One week ago Joe Crain, the morning meteorologist at WICS Springfield, Ill., called out station management for mandating over-the-top “Code Red” weather alerts. Now Crain is officially out of a job. A spokesman for the station’s parent, Sinclair Broadcast Group, confirmed Wednesday night that “Joe was let go.”
Hank Price: “The commitment of local broadcasters and their owners to the communities they serve is legendary. No corporation is perfect, nor is every policy. Employees have the right to disagree and should do so when they believe something is wrong, though hopefully not on a public forum.”
The ad for a WICS Springfield, Ill., morning meteorologist showed up Tuesday on owner Sinclair Broadcast Group’s website. It follows meteorologist Joe Crain’s on-air criticism of Sinclair’s Code Red weather alert policy.
Joe Crain, a WICS Springfield, Ill., meterologist since 2004, disappeared from the weather report after ad-libbing June 5 about the “Code Red” moniker that station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group implemented as a severe-weather alert. Late Monday, WICS GM Rick Lipps said in a video posted to the station’s website that “Code Red,” which “may no longer be fitting,” will be replaced with “Weather Warn.”
At least four local businesses have pulled their advertising from WICS Springfield, Ill., in support of meteorologist Joe Crain, who has been absent from the station’s broadcasts following his on-air criticism of owner Sinclair Broadcast Group’s “Code Red” weather alert system.
Joe Crain has been a meteorologist at WICS Springfield, Ill., for 15 years. On Monday, he might not have a job to return to. The reason? Crain criticized Sinclair Broadcast Group’s initiative to implement mandatory “code red” days in their affiliates’ forecasts. Meteorologists at local stations under Sinclair’s auspices are encouraged — or at times, forced — into declaring code red days, the decision often made by management. And during Wednesday morning’s broadcast, Crain had had enough.
WICS, Sinclair’s ABC affiliate in the Springfield-Decatur, Ill., had more than double the social media actions as its nearest media competitor in the past six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee. Block’s NBC affil WAND came in second.