Inside WOOD TV8

Snow and Ice

December 11th, 2014 at 11:11 am by under Bill's Blog, Inside WOOD TV8

north america snow cover   global sea ice   A quick update to show that Hudson Bay is now frozen over.  According to one website I checked with (assuming it’s right), this is about two weeks ahead of schedule.  The Great Lakes are at 1.8% ice cover.   Outside of Lake Superior and a diminishing part of Lake Nipigon, it’s solid snow and ice as you go north of West Michigan over the North Pole, through Siberia and into China.  That’s going to set us up for a cold pattern starting around or shortly before Christmas and probably lasting thru much of January and into February.  Two years with similar patterns were 2002-03 and 1977-78 (a year of a few BIG snowstorms in the Eastern U.S., including the famous Lower Michigan Blizzard of Jan. 26, 1978 (which was followed by the coldest February and 5th coldest March we have ever had in G.R.  That’s not to say we’re going to get a big blizzard like that this year.  The main storm track may set up east of here…but there’s going to be a lot of time for you to use the skis and snowboard this winter.   The graph on the right snows total global sea ice, which took a dramatic jump upward about two years ago and is now above average.   Bright and sunny this morning in Tennessee.  You don’t gain much heat by going south.  As I write this (11 am), it’s 30 deg. in G.R. and 36 in Birmingham, Alabama.  It’s 46 now at Ormand Beach, Florida.  We’re headed out to the Oak Ridge Science Center this morning, then Books a Million, dinner out tonight and then a Holiday Concert this evening.  I’ll be back in G.R. Sunday PM and back on TV on Monday.

Also:  Alaska sunrise…Did you know that you could be a lifeguard in Newport Beach, CA and get a total compensation package of $211,451?    A little windy this AM in California and W. Nevada.  Gusts over 100 mph in the Sierra Mtns70,000 without power in SFO areaGeminid Meteor Shower – next several nights.

New apps for

November 28th, 2012 at 1:35 pm by under Inside WOOD TV8 has provided news, weather and information to you through mobile apps since 2009. Over the years, we’ve released several upgrades to our mobile apps to help support new devices and their new features.

As part of a continuous drive to provide our viewers with the most innovative news coverage across all devices, we’ve significantly upgraded our apps in the last few days to take advantage of exciting new features of mobile devices.

This also means we’re asking you to install a new app on your iPad, iPhone or Android device. To install the new app, you can click through to get the iOS version or the Android version. You’ll also want to delete this current app to prevent confusion and to continue to receive the same level of coverage you’ve counted on from

Some Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the school closings? These will appear when closings are in effect. When that happens a big red alert symbol will appear at the top of ever page. You can tap the alert symbol to see the closings. Additionally, you can find the alerts by going to the Weather section in the Menu.

Where are the weather alerts? Just like school closings, the weather alerts appear when in effect. The big red alert symbol will appear at the top of every page when this happens.

Where is the back button? In the upper-right corner of every story page is a grey triangle that can be tapped to go back. In future releases, a back button will be added to the bottom of the page.

Why is the Menu button so small? It appears to be smaller than it is. You can tap the WOOD logo to activate the menu.

Why are we changing?
The app you are currently using is being discontinued in favor of a new app from To continue receiving all the news, information, weather alerts, closings and more delivered right to your device, we are requiring users of our older apps to install a new one. This means users of our tablet, smartphone and mobile apps will now receive the same features simultaneously with each new release.

Why can’t I continue to use the current app? strives to provide the latest technologies and take advantage of the latest features of cell phones, smartphones, tablets and eReaders—all in a single app that works across all devices. Unfortunately, the app you are using is incompatible with this goal. It is being disabled and will no longer receive new updates and news from WOODTV.

What do I need to do?
You’ll need to install our new app on your device. To install the new app, you can click through to get the iOS version or the Android version. You’ll also want to make sure you delete this current app from your phone or tablet to prevent confusion so that you can continue to receive the same level of coverage you’ve counted on from

