As a huge winter storm battered the US, a short-staffed TV station in Waterloo, Iowa dispatched a sports reporter to describe the scene outside.
Footage of Mark Woodley’s increasingly stressed video reports for KWWL, from a bitterly cold and snow-covered highway, duly went viral, registering 27m views by Saturday.
“I usually do sport. Everything is canceled here for the next couple of days,” Woodley said.
“What better time to ask the sports guy to come in about five hours earlier than he would normally wake up, go stand out in the wind and the snow and the cold, and tell other people not to do the same?”
Woodley addressed the long hours of the assignment and its unfamiliar conditions.
“I’m used to these evening shows that are only 30 minutes long, and generally on those shows I am inside,” he said. “This is a really long show, so tune in for the next couple hours to watch me progressively get crankier and crankier.”
Announcing “good news, which is that I can still feel my face right now”, he also said the “bad news is that I kind of wish I couldn’t”.
He asked: “Can I go back to my regular job? I’m pretty sure you guys added an extra hour to this hour just because somebody likes torturing me.”
Woodley later told CNN, to which KWWL is affiliated, that he didn’t know that the channel even had a 3.30am assignment slot – or that he would be taking it – until the evening before.
“Some of those things I probably wouldn’t have said if I slept for eight hours,” he said.
Responding to viewers’ requests that he become a full-time weather reporter, Woodley said: “We’re a bit shorthanded, like every newsroom is in the country, that’s why I was in this situation.
“I’m a team player. If asked, sure, I’ll do it, but that would be my absolute nightmare. I hope to God they do not ask me to ever do that again.”