The Local AccuWeather Channel
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2009)|
|Type||digital television network
cable television network (weather/meteorology)
|Availability||National (in select areas)|
The Local AccuWeather Channel is a 24-hour, weather-oriented, commercially sponsored broadcast and cable television network in the United States owned and operated by AccuWeather, Inc., which is headquartered in State College, Pennsylvania.
The service provides weather-related content to television affiliates for broadcast on cable, digital subchannels, and digital cable by certain broadcast television affiliates in the United States.
Because some stations also offer the Local AccuWeather Channel via live streaming video on their websites, the Local AccuWeather Channel should not be confused with the new online-only, streaming weather channel announced by AccuWeather and the Fox Owned Stations in May 2012.  
Local AccuWeather Channel Format
Viewers of the Local AccuWeather Channel can see the local forecasts for their respective area. These forecasts are usually shown after most national forecast segments, and aired as frequently as they are on NBC Weather Plus, airing for two to three minutes eight times an hour. Pre-recorded weather segments featuring local weather information from meteorologists of participating AccuWeather Channel affiliates are shown proceeding weather information. In many areas, a feed of that station's doppler radar may be shown and in some areas, it may be aired with that city's NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards feed (airing over the radar image instead of airing on a separate Secondary Audio Program channel, while other stations may air the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards feed on a separate SAP channel).
The "L" Bar
Like NBC Weather Plus, the Local AccuWeather Channel uses an "L-Bar" across the left side third and bottom third of the screen to continuously air local weather information, even during commercial breaks. Since AccuWeather's "L" Bar takes up more space than that of NBC Weather Plus, the screen displaying local weather segments and AccuWeather programming is smaller. Information on the AccuWeather Channel's "L" Bar is, however, more broadly based.[clarification needed]
The left side of the bar is reserved for station identification on the top left (on local feeds, featuring that station's logo and sometimes also the web address), and the middle left and bottom left are reserved for supplementary information, such as regional current conditions, advertisements for the local station or for AccuWeather, etc. Below these two areas are the current time and temperature.
The bottom right portion of the bar displays the forecast for the next 12 hours, featuring sky condition and temperature, followed by the five day forecast, showing sky condition and predicted high and low temperatures. Also displayed are descriptive forecasts and forecast UV index values. The rotation for the current condition display cycle for one city, the 12-hour forecast cycle, and the five-day forecast cycle runs 10 seconds each. The middle left and bottom right portions of the bar also feature information on active watches, warnings, and advisories when they are in effect. A map showing the advisories for the entire viewing area are displayed on the middle left, the legend displaying the colors corresponding to each advisory on the bottom left, and a descriptive adivsory product with the expiration time of the advisory and a list of counties/parishes/boroughs in the advisory on the bottom right (although not always airing simultaneously with the watch/warning display to the left).
An L-bar revamp in December 2008 included new styling and the dissolution of the two-box setup in favor of a larger left box able to display more detailed radar and hourly forecasts, as well as AccuWeather and affiliate advertisements. The crawl area and bottom area also have a tweaked appearance.[clarification needed]
Before the December 2008 discontinuation of NBC Weather Plus, seven NBC-affiliated stations chose to use Local AccuWeather instead: KNVN, KOBI, and KOTI are all locally owned; KULR owned by Max Media; and WJHG, WILX and WMTV are owned by Gray Television. Since December 2008 as either the NBC stations chose to discontinue using the Weather Plus system for local use or the systems became outmoded, several other NBC stations have begun to switch over to Local AccuWeather instead of picking up NBC's suggested replacement for Weather Plus, Universal Sports. In one rare case, both the ABC and NBC affiliates in Phoenix formerly carried the network, although the ABC station had chosen more of a focus on traffic conditions (as noted in the paragraph above) for their version of the subchannel, which is now an affiliate of the Live Well Network.
In September 2010, AccuWeather began to provide the channel's data components to their first non-commercial television client, for Milwaukee's PBS member organization Milwaukee Public Television's WMVS. WTMJ-TV already carries Local AccuWeather in that market, but WMVS's digital AccuWeather subchannel is purposefully structured to meet non-commercial guidelines and focuses more on local mapping, while not making any mention of AccuWeather to speak of or airing LAWC content, substituting NOAA Weather Radio audio from local station KEC60 instead.
Not all of the stations air the digital channel's complete daily transmission; a few AccuWeather affiliates also air a limited amount of syndicated programming, and may even air regularly scheduled network programming (usually sports) when the main channel cannot.
Comparisons to Other Weather Channels
The channel has similarities and differences to its main competitors, The Weather Channel (and counterpart digital service Weatherscan) and WeatherNation. The AccuWeather programming lineup provides national and regional video forecasts. In addition, there are AccuWeather travel, sports, and lifestyle segments. Most local affiliates add their own local weather updates and some even include local news and traffic updates. Each segment's length, including advertisements and local segments, is denoted by a playback bar along the bottom portion of the video portion, allowing a viewer to always know how long before their segment of interest will air.
Unlike The Weather Channel, The Local AccuWeather Channel has an L-bar format (which is implemented on Weatherscan and is extremely similar to the former NBC Weather Plus L-bar) so that, even when the video window is playing content such as a national forecast, local information is always available around the periphery of the screen. A station can either utilize the default setup of having segment names scroll below the video window, or display a scrolling news ticker of headlines, traffic or weather information. The data area's background image is also changed every hour in order to prevent LCD burn-in.
The channel goes into a special mode when severe weather occurs, like Weatherscan. Several affiliates also break from the Local AccuWeather content when breaking news occurs and the station wants to utilize the subchannel for either extended news and weather coverage, or to push main channel programming to the subchannel. Weatherscan, however, does not feature any on-camera meteorologists, as its content is generated completely by weather computer at the cable headend.
The major difference between The Weather Channel and AccuWeather is that all national and regional weather forecast segments are not broadcast live on AccuWeather but are on The Weather Channel; AccuWeather pretapes all of its weather forecasts every few hours, which poses a problem during severe weather events when current warnings are not able to be carried out by AccuWeather's on-camera meteorologists (The Weather Channel has always had its meteorologists disseminate current severe weather warnings on-air during severe weather events due to its live forecast format).
Unlike NBC Weather Plus, the broadcast television affiliates with The Local AccuWeather Channel are not affiliated with one single network. Many of the stations are affiliated with the Fox, and ABC networks. For the most part, the local stations do not label the AccuWeather service as a so-called "Local AccuWeather Channel". Instead, the local stations choose to have their own names such as "Weather Now". Also, there is no separate logo for the channel. In most places, the channel carries the station brand and either the AccuWeather.com brand or a statement such as "powered by AccuWeather.com". Local affiliates can add content to the Local AccuWeather content that is either weather or other; the most prominent[according to whom?] example is in the KNXV-TV GoAZ.tv implementation, which relies less on the weather content and more on traffic maps and text cards featuring road closure information.
- "Fox Owned Stations Partner with AccuWeather".
- "Fox Television Stations Partners with AccuWeather".
- Changes to GoAZ.tv made December 2008