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The Weather Channel
TWClogo.svg
TWC logo
Launched May 2, 1982
Owned by NBC Universal
Blackstone Group
Bain Capital

[1]
(exact percentages unknown)

Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Slogan "The Sounds of Weather: Hear It. See It. Live It."
"Because Weather Matters."
"Your weather has never looked better" (HD slogan)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area United States and Puerto Rico[2]
Headquarters Cobb County, Georgia
Sister channel(s) Weatherscan
MSNBC
NBC
Website www.weather.com
Availability
Terrestrial
UHF-TV Inc.
(Willmar, MN)
34
Selective TV Inc.
(Alexandria, MN)
50
Satellite
DirecTV 362 (SD/HD)
1362 Video On Demand
Dish Network 214 (SD/HD)
Cable
Verizon FiOS 119 (SD)
619 (HD)
Available on most other US cable systems Check local listings
IPTV
Sky Angel Channel 320
AT&T U-Verse 225

The Weather Channel (also TWC) is a U.S. cable and satellite television network since May 2, 1982, that broadcasts weather forecasts and weather-related news 24 hours a day. In addition to its cable TV programming, TWC also provides forecasts for terrestrial and satellite radio stations, newspapers, and websites, and maintains an extensive online presence at weather.com.

The Weather Channel debuted its high-definition simulcast on September 26, 2007. It has its headquarters in unincorporated Cobb County, Georgia, near the intersection of Interstates 75 and 285.

Contents

History

The Weather Channel was founded in 1981 by John Coleman and Frank Batten. It was launched on May 2, 1982.

Current

TWC uses special proprietary equipment that inserts local weather forecast and warning information if it is viewed on a cable TV system. The original Weather Star technology has been upgraded on most cable systems to the IntelliStar, including Vocal Local to announce the current conditions, weather bulletins, and the detailed local forecast. Satellite and IPTV viewers originally saw only a roundup of local TWC forecasts for major cities across the U.S., as well as satellite and radar images, and severe weather watch and warning maps when active. However satellite customers with newer systems or interactive receivers have the choice of 'roundups' or local forecasts. For both cable and satellite viewers, Smooth Jazz music plays in the background during these segments.

The Weather Channel produces a service, based on modified versions of Weather Star technology called Weatherscan, on which a separate channel constantly displays local and regional conditions and forecasts along with The Weather Channel's logo and advertisements.

The Weather Channel is headquartered in the Cumberland/Galleria area, immediately northwest of Atlanta, overlooking the "Cobb Cloverleaf" interchange from a high-rise in the Interstate North complex. TWC's sister channel in Canada is The Weather Network in English and MétéoMédia in French, which use similar technology that is currently in use in the USA. TWC also runs websites in Brazil (Canal do Tempo), the United Kingdom (Weather Channel), France (Météo 123) and Germany (Wetter 123). Apart from its stake in The Weather Network/MétéoMédia, TWC only runs their US channel, although it does produce international forecasts.

A definitive history of the network, The Weather Channel: The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon, by Frank Batten and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank, was published by Harvard Business Press in May 2002, on TWC's 20th anniversary.

On July 6, 2008, NBC Universal, Bain Capital and Blackstone Group agreed to purchase The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications.[3]NBC Universal also owned NBC Weather Plus, a rival service which was carried by and featured content from its local affiliates; that service announced its discontinuation three months later. Subchannels carrying Weather Plus have moved to The Local AccuWeather Channel, kept the Weather Plus engine, or switched programs (e.g. to This TV or the Retro Television Network). Some have shut down entirely.

From November 2008 through February 2009, The Weather Channel terminated seven long-time on-camera meteorologists: Kristina Abernathy, Eboni Deon, Kristin Dodd, Rich Johnson, Cheryl Lemke, Mark Mancuso and Dave Schwartz. With the exception of Eboni Deon, all had been on the air for more than ten years. Three of them had been employed by the network for more than twenty years.

