WATERLOO, Iowa – Sports reporters can be snarky by nature, and an Iowa sportscaster’s stint as a substitute weather reporter in chilly conditions was one of the internet’s hottest posts.
“This has been the most bizarre 30 hours of my life,” Mark Woodley, a sports anchor for KWWL-TV in Waterloo, said of the national — and international — attention he has received.
Woodley, 46, was recruited into action on Thursday morning as snowstorms swept through Iowa and the temperature dropped to minus 40 degrees, the Des Moines Register reported. Woodley went live for 3½ hours and did not mince words about his predicament while on the air. While sports journalists cover cold-weather events, it is normally in the warmth of a press box. Woodley was exposed to the elements and let his viewers in Waterloo know it.
“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 told news anchor Ryan Witry, who was warm in the studio. “I didn’t realize that there was a 3:30 also in the morning until today.”
As the blizzard raged, Woodley later released a collection of quips made on the broadcast to his personal Facebook and public Twitter account, the Register reported. The next thing he knew, director Judd Apatow (”Legend”) and actor Josh Gad (”Put this man on ‘SportsCenter’) were retweeting him.
Woodley told KWWL that his sarcastic, grumpy report was meant in a lighthearted way.
“It was lighthearted, and several people were sad that, you know, I got stuck out, I shouldn’t be out there, and I want to point out, I was 30 feet away from the front door of the building,” Woodley told the television station. “I was outside 14 times between 4:30 and 8:30 a.m., but you know, I was outside for six minutes.”
However, Woodley added, “that was a very cold six minutes.”
Woodley, who has worked at KWWL on and off for 20 years, told The New York Times that his experience in the aftermath of his report has “been insane,” adding that the response had been overwhelmingly positive.
“The whole thing was incredible, I don’t understand how celebrities do anything,” Woodley told the newspaper. “It’s exhausting. I love it because it’s something new for me, but I never saw anything like this coming.”
In addition to being an internet sensation, Woodley said his three children were thrilled that their father was famous — even though he has been a television personality for their entire lives.
“I thought maybe someday in my life I’d be known for something,” Woodley told The Wall Street Journal. “But crotchety old complaining weather reporter was never on the list.”
Woodley was able to avoid doing the weather on Friday, persuading his bosses to let him work his regular 6 p.m. CST time slot to preview the University of Iowa’s upcoming bowl against the University of Kentucky in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee.
But Woodley is still amazed at his newfound celebrity.
“It’s made its way across the world. I had a friend of mine from Wales tell me, ‘Dude, you’re on TV here!’” Woodley told the Register. “It’s just went insane, and I never, ever saw any of this coming.”
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