Wednesday, May 16, 2007

THV Hires New Weekend Weather Anchor

Arkansas Business.com reports KTHV has hired Meredith Mitchell to replace the departing Meteorologist Becky Ditchfield. Mitchell's last gig was at KSNF-TV in Joplin, Missouri. The article says Mitchell begins work this Thursday. Ditchfield's last day is June first.

I'm unable to find much about Mitchell on the internet. I'm just wondering if she's a meteorologist or not. THIS BLOG says Mitchell is a Little Rock native.

49 Comments:

At 11:09 PM, May 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sources say she evidently worked hard as an intern while at thv the first time and went away to get her air experience and earn her new position on the team. People should congratulate her and someone should warn her...about this blog...

 
At 11:13 PM, May 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes she is a meteorologist...not AMA certified but a grad of Miss. st.

 
At 11:29 PM, May 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, she's graduated from U of A.

 
At 1:12 AM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is smokin'.

If she was a cow, she would not have the job.

 
At 9:21 AM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This young lady is no match for Beth and Kristin on KATV!!

 
At 9:39 AM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's a U of A grad.

Way to go UATV!

 
At 10:49 AM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope she likes cats because that's a big part of her responsibilities at Today's THV. Here's a hint lady, no one cares about breaking weather, just make sure those cat's dishes (yes x2) stays full. And do it on air so everyone can see. Then write a blog about it and post it to the freakn' internet.

 
At 2:17 PM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Meredith! Another RECENT UA grad making waves in a great market.

 
At 2:18 PM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is much prettier than this picture. She will do well in this market.

 
At 3:43 PM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

she think's she is something special

 
At 7:31 PM, May 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What difference does being a meterologist make? They all get their information and forecasts from the weather bureau.

 
At 2:24 AM, May 19, 2007, Anonymous Gdawg said...

She is absolutely horrible!!! I live in SW MO and out of all of the potential people you could have pulled from the Joplin weather market, she is the absolutely worst choice. I can't believe she would be hired in the Little Rock market!

 
At 9:04 AM, May 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She will show the LR market what weather is all about and will dominate the ratings in six months.

 
At 5:20 PM, May 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is nice, but no meteorologist by any stretch.

 
At 1:57 PM, May 20, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think being a cat lover was in the job description...

 
At 7:50 PM, May 21, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not enough experience to handle severe weather in LR. Arkansas is not a joke when it comes to bad storms. Pretty will not get the job done.

 
At 8:37 PM, May 21, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THV has never had a strong weekend met who can handle severe weather.
Ed always has to come in.

Remember Shea Rial???

 
At 9:14 AM, May 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that why Becky Ditchfield beat Ned Perme in the AP awards for best weathercast?

 
At 4:44 PM, May 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This girl will not be good. I'll bet you Win Noble's contract on it. Just another cute hire by Raines. Just like the HOT traffic girl years ago. JUST LOOKS!

 
At 5:59 PM, May 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is that why Becky Ditchfield beat Ned Perme in the AP awards for best weathercast?"

Speaking of Perme. How is it that his face is brown and his hands are white?

 
At 10:36 PM, May 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Ed just comes in more 'cause he wants to be the star of the show than because the others can't cut it.

 
At 11:24 PM, May 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone hates being the star of the show, it's Ed.

 
At 10:49 AM, May 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right. He hates it so much that he was forced into having his own band.

 
At 11:15 AM, May 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That he soon quit because it wasn't fun for him.

 
At 11:45 AM, May 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe, but still the fact he WAS in one shows he does NOT hate getting attention.

 
At 12:36 PM, May 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when will the katv divas produce a swimsuit calendar?

 
At 5:53 PM, May 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When they get someone that can fit into a size 2.

 
At 9:16 AM, May 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If she graduated from U of A, she is not a meteorologist. Fayettville does not even have a meteorology program. No school in Arkansas does.

 
At 10:19 AM, May 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Arkansas weather people are lameo. This girl will get tired of the weather, get married, pregnant and then be out of the business. this is just another story to tell her kids, or another reason to eat dinner with the family. Another steller move by Larry and Marky Po. Tell me again what a "LEADER" Win Noble is.......

 
At 1:23 AM, May 27, 2007, Blogger Shea Rial said...

Hello, readers and fellow current/post local broadcasters... It has been a while since my last broadcast.

