nationally, though it got a celebrity Twitter boost, perhaps due to the fact it was set in Los Angeles.
Local criminal attorney Barry Covert was a legal expert on the George Zimmerman trial last week on both Channel 2 and Channel 7. He told Channel 2’s Scott Levin on Friday that "I think he walks" a day before Zimmerman was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.
CNN doesn’t appear to value the media criticism show "Reliable Sources" as much as it used to now that host Howard Kurtz has gone to Fox. It canceled Sunday’s 11 a.m. show for another hour on the Zimmerman verdict. A week earlier, it delayed "Reliable" for breaking news. Sunday would have seemed to have been an ideal day for "Reliable" to discuss the coverage of the Zimmerman case, especially after defense attorney Mark O’Mara took shots at the media in his post-verdict press conference for its initial portrayal of his client as a “monster.”
If you missed the appearance of Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in an episode of TBS’ "Sullivan and Son" last Thursday, be advised that you can catch it if you have On Demand capability. It is episode 205 on the On Demand channel for cable series on Time Warner. You better not blink. Miller has one very brief scene identifying himself as a relative of a youth hockey player and a Sabre. TBS might have to edit that one line if he ever gets traded.
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