Any avid TV viewer knows that if they live in an area prone to severe weather, it’s likely at one point or another their favorite program will be interrupted when a severe storm rolls in.
Weather personalities are often hit with a barrage of vicious e-mail when shows are cut short to cover an approaching tornado. The seriousness of it all is that lives and property are at risk. TV and radio licenses were issued by the Federal Communications Commission to serve in the public interest. One of those duties is to inform of impending danger.
In Oklahoma, where former KWTV legendary meteorologist Gary England is a household name, folks have simply grown accustomed to this. Mother Nature can help a TV weatherman get higher ratings than anything else.
As any weather broadcaster knows, long-form severe weather coverage is hard work. And while most of them are appreciated for the job they do, there are repetitive phrases like “take cover” or “tornado on the ground” that the audience grows to expect. In the Sooner state, weather nerds are abound.
According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, its believed that two University of Oklahoma students – created the Gary England Drinking Game in 2006. It’s nothing new. But years later it continues to be played statewide.
In 2011, TheLostOgle.com spelled out contestant rules for how to play the Mike Morgan Drinking Game. Morgan is another Oklahoma City TV meteorologist at KFOR-TV. Studentdrinkinggames.com made The Weather Channel a part of their shenanigans. Contestants take a sip anytime the words “high”, “showers” or “cloudy” are uttered. And now, the silliness has made it to Memphis.
According to Buzzfeed.com, WMCTV-5 meteorologist Dave Brown causes game players to wet their whistle whenever the words “viper”, “polygons”, “bathtub” are mentioned or if viewers can hear tornado sirens through their television. An Oklahoma bingo card now exists for participants who want to play at home.
Make no mistake about it. Warning the public about severe weather is serious business. But not everyone takes it seriously. As long as they are playing, let’s hope they are safely tucked away in their basement at the bar, away from windows.
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