Inevitably, the merger of NBC on-air meteorologists began in May 2009. Todd Santos, formerly of NBC Weather Plus, first appeared on the network on the second day of the month. Al Roker of NBC's "Today" show began a one-hour morning program with meteorologist Stephanie Abrams as co-host, later in the summer. However for New York-based forecasting operations (those utilized for MSNBC and CNBC forecasts, for instance), the former NBC Weather Plus forecasting, radar, and graphics systems remain in place, with banners changed to fit the Weather Channel graphics scheme. On September 10, 2009, the co-founder of The Weather Channel, Frank Batten, died. [4][5]

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International versions

Over the years, attempts to broadcast international versions of TWC (apart from Canada's The Weather Network/MétéoMédia and the Australian version of the Weather Channel) failed. TWC also operates websites for online localized forecasts in Brazil, France, Germany, India, Latin America, and the United Kingdom, but some of these sites appear to have not been developed further since 2003. The Weather Channel also shares radar and forecasts with The Weather Network, particularly for the Weather Channel's Canadian forecasts.

Logos

TWC HD logo used since 2008

The Weather Channel's original and most recognized logo was a blue rectangular box that debuted on TWC’s first broadcast on May 2, 1982. This logo was revised in 1996, with the corners less rounded and the logo slightly flat. The URL text weather.com was permanently added underneath the logo in 2000. On August 15, 2005, the logo was overhauled again; the blue rectangle’s corners are straight with no white trim on the edge and "The Weather Channel" text is now in title-case and left-justified, similar to The Weather Network. A 25th anniversary logo used in 2007 featured a white rectangle edged in blue connected to the current logo with "25 YEARS" inside it in blue.

Since the NBC buyout, The Weather Channel has colored its logo green three times for Green is Universal Weeks, twice in November 2008 and 2009 and one in April 2009. Only IntelliStars have the TWC logo changed to green; as such, the only situation during a Green is Universal Week when the logo is not green is on The Weather Channel with a working Weather Star XL, 4000, or Jr. unit.

Local on the 8s

Since its inception, The Weather Channel has incorporated local forecasts using Weather Star computers installed at cable headends. Until 1995, the forecasts have been played at various times each hour, but are currently shown at times ending in "8", hence the title of the local forecasts is "Local on the 8s" (though local forecasts are reduced to once every half-hour when non-forecast programs are aired). With the introduction of the current IntelliSTAR system, traffic information is also incorporated alongside local weather information, in areas that traffic.com (via its TrafficPulse service) provides traffic data.

The Weather Star systems also utilize a Lower Display Line (LDL) on the bottom of the screen during local forecasts and national programming, providing current conditions for a specific location and three towns within 15 miles, almanac data, forecasts and (in select cities) traffic information on cable headends using the IntelliStar system and only current conditions and/or forecasts on cable headends using WeatherStar XL and older models.

Radio and newspaper presence

The Weather Channel provides forecasts for the Sirius XM Radio satellite radio services in the United States. Both services run regional forecasts on one station and have a block of combined local weather and traffic stations for major metropolitan areas.

TWC also has content partnerships with a number of local radio stations in the USA to provide local forecasts, using announcers separate from the TV service. For some affiliates, TWC actually provides a limited amount of live coverage during local severe weather (with the Georgia-based announcers connected via ISDN). Distribution of TWC radio content is currently handled by Dial Global.

Similarly, TWC also provides weather reports for a number of US newspapers, including a half-page national forecast for USA Today.

