The Weather Channel

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For the Australian Weather Channel that formerly went by the same name as the U.S. channel, see Sky News Weather Channel.
The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel logo 2005-present.svg
The Weather Channel logo (2005-present)
Launched May 2, 1982
Owned by The Weather Company (TWCC Holdings:[1] consortium owned by NBCUniversal (25%),[2][3] The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital,[4] exact Bain and Blackstone percentages unknown)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV, letterboxed with weather information)
Slogan It's Amazing Out There
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area United States, Puerto Rico and The Bahamas[5]
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia
Sister channel(s) Weatherscan
NBC
CNBC
MSNBC
NBCSN
Website www.weather.com
Availability
Terrestrial
UHF-TV Inc.
(Willmar, Minnesota)
Channel 34
Selective TV, Inc.
(Alexandria, Minnesota)
Channel 50
Satellite
Dish Network 214 (HD/SD)
DirecTV 362 (HD/SD)
Cable
Available on most U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider or channel guide for channel availability
IPTV
Verizon FiOS 619 (HD)
119 (SD)
AT&T U-verse 1225 (HD)
225 (SD)
Sky Angel 320
Streaming media
OneLink Communications 96

The Weather Channel is an American basic cable and satellite television channel which broadcasts weather forecasts and weather-related news and analyses, along with documentaries and entertainment programming related to weather. In addition to its programming on the cable channel, TWC also provides forecasts for terrestrial and satellite radio stations, newspapers, and websites, and maintains an extensive online presence at weather.com and through a set of mobile smartphone and tablet computer applications. A digital cable/satellite sister network, Weatherscan, offers 24-hour automated forecasts and radar.

The network is owned by The Weather Company (formerly The Weather Channel Companies),[6][7] which also includes the online weather services Weather Underground and Intellicast, and the weather data and software company Weather Services International (WSI).[7] The Weather Company is owned by a consortium[1] owned in turn by NBCUniversal and the investment firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. Its headquarters are located in Cumberland, Georgia, near Atlanta.

As of August 2013, The Weather Channel was received by approximately 99,926,000 American households that subscribe to a pay television service (87.50% of U.S. households with television), making it the most common cable channel in the country.[8] Actual viewership of the channel averaged 210,000 during 2013 and has been declining for several years.[9] Content from The Weather Channel is available for purchase from the NBCUniversal Archives.

History[edit]

The Weather Channel was founded on July 18, 1980,[10] by former WLS-TV/Chicago chief meteorologist and Good Morning America forecaster John Coleman and then-president of the channel's original owner Landmark Communications (now Landmark Media Enterprises), Frank Batten. It was launched on May 2, 1982.

Current[edit]

The Weather Channel uses special proprietary equipment that inserts local forecast and weather alert information if it is viewed on a cable television provider. The original WeatherStar technology has been upgraded on larger cable systems to the IntelliStar, which incorporates "Vocal Local" to announce current conditions, weather bulletins and detailed local forecasts. Subscribers of satellite, IPTV and some smaller cable providers 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, popular and smooth jazz music plays in the background during these segments. The original WeatherStar technology is still in use by small cable companies that cannot afford to upgrade to the IntelliStar.

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

TWC's sister channels in Canada are the English language The Weather Network and the French language MétéoMédia, which use similar technology that is currently in use in the United States. TWC also runs websites in Latin America ("Canal de Tiempo"), 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 its U.S. 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, in honor of TWC's 20th anniversary.

Sale to NBCUniversal, Bain, and Blackstone[edit]

On January 3, 2008, Landmark Communications put up The Weather Channel and its assets for sale.[11] On July 6, 2008, NBC Universal, Bain Capital and Blackstone Group agreed to purchase The Weather Channel from Landmark.[12] The sale was finalized on September 12, 2008. 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 since switched to The Local AccuWeather Channel, Weather Nation TV, kept the Weather Plus engine, or switched affiliations to other networks such as This TV or the Retro Television Network; some have shut down entirely.

