Joe Crain took to the air this week to apologize to viewers for the station’s “Code Red Day” weather alert that he said was unnecessary scare-mongering.
Now, the longtime meteorologist at WICS-TV in Springfield, Illinois, appears to be in danger of losing his job. As the State Journal-Register reported, Crain said in a morning broadcast that the system was not an accurate measure of the dangers of extreme weather, saying that the National Weather Service’s system is much more accurate and appropriate. In the apology, Crain said that the “Code Red Day” alerts his station used were mandated by the company that owns the network, the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.
The Illinois meteorologist acknowledged that the “Code Red” alert system had drawn considerable complaints from viewers, and he called it a “corporate initiative” that “doesn’t recognize that not all storms are equal.” He then told viewers that the station was licensed by the FCC in order to serve its viewers and encouraged them to keep calling or sending letters to make it clear how they felt about it.
That apparently did not sit well with Sinclair Broadcasting. Reports noted that Crain had not appeared on the air since his comments and that his bio was taken down from the station’s website. As The Washington Post noted, Crain now appears to be in danger of losing his job for the on-air apology to viewers. Crain told the State Register-Journal that he was still employed by the station but offered nothing more beyond that brief comment.
Sinclair did not comment on whether Crain was being fired, but stood behind its controversial alert system that places the Code Red Day alert on the entire day rather than specific time periods when dangerous weather might occur.
“The outbreak of severe weather events across the country in recent weeks makes clear that Code Red alerts serve a critical function in keeping viewers informed of potential danger and threats to their safety,” the company said in a statement. “The decision to issue these alerts is made by our local metorologists [sic] and we will continue to trust our local experts to know when to make the call to announce these warnings.”
Illinois meteorologist taken off-air after criticizing corporate parent Sinclair Broadcasting over so-called "Code Red" weather alerts https://t.co/RfY51QxclT
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) June 7, 2019
Sinclair Broadcasting Group has been embroiled in controversy before. The company, which owns a series of local television stations, has been criticized for forcing them to broadcast editorial pieces defending Donald Trump, including a statement that picked up on the president’s screed against so-called “fake news.” A video, available via YouTube, of local anchors reading the statement in robotic fashion went viral last year, prompting widespread criticism against the company.
Editor’s note: This story previously misidentified Joe Crain as being from Springfield, Missouri. The Inquisitr regrets this error.