I hate to admit that I spend any time in my life reading this junk, but I do. I never spent any time in my life writing back about this junk... until now. Occasionally, I see my name appearing in a blog discussion, and I let it go; however, early this Sunday morning, I feel as though I've had just about enough through six years off the air, and as you can see, I'm publishing under my own name. It's a lot more than at least 29 of the 30 previous messengers have done here. So, yes, it's ME... Shea Rial... and it's not a joke.

Per the blogger who posted on 5/21/2007 at 8:37 PM, who decided to use my name and ask other bloggers to remember me, I must request nothing from you except that which you already said. You said enough, and you said it ignorantly. You fit in. Congratulations... please accept your bid to this fraternity.

In media, you may someday learn that stating a name is all that needs to be said. There is no reason for me to direct you with further attention. Yet, I must say that with your comment you expressed no depth of understanding what happens in broadcasting, even if it pays your bills. Better yet, if you worked at channel 11 during that time (which we'll never know, because you aren't filled with enough gumption to post under any blogger name except "Anonymous"), you may know that equipment failures were more the norm in the 1998-2001 period than equipment workings.

The comment the blogger made was that THV has never had a strong "weekend met" who could handle severe weather. There are few people, except those on the inside of television stations, who would know what goes on well enough but to post the word "met" to substitute this word for meteorologist. However, you blast your ignorance onto the wall of shame by not being able to understand that what happens in broadcasting is a team effort. In other words, the weekend meteorologist not "the boss", "the commander", or "the chief". Furthermore, she or he is not the one who makes sure that all the equipment in the building is working and is in good condition.

As a result, I return the discussion to the 24th afternoon of February, 2001, and I tell you very succinctly that as our severe weather situation developed, we had failing equipment and knowledge inside the THV studios. There was no appreciable management in the building. As I remember, our news director decided to attend a marriage seminar in Memphis, even though we discussed at the Friday afternoon meeting that a severe weather outbreak was imminent. Furthermore, during those days, the brilliant production and operations managers had the live control room located on the second floor (though the studio was on the first floor... since moved, I understand). There was also no severe weather action PLAN, and so when severe weather occurred (not just on this date, but at anytime during the years I served... 5/11/1998 - 3/01/2001), people wandered around obviously and only upon their own free will did they hit their production room chairs.

When the tornadoes came roaring from the southwest, we lost cable television service, and as any on-air meteorologist can attest, information via weather computers became very congested during those days. We didn't have the highest-speed internet as we do now, and we had no NOAA Weather Radio located in our studio. Though the Weather Garden was new at that time, we didn't have the window looking outside that you currently see on television through channel 11. We used to say we had less "sight" as broadcasters than the public did in their homes.

During our coverage, the computer (an old WSI model) that ingested our watches/warnings DIED... In those days, it was located in the downstairs control room, away from the studio. There was no way to reset it remotely, and furthermore, it was physically impossible to be on the air and resetting this computer at the same time. They were in two different locations. (And God bless the viewership now, because the computer technology was replaced in 2001 shortly thereafter... it was already ordered from WSI during this catastrophe.)

So, a great deal of my time was trying to get these warning messages back on-screen, and I came on the air as I could. Fortunately, Tom Brannon called in and offered to come in to help. I benefited greatly from his aid later in the afternoon, but as he had to drive from NLR, it took a little bit of time to reach us during the storms. No manager from operations was present in the building, nor did anyone from operations participate, other than David Craft (the current V.P., who actually came in and ran camera in the studio, because we were so short-staffed during this predicted event). We did not have Ed's aid that afternoon in the weather center. We also did not have the aid of our then general manager, who I never remember in three years' time participating in a single broadcast during this type of event. (Please note that the individual in question is no longer at that TV staiton.)

When the tornado(es) in question moved into Pulaski County and the subject of conjecture became, "Is there a Tornado Warning in Pulaski County?", there wasn't an answer. With no weather wire, no NOAA Weather Radio, and no cable TV service (b/c heaven knows we would have told people if we knew it for sure... even if we saw the weather "bug" on another station), I had no answer. I asked assignments people, producers, and fellow anchors if they information for me. They did NOT.

When you spend time on the air, you learn that you do NOT report what you do NOT know as a 100% fact! We advised on the air that there had been a history of tornadoes, but one key piece of information that was missed in telling this story to the public was that we did NOT know for sure if there was a Tornado Warning. (I want to be clear for readers who do NOT understand... ONLY the government, i.e. the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, can declare a Tornado Warning.) Broadcasters can talk until they are blue in the face about tornado history or how maybe there "should" or "might" be a warning, but broadcasters do not have the legal power to declare a warning. It is part of the hierarchy of public safety.