From November 2008 to February 2009, The Weather Channel laid off seven long-time on-camera meteorologists: Kristina Abernathy, Eboni Deon, Kristin Dodd, Rich Johnson, Cheryl Lemke, Mark Mancuso and Dave Schwartz (Schwartz would return in April 2014). With the exception of Deon, all had been on the air for more than ten years, and three of them had been employed by the network for more than twenty years. In July 2010, The Weather Channel terminated Bill Keneely, the last of the original on-camera meteorologists who appeared on the network's first broadcasts in 1982. In December 2010, the network also laid off on-camera meteorologist Nicole Mitchell; Mitchell would file a lawsuit against The Weather Channel in 2012, alleging that she had been terminated because the new owners disapproved of the time required by her simultaneous duties as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve as one of the "Hurricane Hunters" team.[13] Such reserve duties are protected by U.S. law. Mitchell now serves as the chief meteorologist at Al Jazeera America, who also employs Eboni Deon.

Inevitably, the merger of NBC on-air meteorologists began in May 2009. Former NBC Weather Plus meteorologist Todd Santos joined The Weather Channel on May 2 of that year. Al Roker of NBC's Today began hosting a one-hour morning program called Wake Up With Al, alongside meteorologist Stephanie Abrams later in the summer. However, for New York City-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's graphics scheme. On September 10, 2009, The Weather Channel co-founder Frank Batten died.[14][15]

Later years[edit]

In January 2012, David Kenny took over as CEO of The Weather Channel, replacing former AOL executive Mike Kelly, who had been appointed as the company's CEO in the summer of 2009. Although all operations, sales support and marketing and the bulk of employees are located in the headquarters in Atlanta, David Kenny declined to move there, and continues to live and work from his home in Boston,[16] visiting Atlanta once or twice per quarter. This is counter to general company policy which discourages telecommuting for the majority of employees.[citation needed] Later in 2012, the name of The Weather Channel's holding company, The Weather Channel Companies, was changed to "The Weather Company".[6]

Dave Schwartz returned to The Weather Channel[17][18] on April 21, 2014.[citation needed]

International versions[edit]

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 apparently 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.

  • A UK version of The Weather Channel ran from September 1, 1996 to January 30, 1998, when it was shut down due to low viewership. It shared channel space with Sky Movies Gold/Sky Box Office 2, The Racing Channel and Galavision, airing for five hours a day. It was designed for cable as it had specific local weather; in some areas, it was carried on cable providers 24 hours a day.
  • TWC also ran The Weather Channel Latin America, a Spanish language network serving Mexico, Puerto Rico and South America. This network launched in 1996, but ceased operations on December 20, 2002 due to budget cuts. The channel's three original on-camera weather presenters were Paola Elorza, Sal Morales and Mari Carmen Ramos; all three left the channel within a year of its launch and respectively went on to work for Univision in Miami, Telemundo in Los Angeles, and CNN International. In 1998, a Portuguese version was launched in Brazil, which ceased operations on the same date due to low ratings.

Local on the 8s[edit]

Main article: Local on the 8s

Since its inception, The Weather Channel has incorporated local forecasts using WeatherStar computers installed at cable headends. Until 1995, the forecasts had aired 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, which now comprise the majority of the broadcast day). With the introduction of the current IntelliStar system, traffic information was also incorporated alongside local weather information, in areas where traffic.com (via its TrafficPulse service) provides traffic data; however, traffic information was discontinued from the local forecast segments in 2010.

The WeatherStar systems also utilize a Lower Display Line (LDL) on the bottom of the screen during all programming (until November 2013, it had been limited to only local forecasts and national programming while being removed from the screen during commercial breaks), providing current conditions for a specific location and two or three towns within 15 miles, almanac data and forecasts on cable headends using the IntelliStar system and only current conditions, and forecasts on cable headends using WeatherStar XL and older models. WeatherStar units also allow cable providers to scroll text messages when in use, including the capability to broadcast severe weather advisories and warnings when severe weather occurs in a given area, displaying warnings for the county in which the WeatherStar system's cable headend is located and surrounding counties in the immediate area.

Other services[edit]

High definition[edit]

The 1080i high definition simulcast feed of The Weather Channel launched on September 26, 2007. DirecTV was the first provider to add the HD feed. At that time, no programming was actually presented in high definition, except for a national "satellite" version of the "Local on the 8s". The channel premiered its first high definition programs on October 1, 2007, with the debuts of Epic Conditions and WeatherVentures; these were followed by the premiere of When Weather Changed History on January 6, 2008.

