Sportscaster-turned-meteorologist goes viral for joking at work: NPR

Pedestrians navigate a snowy sidewalk in Chicago on Thursday. Severe winter has affected tens of millions of people in the United States

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Pedestrians navigate a snowy sidewalk in Chicago on Thursday. Severe winter has affected tens of millions of people in the United States

Scott Olson/Getty Images

“I have good news and I have bad news,” television sportscaster Mark Woodley said while reporting on the winter storm in eastern Iowa on Thursday. “The good news is I can still feel my face,” he said. “The bad news is that I kind of wish I couldn’t.”

A video of Woodley making such jokes at work, working for a local NBC station, KWWL news, in Waterloo, went viral on Twitter after he was recruited to help the station cover a blizzard for a day.

The popular tweet, posted by Woodley himself, features a compilation video of Woodley making jokes while reporting the weather from outside the KWWL building. It has over 180,000 likes and has been viewed over 25 million times since Woodley posted it on Thursday morning.

He brought the humor he usually uses on his own show — the one he referenced when he joked, “Can I go back to my regular job?” – to cover the storm.

“It’s a very long show,” he said as he prefaced the 3.5-hour show. “Tune in for the next two hours to watch me get grumpier and grumpier.”

He says he woke up at 2:30 a.m. to report his first hit on the air that day, which was at 4:34 a.m. “I don’t know how you get up at this time every day”, he said in a chat with Ryan Witry, co-anchor of KWWL’s Today in Iowa. “I didn’t even realize it was also 3:30 am until today!”

Woodley told NPR he tweeted the video thinking maybe 20 to 30 people would give him a heart.

“I don’t have a lot of Twitter followers,” Woodley said. “The tweet I sent before this one had – and still has – five likes on it.” (The tweet had 10 likes, when last checked by NPR.)

Within hours, accounts with far more followings, such as director Judd Apatow and former NBA player Rex Chapman, had retweeted his message. “

That’s when it all started to go crazy,” Woodley said. “It was amazing.”

He wants people to know the video is a supercut and does not reflect the rest of his live coverage during the dangerous weather event.

“I know there are people out there working hard. Getting the plows working, making sure people can get to work. I know it’s a serious storm,” he said. “The rest of those reports, you know, reflected those things. … I just want people to know that I didn’t think it was entirely a joke.”

Woodley, who has covered the sport for around 20 years, stepped in to report on other topics when needed.

“We reflect, I think, many industries across the country that since the pandemic have struggled to get people back to work,” he said. “So people are getting into areas they normally wouldn’t.”

In fact, Woodley said he filmed most of his live action shots himself that morning before his manager got to work. He was alone in the street, delivering his jokes to the camera.

John Huff, the station’s vice president and general manager, helped behind the scenes when he arrived.

“All I was concerned about at first was getting Mark into the building right after each of his live reports,” Huff told NPR in an emailed statement. “Contrary to what some thought, we didn’t leave it outside for the entire 3.5 hours!”

Huff explained that he and the station’s news director, Andrew Altenberger, had considered having Woodley report more conventionally, but decided the humor gave the coverage a “unique element”.

Despite Woodley’s viral success, KWWL did not ask him to cover the weather again – which, due to the shift’s early call time, Woodley said is a relief.

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