What’s new about this app?
We’ve listened to our viewers, and added the features that prepare you for your day—by providing up to the minute weather alerts, closings, and news alerts—all in the palm of your hand. Some features and improvements include:
Easier to use: We’ve improved every aspect of the new app—from the navigation to the display of stories. Larger images and headlines, one-click video, succinct and easier navigation and easier-to-find related stories.
An improved weather experience: Our new and improved interactive radar provides FutureCast, animated radars, tons of additional overlays (including snow totals, rain totals and temperature forecasts); an improved forecast page and nearly instant severe weather alerts to keep you and your family safe.
A more robust app: We’ve introduced lots of new features, such as live streaming, breaking news alerts and an improved weather experience. Not only have we introduced new features, we’ve upgraded our app to allow us to add new features without having to upgrade your app.
ReportIt! integration: Now you can submit photos, videos and news tips directly through the app. Now, when you snap a photo of a weather or news event, it’s even easier to send in your news directly to our staff. debuts new iPad

December 31st, 2011 at 1:01 pm by under Bill's Blog, Inside WOOD TV8, News

Continuing to build upon its suite of digital offerings, WOOD TV has announced its new and enhanced iPad app that combines its award-winning local news, weather, sports and video in a user-friendly experience that is customized and optimized for the iPad.

The app is free of charge. You can easily download the new app by going to iTunes on your computer in the App store on your iPad and searching for “woodtv”. Our new app is called WOOD TV8 for iPad. You can also click here to open a page with a direct link.

Highlights of WOOD TV8 Version 2.0 iPad app include:

•        Immediate access to stories and blogs published in real-time from WOOD TV8’s digital content centers. Comments on blogs are fully functional.
•        Breaking news alerts to help you stay informed even when the app is closed
•        Enhanced video presentation in one easy-to-navigate, comprehensive catalog
•        Interactive weather maps and forecasts designed for consistency on all media platforms
•        New “Report It” functionality that leverages iPad’s built-in features, allowing you to easily send and share news, photos and videos

“We are pleased to continue our tradition of bringing innovative products to market and making it more convenient for users to access our superior local content on the most popular electronic devices,” said Diane Kniowski, General Manager, WOOD TV, WOTV, WXSP TV. “Our new iPad app was thoughtfully designed to deliver a best-in-class user experience and be the preferred local news app in West Michigan.”

In October 2010, WOOD TV8 launched its first generation iPad app into the emerging tablet space. Since the launch of the iPad 2, WOOD TV8 has been perfecting its technology to take advantage of the tablet’s increased processing power, photo and video enhancements and new graphics engine.

More features:

  • Navigate easily through local news and information that’s important to you
  • Stay informed of breaking news with 24 Hour News 8 alerts
  • View local news videos embedded within stories or at full screen
  • Understand how weather will affect you with local forecasts, radar, alerts and video
  • Stay up-to-date on school closings and severe weather
  • Help shape local coverage by submitting photos and videos through Report It
  • Easily share interesting articles via e-mail, Facebook(R) and Twitter(TM)

Bill’s Blog is back up

October 26th, 2010 at 12:58 pm by under Bill's Blog, Inside WOOD TV8, Weather

Afternoon all,

Due to extreme website traffic earlier today, we needed to re-direct traffic from Bill’s Blog to an instance of CoverItLive.

We’re investigating ways to boost the capacity for the blog, but until then, we may need to fall back on CoverItLive to handle all the traffic.

Thanks for your patience and participation.

ARTPRIZE–Nobel or Not?

September 28th, 2010 at 9:17 pm by under Entertainment, Inside WOOD TV8, News

ArtPrize….can it be the Nobel of the cultural and scientific? the Pulitzer and the Peabody of journalism? the Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy of entertainment?

Ran Ortner's "Open Water No. 24"

I asked that question of the first grand winner of ArtPrtize, Ran Ortner, a New York artist.  I talked to him by phone the first day ArtPrize 2010 began last week and again tonight.  He said, “Time”  and subsequent winning art pieces will determine the “value and importance” of the prize.  Ortner’s “Open Water No. 24″ won the world’s largest art prize last year.  He told me, “Artprize will be judged over time. Is it sustainable? Does it make wise and significant decisions?” Ortner went on to predict, “ArtPrize will touch upon really great art. It has the potential to be astonishingly successful.  It doesn’t have to knock it out of the park every year to be successful.  Look at the Yankees.”

I asked Ortner, if ArtPrize doesn’t choose well in the future will that hurt him personally and professionally?  He responded, “My work will stand squarely on it own merits.”

