According to Richard Prince’s Journal-isms, that looks to be the case, as leaked emails surfaced detailing the exchange between Roker and David Clark, president of The Weather Company’s TV division, regarding a decision to downplay the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall.
Instead of Katrina, a report – “based on an email exchange made publicly internally” that ran in the television news site NewsBlue Wednesday – noted that the Weather Channel went with covering the pending arrival of Tropical Storm Erika.
The same day the Washington Post reported that the channel’s decision to cancel “Wake Up With Al” “was a financial one according to multiple reports.”
“It is the Atlanta-based network’s only show out of New York City, where production costs are very high,” the Post mentioned.
The cancellation comes as the Weather Channel suffered another loss with the emotional exit of Vivian Brown on Tuesday, according to TVNewser, which stated that Brown worked at the station for 30 years.
In its report, NewsBlue details last Thursday’s email exchange between Roker and Clark, with the “Today” show weatherman writing, “I don’t understand why Steph [Abrams] and I aren’t together on the actual anniversary day of Katrina’s landfall [in New Orleans]. There is nothing happening Saturday in Florida.”
Furthering his argument, Roker stated that “meteorologists Reynolds Wolf and Mike Seidel were already in South Florida, awaiting the tropical storm (which suddenly dissipated Saturday morning over Cuba).
” ‘I could not disagree more with this decision,’ wrote Roker. ‘We will have a phalanx of people talking about a storm Saturday that our graphic will show is not possibly making landfall till Monday…if then. Viewers aren’t stupid. They can see when potential landfall is, assuming it holds together.’
” ‘In the meantime, there are a lot of stories to tell about Katrina while pivoting to Erika. . . .
From there, Roker went in on ” Weather Channel management, saying “The reason we are in the trouble we’re in is an intransigence of management when it comes to a decision and an unwillingness to pivot.”
NewsBlue points out that Roker’s comments reached management as Clark responded, stating that “We are juggling a lot right now. If you disagree with a decision you are welcome to speak up, you have more than earned the right to do so, but this is out of line and not how we do things here.”
“Roker responded, ‘Really David. You want to try and spank me in front of people. You want to do this?” responded Roker as his Weather Chanel co-workers took notice of his reply to Clark after he hit the ‘Reply to All’ button.
“He then apologized. ‘Folks, I want to apologize if I embarrassed anyone. I didn’t mean for this to be a public argument,” NewsBlue reports about Roker’s reaction to his private remarks going public. “I replied on an cc: that I didn’t mean to. We all want the same thing, best possible product, and a real outcome for our viewers. Hey, the good news is, you all read your emails.”
” ‘Thank you for that Al, respect,’ Clark responded. ‘We are all on edge right now. Don’t mind open dissent when constructive and we want your best thinking on this storm. As you say, let’s get focused on making the best product and move forward and thank you for being on the team.’
A few days after the email exchange, news surfaced on the Weather Channel cancelling “ Wake Up With Al.”
As for confirmation of their email correspondence, Roker and Clark would not confirm or deny it took place as they left official word about it with spokesmen.
Through spokesmen, Roker and Clark would neither confirm nor deny the exchange.
Commenting on Roker, Brian Stelter told CNNMoney.com that the weatherman “may continue to appear on The Weather Channel, but not as a daily host.”
For more of Prince’s coverage on the cancellation of “Wake Up With Al,” click here.