Online services

TWC provides numerous customized forecasts for online users, including home and garden and event planning forecasts. They also provide WAP access for mobile phone users, desktop widgets for quick reference by computer users, and customized weather feeds for individual websites. They follow a two-tiered service model, with the free service bearing advertisements and their pay ("Desktop Max") service lacking ads and having enhanced radar and mapping functions. Cell Phone customers can even have their local forecast sent to their mobile handsets from TWC for a fee via SMS by sending a text message with their ZIP code to 42278 which spells 4cast. Other services include Yahoo!, in which the weather pages are produced by TWC.[6]

2007 global warming controversy

The web site Capital Weather published an interview with WJLA meteorologist Brian van de Graaff.[7] In this interview, Mr. van de Graaff stated:

The subject of global warming definitely makes headlines in the media and is a topic of much debate. I try to read up on the subject to have a better understanding, but it is complex. Often, it is so politicized and those on both sides don't always appear to have their facts straight. History has taught us that weather patterns are cyclical and although we have noticed a warming pattern in recent time, I don't know what generalizations can be made from this with the lack of long-term scientific data. That's all I will say about this.

Global warming was voted the #1 in 100 Biggest Weather Moments.

On December 21, 2006, Dr. Heidi Cullen reacted to this by posting "Junk Controversy not Junk Science" in a blog on The Weather Channel's web site.[8] In her blog, Dr. Cullen reacted by stating:

If a meteorologist has an American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming . . . . If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn’t agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It’s like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise... It’s not a political statement... it’s just an incorrect statement.

While the anthropogenic view of global warming is aligned with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the position of decertifying or censuring dissenting meteorologists was perceived as a call to marginalize or silence opposing opinions. Cullen's position was derided by a large portion of her blog's responders as politically motivated. Responders included AMS meteorologists who also attacked her position, in particular James Spann a TV meteorologist in Alabama who also runs a weather/climate blog on his site and disagreed with Dr. Cullen's position.[9] In a follow up blog entry "A Very Political Climate", Dr. Cullen and The Weather Channel denied any political motivation.[10]

The Weather Channel HD

The Weather Channel HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of The Weather Channel that launched on September 26, 2007. DirecTV was the first provider to add it. At that time, no programming was actually presented in high definition, except for a national "satellite" version of the Local on the 8s. On October 1, 2007, two new high definition programs, Epic Conditions and WeatherVentures, premiered. A new high definition series, When Weather Changed History, premiered on The Weather Channel on January 6, 2008.

Throughout the final months of 2007 to the early months of 2008, various cable companies had started to add The Weather Channel HD to their cable lineups, including the Boston, MA, Austin, TX, San Antonio, TX, and Baton Rouge, LA markets. [11] It was added to Dish Network systems on May 13, 2008. Recently, Comcast began adding the channel in some select markets like Chicago, IL. Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, both of which serve New York Metropolitan Area have also recently picked up the HD channel in late July 2008. No Weather Star currently serves the HD feed, but Cablevision New York viewers get an HD forecast produced by TWC master control in Atlanta. DirecTV added Local on the 8's to its HD feed on September 29, 2009. [12]

TWC began studio HD programming on June 2, 2008. The new HD studio features various environmentally-friendly technologies. All of TWC's schedule (except It Could Happen Tomorrow, Full Force Nature, and older episodes of Storm Stories) is currently in HD.

Current programming

Forecasting programs

Long-form programs

Series and Specials

  • Why I Love Winter (no confirmed date)
  • Tornado Week (April 4-10, 2010)
  • Why I Love Spring (March 22-27, 2010)
  • Green is Universal (No confirmed date/NBC also does this coverage and is partnered with TWC on this)
  • Great Escapes (May 3rd-9th, 2010)
  • Hurricane Week (June 6th-12th, 2010/August 1st-7th, 2010)
  • Why I Love Summer (No confirmed date)
  • Back-to-School Week (No confirmed date)
  • Survival Week (No confirmed date)
  • Why I Love Fall (No confirmed date)
  • Holiday Week (No confirmed date)
  • Celebrate! (No confirmed date)

(Info from twcmediakit.com)

Movies

On October 30, 2009, The Weather Channel began airing weather related movies on Friday nights. The first was The Perfect Storm, followed by March of the Penguins, Misery and Deep Blue Sea. [13]; this caused criticism from many viewers and those in the media, who have criticized The Weather Channel for deviating from its format of running weather information 24 hours a day and as some of the films were not directly tied to weather. After December 2009, these weekly movies were discontinued for the time being in favor of running Weather Center, which already aired in the entire primetime slot during the rest of the work week. Despite the controversy, the Friday night film block will resume on March 26, 2010 with Into Thin Air: Deaths on Everest.

