They're taking TV world by storm Weathermen: For the network rain slicker crowd covering Bonnie, the answer is blowing in the wind.

August 28, 1998|By Ken Fuson | Ken Fuson,SUN STAFF

"HELLO, MOM?"

"Yes, dear, what is it?"

"I GOT THE JOB WITH CNN."

"Oh, honey, that's great. All those years in journalism school really paid off. Why are you yelling?"

"I CAN BARELY HEAR YOU, MOM. YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE HOW HARD THE WIND IS BLOWING. I CAN HARDLY STAND UP."

"Where are you?"

"WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. I'M COVERING HURRICANE BONNIE. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?"

"You're what?"

"COVERING HURRICANE BONNIE FOR CNN. TURN ON YOUR TELEVISION. I'VE BEEN OUT HERE FOR 15 STRAIGHT HOURS. THEY GAVE US ALL MATCHING RAIN SLICKERS. LOOK OUT!"

"Oh, my goodness. What was that?"

"DON'T WORRY, MOM. AN UPROOTED OAK TREE ALMOST DECKED MY CAMERAMAN, BUT HE'S WEARING WEIGHTED BOOTS."

"What's that sound?"

"THE RAIN. HARDEST RAIN I'VE EVER FELT. THE WIND IS BLOWING SO HARD IT'S COMING DOWN SIDEWAYS."

"Are you safe, dear?"

"CAN'T HEAR YOU. THE ROOF OF A 7-ELEVEN STORE JUST FLEW PAST OUR TRUCK. WHAT DID YOU SAY?"

"Are you safe?"

"DON'T WORRY, MOM. I'M A PROFESSIONAL TELEVISION JOURNALIST. IT'S MY JOB TO STAND ON A ROCK 10 FEET FROM THE OCEAN IN THE MIDDLE OF A HURRICANE TO TELL EVERYONE ELSE TO STAY AWAY AND SEEK COVER. WE DO THE SAME THING DURING TORNADOES -- 'RUN TO THE BASEMENT, WE HAVE A CREW ON THE WAY.' "

"Couldn't you stay in the studio and do that?"

"HA HA HA. GOOD ONE, MOM. WE HAVE TO BE OUT HERE. PEOPLE SAFE AT HOME WANT TO SEE THEIR REPORTERS DRENCHED. AND HOW ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO SEE THOSE SHOTS OF DESERTED MAIN STREETS AND STOP SIGNS BENT IN HALF AND SCREEN DOORS RELENTLESSLY BANGING? HEY, LOOK THERE. SKINNY GUY FROM THE WEATHER CHANNEL JUST GOT KNOCKED OVER BACKWARD."

"How many people are out there?"

"LET'S SEE, ALL THE NETWORKS, FOX, FOUR OR FIVE LOCAL STATIONS. THE WEATHER CHANNEL BROUGHT A BOATLOAD. LITERALLY. I'D SAY THERE'S 30 OF US."

"So many?"

"SURE. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW COMPETITIVE THESE JOBS ARE. THIS IS HOW DAN RATHER GOT STARTED, YOU KNOW. HOOKED HIMSELF TO A ROCK AND RODE OUT A HURRICANE IN TEXAS. I JUST SAW ROGER MUDD OUT HERE, MUTTERING HIMSELF, HOPING THE WIND WILL PICK UP. KIND OF SAD, REALLY."

"Shouldn't you get out of there?"

NO WAY. YOU GET FILMED LEANING INTO A STRONG ENOUGH WIND -- 110, 120 MILES AN HOUR, ONE OF THOSE GUSTS THAT BEND YOU ALL THE WAY OVER -- AND YOU'LL BE ON EVERY PROMOTIONAL SPOT FOR 10 YEARS.

"I'D BE THE METEOROLOGICAL EQUIVALENT OF THAT SKIER WHO CRASHES ON WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS."

"This is really scaring me, son."

"THAT'S THE WHOLE IDEA, MOM. THEY'RE HOPING YOU'LL KEEP TUNING IN TO SEE IF I'VE BEEN BLOWN AWAY. I WISH THIS WAS A SWEEPS WEEK. HOLD ON A SECOND. MY PAGER'S BEEPING."

"What is it?"

"GOTTA GO. TED TURNER HAS A VACATION HOME IN MYRTLE BEACH. WE HAVE TO SCOOT OVER TO MAKE SURE HIS GARBAGE CAN LIDS ARE HOOKED ON TIGHT."

"Well, I suppose it could be worse."

"HOW'S THAT, MOM?"

"You could be covering the White House. What would we tell the neighbors?"

Pub Date: 8/28/98

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