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Weatherman who chafed at 'overuse' of code red storm designation disappears from air

New York Daily News — Theresa Braine New York Daily News

June 11--One day meteorologist Joe Crain was chafing on-air at corporate pressure to allegedly sensationalize storms by labeling them "code red."

The next day the Illinois weatherman had disappeared from the airwaves as quickly as a summer squall, and so had his bio on the station's web page.

Crain's on-air commentary on June 5 was offered by way of an apology to viewers for a system that he said was "corporate-imposed" and designed to hype weather rather than inform with nuanced ratings and descriptions.

In his broadcast he compared his news station's methods to those of the National Weather Service, which offers color-coded ratings systems and detailed classifications to let viewers know exactly what they're in for -- rather than blasting them with constant panic.

Crain said his station's owner, conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group, "doesn't recognize that not all storms are created equal."

"We want you to know it's not us," the meteorologist for Springfield, Illinois, television station WICS said while delivering the weather. "This is a corporate initiative, the 'code red' alert, and behind the scenes many of us have tried to dissuade it for the last few months, to try something else that's less controversial to the viewers."

Viewers, he noted, have been registering their dismay and derided the erosion of credibility on social media and in communications to the station.

"When you hear 'code red,' you think, as they say, 'the feces is about to hit the fan,' " Crain said.

Crain earned a degree in broadcast meteorology at Mississippi State University and has spent 15 years at the station building a reputation for credibility and accuracy, CNN reported.

Sinclair maintains that the near-constant stream of red alert days were due to an overactive weather pattern strafing the area, the conservative broadcast conglomerate told The Washington Post.

The broadcast conglomerate is the very same that has come under scrutiny for scooping up local news stations all over the U.S. and at one point forcing local anchors to deliver the same scripted message undermining the credibility of national media.

Neither Sinclair nor Crain himself have commented on the status of his employment.

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