|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2009)|
|Type||digital television network
cable television network (weather/meteorology)
|Availability||Nationwide (in select areas)|
The Local AccuWeather Channel is an American broadcast television network that is owned by AccuWeather. Operating as a 24-hour advertiser-supported network, the service provides national weather forecasts with local forecasts inserted several times an hour by its affiliates. The network operates from AccuWeather's headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania. Primarily carried on the digital subchannels of broadcast television stations, The Local AccuWeather Channel is also distributed on the digital cable tiers of certain providers at the discretion of the local affiliate.
Because some stations also stream The Local AccuWeather Channel's programming on their websites, the network should not be confused with a proposed online-only streaming weather channel that was announced by AccuWeather and Fox Television Stations in May 2012, as part of a content agreement with the station group.
The Local AccuWeather Channel provides national, regional and local weather forecast segments as well as travel and sports forecasts, and lifestyle features. Similar to competitor WeatherNation TV, although unlike The Weather Channel, all national segments on the network are pre-recorded, and are updated every one to six hours depending on the segment – this poses an issue during severe weather events as the network is not able to disseminate real-time weather alerts for regions where a watch or warning is in effect. National segments are presented by on-camera meteorologists employed with AccuWeather (the majorty of which have had prior broadcasting experience before joining the network).
Locally produced weather forecast segments – and on some stations, local news and traffic updates – may be provided by the participating AccuWeather Channel affiliate's weather staff; these forecasts are usually shown after blocks of most national forecast segments, running eight times an hour in two- to three-minute segments. In many areas, a feed of that station's Doppler radar system may be shown; some stations may air a local NOAA Weather Radio station feed during the radar imagery (although some stations carry the local NOAA Weather Radio station's audio feed on a separate second audio program channel).
The segment's duration, including advertisements and local segments, is denoted by a playback bar along the bottom of the video window (which borders the right side of the "L-bar" displayed around the periphery of the screen). Stations have the option to utilize the default setup of showing segment titles in a scroll below the video window, or displaying a scrolling news ticker that includes local news headlines, traffic or weather information; the data area's background image is also changed on a hourly basis in order to prevent burn-in on LCD television sets.
The network also employs a severe weather mode during inclement weather; affiliates may also breakaway from the network's content if the station wants to utilize the subchannel for either extended news and weather coverage or push programming from the station's main feed to the subchannel.
The "L" Bar
Similar in design to that used by The Weather Channel and former competitor NBC Weather Plus, local weather information on The Local AccuWeather Channel is displayed continuously on an "L-bar," which appears at the left and bottom thirds of the screen, even during commercial breaks; the channel's programming and any other programming carried by the local affiliate (such as programs that fulfill the Federal Communications Commission's E/I requirements) is displayed above and to the right of the display. The left side of the bar displays station identification on the top left (on local feeds, the station's logo and sometimes, the web address as well is shown); current weather observations for cities within the region, and local advertisements (as well as ads for AccuWeather) appear at the bottom left two-thirds, with time and temperature information appearing below that.
Rotating forecast information is shown on the bottom right portion of the bar, consisting of a 12-hour (including sky condition and temperature) and five-day forecasts (displaying predicted weather conditions and temperatures), descriptive daypart forecasts and predicted ultraviolet index values. The weather observations and local forecasts are displayed at 10-second intervals. Weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service are also shown on the bar when active, with a map showing alerts in effect for the station's viewing area displayed at the middle left (along with a color legend corresponding to each alert type) and a description of the active alert on the bottom right of the bar (which is not always synched with the alert map).
Modifications to the "L-bar" were introduced in December 2008, removing the two-panel setup in favor of a larger left-side panel which displays a more detailed radar imagery and hourly weather forecasts, as well as AccuWeather and affiliate advertisements, along with tweaks to the appearance of the bottom right panel.[clarification needed]
Prior to the shutdown of NBC Weather Plus in December 2008, seven NBC-affiliated stations chose to instead carry The Local AccuWeather Channel on their digital subchannels (KNVN in Chico, California; KOBI in Medford, Oregon; KOTI in Klamath Falls, Oregon; KULR in Billings, Montana; WJHG in Panama City, Florida; WILX-TV in Lansing, Michigan and WMTV in Madison, Wisconsin). After that point, as certain NBC affiliates either chose not to carry Weather Plus successor NBC Plus or the systems became outmoded, several of the network's stations opted to continue their digital weather channels as affiliates of The Local AccuWeather Channel (instead of carrying another digital multicast network such as NBC's suggested replacement for Weather Plus, Universal Sports). In one rare case, the ABC and NBC affiliates in Phoenix (KNXV-TV and KPNX) both formerly carried the network, although KNXV (which later replaced its GoAZ.tv service on its 15.2 subchannel with the Live Well Network) had focused its AccuWeather subchannel around traffic conditions and road closure information.
In September 2010, AccuWeather began to provide the channel's data components to its first non-commercial television client, WMVS in Milwaukee (the primary station of the PBS member organization Milwaukee Public Television). The market's NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV had switched to The Local AccuWeather Channel in December 2009, and carries the network's programming; WMVS's AccuWeather subchannel is purposefully structured to meet non-commercial programming guidelines and focuses more on local weather maps, while incorporating AccuWeather references or airing content from the channel, substituting it with an audio feed from local NOAA Weather Radio station KEC60.
Not all of the network's commercial affiliates air its complete schedule; affiliates pre-empt three hours a week of the network's programming (either consecutively or in a half-hour stripped format) to air children's programs acquired from the syndication market to fulfill the Federal Communications Commission's educational programming requirements (which require stations to carry additional E/I content on their subchannels, regardless of the subchannel's programming format). A few of AccuWeather's affiliates also air a limited amount of other types of syndicated programs; stations may opt to move regularly scheduled network programming to the AccuWeather subchannel during extended severe weather or breaking news coverage that requires the station to pre-empt the programs on its primary channel.
Unlike the now-defunct NBC Weather Plus, over-the-air affiliates of The Local AccuWeather Channel are not affiliated with a single network. Many of the stations that carry the network are affiliated with either NBC, CBS, Fox or ABC. For the most part, the local stations do not label the AccuWeather service as a so-called "Local AccuWeather Channel," nor does the network utilize a separate logo. Instead, the local stations utilize their own branding for the affiliated subchannel (such as "Weather Now"). In most markets, the network's affiliate carries the station's brand, and either the AccuWeather.com brand or a statement such as "powered by AccuWeather.com".
- "Fox Owned Stations Partner with AccuWeather".
- "Fox Television Stations Partners with AccuWeather".
- Changes to GoAZ.tv made December 2008