Current personalities

On-camera meteorologists

Other personalities

Notable alumni

Slogans

  • "We Take The Weather Seriously, But Not Ourselves" (1982–1984)
  • "Weatherproofing America" (1984–1986)
  • "You Need Us, The Weather Channel, For Everything You Do" (June 1986–March 1991)
  • "Weather You Can Always Turn To" (March 1991–March 1996; U.K. October 1996 - April 1998; also used currently in NOAA Weather Network)
  • "No Place on Earth Has Better Weather" (March 1996–March 1998)
  • "Weather Fans You're Not Alone" (1997-1998, paired with The Front)
  • "Live By It" (June 2001–August 15, 2005; also currently used in Australian version)
  • "Bringing Weather to Life" (August 15, 2005–February 2008; This slogan is still used on weather.com and certain other materials, e.g. mailing labels)
  • "The Weather Has Never Looked Better" (June 2–late 2008; also slogan for HD broadcasting)
  • "The Sounds of Weather: Hear It. See It. Live It." (June 2009-present)
  • "The Sounds of Weather: Hear It. See It. Enjoy It." (December 2009-present) [for Winter season]

Hurricane, severe weather, and winter coverage slogans

  • "Hurricane Central" (August–October 2005, 2006)
  • "Keeping You Ahead of the Storm" (used occasionally since the late 1990s)
  • "Your Hurricane Authority" (2005, 2006 and 2008 season)
  • "Your Winter Weather Authority" (January 2008-present)
  • "The Winter Weather Authority" (2006-2007 winter season)
  • "The Hurricane Authority" (2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons)
  • "Your Severe Weather Authority" (March 2009-September 2009)
  • "The Severe Weather Authority" (September 2009-present)
  • "Alert Mode" (-2002)
  • "Storm Alert" (2003-present; mostly used during hurricane coverage)

See also

References

  1. ^ Blackstone Group (2008-07-06). "NBC Universal, Bain Capital, and The Blackstone Group Sign Agreement to Acquire The Weather Channel Properties from Landmark Communications" (PDF). Press release. http://www.blackstone.com/news/press_releases/7-6-2008.pdf. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  2. ^ Youtube.com
  3. ^ Robert Marich. "The Weather Channel Sale Wraps". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6595811.html. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  4. ^ "Video Submission Agreement." The Weather Channel. Retrieved on November 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Google Maps: 300 Interstate North Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia
  6. ^ Kristi E. Swartz. "CNN, Weather Channel win on the Web". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. http://weather.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  7. ^ Jason Somenow. "Up Close with Brian van de Graaff, Meteorologist, WJLA Channel 7". CapitalWeather.com. http://www.capitalweather.com/secondary.php?page=features/vandegraaff.capitalweather. 
  8. ^ Heidi Cullen (2006-12-22). ""Junk Controversy not Junk Science"". The Weather Channel. http://climate.weather.com/blogs/9_11396.html. 
  9. ^ James Spann (2007-01-18). ""The Weather Channel" Mess". WBMA (ABC 33/40). http://www.jamesspann.com/wordpress/?p=650. 
  10. ^ Heidi Cullen (2007-01-18). "A Very Political Climate". The Weather Channel. http://climate.weather.com/blogs/9_11592.html. 
  11. ^ Linda Moss. "Weather Channel Touts HD Launches". Multichannel News. http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6608977.html. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  12. ^ Multichannel News October 6, 2009 DirecTV Goes HD With Weather Channel's Interactive Apps - Operator Says SD Version Has Generated Almost 1 Billion Impressions In One Year
  13. ^ TVWeek.com October 21, 2009 It's Always Fair Weather...on The Weather Channel

External links


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