For that reason, I reported that we did NOT have a Tornado Warning in the studio, ALTHOUGH we knew there was a history of tornadoes, and people should keep their preparations in check. How the public interpreted that was largely the product of each individual's ability to understand what was being said. We showed the live Doppler screens and did the coverage as best we could; when we received the information, we reported the Tornado Warning. (I want any broadcaster or responsible journalist out there to imagine MISREPORTING a government declaration and then having to cover for that. If you can imagine the immediate pressure for that, what would you have chosen?)

For these reasons, we covered the weather on 2/24/2001 as it was covered. I wish to be clear again that we had no News Director, Operations Manager, or General Manager in the building. Maybe I was not the one to whom the decision-making process should have been left, but I was the one, and I did the best I could under the process.

To the smart aleck who decided to levy me in this discussion, I will say this: I studied for four years at Texas A&M University, and I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in meteorology, with a minor in mathematics. I worked in two prior television markets before coming to Little Rock. As I write, today is the TENTH anniversary of the F5 tornado that hit and obliterated Jarrell, TX (between Waco & Austin). That coverage was featured in a documentary that has aired many times on The Learning Channel, for its quality and precision. I was hired into the Little Rock market, because of my proven track record in severe weather complications. I earned my AMS Seal of Approval for Television a few weeks after my *23rd* birthday (in 1995), long before most of the people on the air in this market, making me one of the youngest people in the AMS television seal history to receive the award. There are fewer people on the air in central Arkansas who received their training through universities than through corresponsdence and equivalent work experience.

SO, when I tell you that what happened that day was a bunch of bureaucratic newsroom-manufactured garbage, in order to release the news operation from obligation to renew the contract of an employee who brought in good ratings, it isn't a joke. Furthermore, to imply that the "leadership" of the THV weather department, its news operations, and affiliates participated in making 2/24/2001 a success is nothing but a farce.

I have NEVER spoken out against this situation until this time, but after more than six years of listening to this bogus conjecture, I have had ENOUGH. Leave me out of discussions of local television weather misanthropy and all its collective garbage from now on, PLEASE. Please place the blame on those who deserve it, and if you write from the position of a broadcaster, you should be experienced enough to know that even if the faces of broadcasting are on the air, the sources of broadcasting are off the air in management.

GOT IT?

Sincerely,

Shea S. Rial
Little Rock, AR

 
At 8:45 AM, May 27, 2007, Blogger Janie'sGotAGun said...

I did work at KTHV during the days of an EXTREMELY talented and exact meteorologist. His name is Shea Rial. Yes, I remember him. Not only because of his incredible work ethic, but also his dedication to accuracy, Shea was one of the most valuable members of the THV staff.

During those days, new equipment was just purchased and implemented, and the hardware/software company's representatives were in and out to fix "glitches" in the system. Since TV stations are ridiculously sensational regarding their equipment, especially weather technology equipment, imagine the HORRORS! (*gasp!*) of ADMITTING FAILURE!! The on-air failure was not on the part of Mr. Rial, but instead on the part of a system that didn't have its glitches resolved. Since the spineless policy of blaming the anchors (who all too often look like fools because of poor producing/writing, equipment failure and less often a director's mis-punch) is routine, of course the incompetent upper management took the easy way out, releasing a valued employee who was simply turned into an easy scapegoat.

Having been in TV News Broadcasting for years, moving all over the country while moving up in the management ranks, I can say that Shea's explanation of equipment failure and management responsibility is right on the mark. Having grown up, realized TV news is not the end-all-be-all profession, that the pay doesn't reflect the work (of most) and that the "collegiate/frat" atmosphere is better left to collegiates, I happily bowed out after taking with me an Emmy, a Murrow and putting a couple of large market management positions under my belt.

I thank you all for this higly innaccurate and immature posting to remind me that my decision to leave was indeed a good one.

 
At 11:30 AM, May 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked with Shea years ago and can assure anyone who wants to know the truth that the man is a damn fine meteorologist. Put another way, Ed never needed to come in when Shea was on the air: he was probably afraid not to for fear of losing *his* job.

I know what happened to Shea and why. His post here is 100% accurate. KTHV is run by a bunch of absolute morons who have no idea what they're doing.