ArtPrize, since its inception in Grand Rapids a year ago, has been criticized, scrutinized, debated as to whether it really knows and can judge good art.  The art world elite have little confidence in the vote of a public that is deemed unsophisticated and uneducated in the study of art. But Ran Ortner who has spent thirty years as a struggling artist says, “ArtPrize was never intended or framed to be other than a vote of the people.”  He says, “The fear of the artworld elite is that an ArtPrize populist vote can be likened to a culinary contest where children pick ice cream and cake.” He added, “Children aren’t voting. I essentially do not agree with that fear. I do agree it’s the fear of many in the art world.”

The inaugural ArtPrize winner then made a bold statement about public opinion:  “I actually have a tremendous amount of faith in group think. Our government is founded on it, our ideal of who we are and our capacity to be, is all based on collective wisdom. It doesn’t mean collectivity is always right. But who of us would think the voice of the people would not be insightful, impactful, and decisive? We’ve based our most dear values as a collective.  It’s called democracy.”

Ortner contends there are no guarantees granted by any judge.  “People can vote by knee jerk reaction, pandering,” he claims.  “But elitist can have a bias based on their education, their agenda, their perspective that can also be a knee jerk reaction.”

So what does an artist want from ArtPrize besides the exposure and the thousands of dollars in the winning purse? Ran Ortner describes it like this: “We’re hoping people vote beyond their eyes, with their heart–to see with the fullness of who they are.  Every voter has a responsibility to be true to self, not cavalier. Slow down, consider, think deeply, be open to register the art within your internal wisdom. ”

“Great art, ” Ortner feels, “lives in our memory. Memory is the test of great art. When you step away from a work, if it’s not remembered, it if doesn’t register, if it doesn’t live in you and continue to inform you, it’s not great art.”

ArtPrize 2009 winner Ran Ortner

So what did ArtPrize do for Ran Ortner? “It changed my life dramatically. It offered an unconventional means for me to find traction.  Winning the top prize through a vote of the people was a touching and humbling experience. It’s been like night and day, it’s like stepping through a door. I was reaching for recognition and acceptance of the artworld elite. I moved to New York to be where the elite critics and scholars and galleries are and I still aspire to attain the highest level of honors and awards from them like an Olympic athlete.  ArtPrize freed me up to put more energy into my work instead of spending time cobbling my finances together.  I’ve gone from barely making it to having an abundance, a generous flow of revenue. I’m invited to exhibit in shows, commissioned to create art…I’m selling my art at three times what I charged before ArtPrize.

Would he enter ArtPrize again? “I don’t forsee a circumstance where it makes sense. The dream has happened. The highest ideal of what ArtPrize can do is provide an amazing opportunity.  It launched me. And I love the notion that it can do that for other artists. Perhaps, in ten years, for an anniversary show, ArtPrize will invite winners back to exhibit a collection of new work.”

Ran Ortner confided, “I’m making my way. I’m growing. I’m seeking success. The artworld works slowly. One’s reputation is at stake. With ArtPrize, there is no waiting for someone to be deemed great. ArtPrize circumvents that. ArtPrize and I hang in the same balance.” They’re both continuing to be judged by the people and the art world.

The legacy of WOOD TV’s pioneer, then and now

February 24th, 2010 at 4:27 am by under Inside WOOD TV8, News
I spent hours going through the archives at WOOD-TV-8 following the death of a pioneer in television, a man who ran this station shortly after it signed on the air 60-years ago until he left in 1977. Willard Schroeder (pronounced shray-der) died Tuesday at his East Grand Rapids home. He was 96. His wife, Barbara, preceded him in death.  Schroeder’s four children were with him at his home.  His daughter Chris told me his last words to them were, “Wow, what a gang.”

Willard Schroeder created and developed live t.v. programming in West Michigan in the ’50, ’60s and ’70s, innovated local t.v. news and set the standard for it, and guided the station through decades of technological wonders. He shepherded local t.v.’s transition from black and white to color; from felt weather boards to radar; handwritten cue cards to teleprompter; film to videotape to microwave. He lived to see it go way beyond all of that to doppler radar and computers, satellite, digital, HDTV, and live streaming on the web. And he saw it go from one to three to hundreds of channels.

Of the early days, Schroeder said, “Nobody knew anything about television. You give it a shot and go with what you had.”  The hardest part, he said, was coming up with programming 18-hours a day, 7-days a week. “Early on, we decided to go live. We had some challenges as to what kind of programming. Anything goes,” he remembered. (more…)


February 19th, 2010 at 11:58 pm by under Inside WOOD TV8, News

     Have you ever felt you were placed somewhere in time for a specific purpose at a specific moment?    

