Tuesday night's season premiere of the hit show 'This Is Us' had a lot of people in the Detroit area upset because the local NBC affiliate pre-empted the beginning of the show in order to provide tornado warning coverage to its viewers.

This could have been handled so much better, in my opinion.

Obviously, TV and radio broadcasters have an obligation to operate in the public interest. Tornado warnings are serious business and keeping viewers safe is a top priority.

But ...

Couldn't TV stations use technology to keep viewers safe without pissing off fans who are eager to catch up with Jack and Rebecca?

  • Detroit's WDIV could have easily run a graphic or "crawl" at the top or bottom of the screen with all the important weather information its viewers needed.
  • They could have embedded a live radar map, taking up only one-quarter of the screen.
  • Graphics could have directed viewers who were in the affected areas to the TV station's other sources of information like its secondary HD channels, website, and mobile app.

Obviously, as a broadcaster, I'm aware that public safety is priority one. But this isn't 1984 -- technology exists today that can be used to keep viewers happy without sacrificing public safety.

And ... if you missed Tuesday's premiere of 'This Is Us,' you can watch it here. 

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