You guys who post crap on this site and think you know everything frequently prove that you know nothing.

 
At 5:24 PM, May 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too worked at KTHV while Shea
was there. He knew more about weather and WSI equipment than all
the other mets put together. Tom
and Ed would come in and say, "Shea, how did you do that"?
Or another time, "Shea, would you
put together a new map showing such and such?" He was respected for his smartness. It's too bad
the female manager just didn't like him. Maybe he was too feminine for her. Anyway it was a sad day at KTHV.

 
At 5:59 AM, May 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This new girl has nothing on Tracy Douglass, who did weather on KARK this morning. Lookin' good, Tracy!

 
At 8:52 AM, May 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Becky introduced the new girl last night, as well as suffering through a farewell segment for Becky, and I was not impressed with our new weather person. Maybe time will tell.

Becky, you will truly be missed, you were the best, with charm and grace. Good luck in Denver.

 
At 2:08 PM, May 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shea says he's never commented on this blog before..
hmmm, interesting excuse he provided here in November 2005.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9824194&postID=113313966259311584

btw, you may be the best meteorologist in the world, but if the viewers don't like you it doesn't matter. That true for everyone.

 
At 4:18 PM, May 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article posted at the bottom of that link explains it all.

 
At 5:06 PM, May 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They can have all the meterological degrees in the world but they still get their info from the weather bureau. They just change it a little to make the viewers think that they are actually forecasting the wx.

 
At 9:54 PM, May 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to weather, Shea Rial is as good as it gets. I'm guessing whoever made the questionable comment about Shea knows nothing about what went on that day, because those in the know are extremely aware that he was made a fall-guy. "Shea screwed up" sure sounds better than "We were too cheap to get proper weather equipment and were too busy finding out why our wives won't have sex with us to care about some tornado."

 
At 10:10 PM, May 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew Shea as a colleague and can confirm that he was/is a great, talented and smart meteorologist.
That is probably not the reason he was let go, and had very little to do with 2/24/01.

The earlier poster was right, it just comes down to likeability.

 
At 12:58 AM, May 29, 2007, Blogger Shea Rial said...

To the person who posted on 5/28/2007 at 2:08 PM, I went through the prior blogs, and you were right! I posted then... and I wrote incorrectly. I honestly forgot that I wrote something here! I hope that readers of this blog understand that although I read this drivel, I don't read it as often as you might think. My main interest here was in seeing who would succeed Becky Ditchfield in the weekend spot. Becky did a nice job during the past three years, and I looked here hoping to learn about the successor for her job, someone I hope will hold high standards for a past position I once held. So, I offer my apologies for this error. Thanks to all those who have responded, even those who haven't responded in my favor.

Sincerely,
Shea Rial

 
At 6:37 PM, June 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meredith definitely has potential. She needs to practice how not to block the weather graphics, and, to have the camera techs put them on the screen on the front of her camera, so she can see them when she faces the camera. This will make a tremendous difference. It would also help her out tremendously if the techs would properly size the graphics so she doesn't block them. Yes, this can be done before she airs, or even during the breaks.

 
At 7:30 AM, June 05, 2007, Anonymous ARgal said...

So far, I'm not impressed. I would at least expect someone who has experience to be more comfortable in front of the camera. She's still new though so I will cut her a little slack.

 
At 10:40 PM, June 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does Meredith always wear love sleeves?
Her clothes are horrible.
Her voice is annoying.
Lets bring Shea back!!!!!

 
At 9:46 AM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This new THV weather woman... Is awful! I change the channel when she comes on. The voice just about does it for me and she always seems to stand in the way of the weather map Is this is good as we can get in LR???

 
At 4:48 AM, September 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss Becky Ditchfield.

 
At 8:27 PM, January 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Becky had personality that people could connect too.

Meridith smiles too much with those horse teeth and looks fake. I too turn the channel when she comes on, I cant stand to hear her talk.

 
At 11:05 PM, April 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just think it's funny how some people spend most of their time arguing on an internet blog...it's hilarious. And Shea, I don't even now who you are, but it's an equal waste of time to try to defend yourself on places like this. Just ignore them....you won't change any minds.

 
At 2:34 AM, June 12, 2013, Anonymous The Hamburglar said...

I think Shea was screwed over. He was the last decent weekend meteorologist that KTHV has had. Becky was weekend material, and Meredith just sucks ass. Shea was over-qualified. Too bad he just told people to ignore the sirens. That was a bonehead move.

 

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