See a tornado hit! Live on APT
Leada Gore, Editor
Once every two months or so, I appear on an Alabama Public Television show titled "For the Record." The show's premise is simple – three newspaper journalists gather to discuss the week's state events with a host whose job is to keep things moving along.
It's a fun thing to do and newspaper people always like being asked their opinion, though this show often proves that print journalists have a voice that's best left unheard. I count myself among those, thanks for a twang implanted by my deep South upbringing.
The first airing of the show is on Friday night and it's live, with replays scheduled for later in the week. It's filmed in Montgomery, a long drive for those of us who live in North Alabama. To accommodate this, I appear "live via satellite" from the studios of the Huntsville Board of Education's E-TV studios, high atop Monte Sano mountain.
And that's where things get interesting. I've encountered sleet, fog, snow and torrential rains as I've made my way up the mountain. Last Friday, however, was a little different.
I'd heard the weather reports that day warning of potentially severe weather that evening. I was confident, however, I could get up the mountain, finish the show and get home before things got crazy.
The show started OK and about a minute in, I heard the sound of rain hitting the roof. Then the winds picked up – a lot.
Just as the host asked me a question, the severe weather sirens went off. The studio is located near a school and the sound was deafening.
But this is TV, right? I should carry on, move forward. What would Katie Couric do?
"Well, I think Riley's plan… (roar of siren) passing but there's still… (siren roars around a again) until the end… (roar number three).
Because I'm in the Huntsville studio, there's always a 7 or 8-second delay in what I say and when it arrives in Montgomery, so I'm accustomed to sounding like I'm broadcasting live from somewhere in the world. Thanks to the sirens, however, it sounded like I was in Baghdad just as the Americans were making a bombing run.
The host wisely went to someone else and I weighed whether ducking under the desk would send a bad message.
According to those who watched the show from that point, the signal was spotty and most people couldn't hear my response to the last question. That's a good thing, though. I think me screaming "someone get me out of here" wouldn't have sent the right message.