A Springfield Illinois Weatherman for News Channel 20 Joe Crain was fired Thursday Morning for explaining to his viewers “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.”
Rick Lipps, general manager of the Sinclair Broadcast Group station, didn’t immediately return messages asking about Crain’s status. And reached through Facebook, Crain on Thursday said, “I’m employed by WICS and have no comment to offer.”
A spokesperson for Sinclair, via email, said the company doesn’t comment on personnel matters, but added in a statement: “The outbreak of severe weather events across the country in recent weeks makes clear that Code Red alerts serve a critical function in keeping viewers informed of potential danger and threats to their safety. The decision to issue these alerts is made by our local meteorologists and we will continue to trust our local experts to know when to make the call to announce these warnings.”
Crain, who has been at Channel 20 since 2004 and is the longest-tenured on-air personality at the Springfield station, did not appear on air during Thursday morning’s news shows on WICS and his picture had been removed from the staff biography page on the Channel 20 website by Thursday afternoon.