     My husband Rick and I were on a late lunch winter walk today in the sunny 30+degree weather.  It was glorious.  We turned a corner and headed down a street and within moments of doing so, a young child was sledding down the hill on his front lawn and heading right for the road.  At the exact same time, a car was heading right toward him.  

    My husband screamed at the child to stop.  The little boy was still in motion.  Rick yelled again then again, “Stop, Stop” and the youngster finally rolled out of his sled and held onto it before it could hit the street.  At that very instant, the oncoming driver hit the brakes. 

     We were all stopped in time…my husband and me, the sledder and the driver…all frozen for a moment.

     I instructed the child to never again sled beyond the sidewalk. He was smiling, picked up his sled and headed back up the hill.  His mom appeared at the front door. “Thank you” she shouted out to us across the street.

     We looked at the driver of the vehicle.  She was starting to move again and I waved and nodded to her as she passed.  How relieved I was that she, too, had stopped when Rick yelled not knowing if she heard him with the windows up, the engine running, and the heater on.

     After we were all in motion again, going our separate ways, I started to shudder with a cold chill.  It wasn’t from the snow that surrounded me, it was from that moment in time when all of our lives converged in one spot and could have been changed forever.

SMS Text Alerts on

December 2nd, 2009 at 11:30 am by under Inside WOOD TV8

As of this morning, we now have SMS Text Alerts available on Included are weather alerts, school closings, forecasts and more. Here is the link to sign up:

This change affects all the people who previously signed up to have cell phone text messages sent for Weather Warn or School Closings. In these cases, the cell phone numbers and accounts have been moved to the new SMS Text Alerts system. These people should continue to get the same alerts as before. The difference is that they will need to make changes through the SMS Text Alerts page. (more…)

New on Real Estate, Obits, Photos

November 25th, 2009 at 11:34 am by under Inside WOOD TV8

Some of the features people have been asking us to provide are now online.

Real Estate – Courtesy of a partnership with industry-leading Trulia, you can find homes for sale in Grand Rapids and all of West Michigan. In fact, you can even search for homes across the whole U.S.  There are some neat ways to sort your search for foreclosures and specific neighborhoods.

This section can always be found in our main navigation by going to Marketplace > Real Estate.

Obituaries – Courtesy of Tributes, our obits focus on all of West Michigan yet cover the entire U.S. It includes opportunities for you to post tributes to your own loved ones.

This section can always be found in our main navigation by going to News > Obituaries.

Week in Photos – Check out some of the interesting photos of the week in the constantly updated feature. You’ll see photos from national, international and sports stories.

This section can be found in our main navigation by going to News > Week in Photos.

Face of 4 – Voting ends soon, so check out the great videos of our Face of 4 contestants on

T-Showers along the Indiana border

July 27th, 2009 at 3:57 pm by under Bill's Blog, Inside WOOD TV8, Uncategorized, Weather

Local  An area of scattered showers and t-storms continues  from the southern suburbs of Chicago to near South Bend to Coldwater.  With the front hardly moving, cells are going to “train” along that area (along US 12) and a few locally heavy rainfall totals are likely.  Radar estimates 2″ just south of Berrien Co. in Indiana.  We had a gust to 48 mph in Ann Arbor and a tree was down in Goshen, IN.  If you’re north a line from Benton Harbor to Lansing…nothing is going to happen.  South of that line there will be some scattered showers/t-showers tonight.   Most of our area could use some  rain.    We missed the severe weather again Monday evening.  A wind gust of 54 mph (wake low?) occurred at Waukegan, north of Chicago shortly before midnight our time.   A  tormado  hit Mt. Sterling, Wisconsin (picture included at the link!).  They had 7 counties under tornado warnings around 7:30 PM Monday evening.  There were more than a dozen reports of hail/wind damage with these storms (measured gust to 73 mph at Viola, WI).   Here’s GRR NWS radar, Great Lakes radar, SPC Meso-Discussions, Current Tornado & Severe T-Storm WatchesStorm Total Rainfalllatest surface observations, lightning dataGRR NWS discussion, Visible Satellite loop (daytime), Infrared Satellite Loop (night),    Here’s Milwaukee NWS radar.  Official rainfall for July:  0.07″ Battle Creek Airport, 0.28″ Kalamazoo Airport, 0.86 Muskegon Airport.   The GRR airport has had 2.35″.