Throughout the final months of 2007 to the early months of 2008, various cable providers began adding The Weather Channel HD to their channel lineups, including those in the Boston, Massachusetts, Austin, Texas, San Antonio, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana markets.[citation needed] It began to be carried on Dish Network on May 13, 2008. Comcast later began adding the HD feed in some select markets such as Chicago. Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, both of which serve the New York metropolitan area, also added the HD feed in late July 2008. The IntelliStar 2, which provides "Local on the 8s" segments in HD, was officially released in July 2010.[citation needed] The IntelliStar 2 features an animated Lower Display Line, current conditions for a given location and its surrounding areas, weather bulletins, regional and local doppler radar loops, and local forecasts for the following several hours, the next 24 to 72 hours, and the next seven days. Voice narration is done by TWC meteorologist Jim Cantore.[citation needed] The system was gradually rolled out to major cable providers across the country; the IntelliStar HD units will only be used on The Weather Channel HD and will not replace the IntelliStar or other units on TWC's standard definition feed or on Weatherscan. DirecTV added "Local on the 8s" to its HD feed on September 29, 2009.[19]

TWC began broadcasting studio programming in high definition on June 2, 2008. The new HD studio features various environmentally friendly technologies. As of 2014, all of TWC's programming (with the exception of It Could Happen Tomorrow, Full Force Nature, and older episodes of Storm Stories) is currently broadcast in HD. On the standard definition feed, all programming is shown in the same 16:9 presentation as the high definition feed, though space that would usually be used for letterboxes is instead utilized for weather information and the ticker at the bottom of the screen.

The Weather Channel on Demand[edit]

The Weather Channel on Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service. Unlike the linear television channel and its sister website, the service does not provide national or local weather forecasts, and only offers select episodes of original series and specials previously seen on the network.

Weatherscan[edit]

Main article: Weatherscan

Weatherscan (originally called Weatherscan Local from 1999 to 2003) is a digital cable and satellite channel that operates as a sister network of The Weather Channel. Launched in 1999, Weatherscan is available on some cable providers in the United States, often on their digital cable lineups, though it is available in fewer markets than The Weather Channel; some providers, however, place the channel on their basic cable tier alongside The Weather Channel. A separate feed for satellite subscribers on Dish Network launched in the summer of 2010.

Weatherscan's forecast products are generated by an IntelliStar unit at the cable provider's headend, which is configured differently than the IntelliStars used by The Weather Channel, in that different graphics and additional weather products are featured and that the service airs an uninterrupted, rolling local weather format with information being shown on a continuous loop. Similar to the now-defunct NBC Weather Plus, Weatherscan displays an "L"-bar that provides current conditions and weather forecasts for a particular location and the surrounding area at all times during programming, with weather information also being shown on a smaller screen surrounding the "L"-bar.

Radio and newspaper presence[edit]

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

TWC also has content partnerships with a number of local U.S. radio stations to provide local forecasts, using announcers separate from the television channel. For some affiliates, The Weather Channel provides a limited amount of live coverage during local severe weather events (with the Georgia-based announcers connected via ISDN). Distribution of TWC radio content is currently handled by Westwood One.

Similarly, TWC also provides weather reports for a number of newspapers around the United States. This included a half-page national forecast for USA Today that it provided content for until September 2012, when rival AccuWeather replaced The Weather Channel as the paper's forecast provider.[20] TWC's forecasts were replaced with those provided by AccuWeather on the USAToday.com website one month later.

Online services[edit]

TWC provides numerous customized forecasts for online users through its website, weather.com, including home and garden, and event planning forecasts. It also provides WAP access for mobile phone users, desktop widgets for quick reference by computer users, and customized weather feeds for individual websites Cell phone customers are also able to have local forecasts sent to their mobile handsets from TWC via SMS by sending a text message with their ZIP code to 42278, which spells "4cast". The Weather Channel also provides weather forecasts for other services including Yahoo!.[21]

In addition, The Weather Channel maintains apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple TV, Kindle Fire, and Windows mobile and tablet platforms. TWC formerly maintained two versions of its mobile applications: a free version that incorporates advertising and a pay version called "TWC Max" that does not feature advertising, the latter was discontinued in favor of an all ad-supported model on January 6, 2014. Aside from location-based weather forecast information, the apps provide radar maps, and tropical and seasonal updates, as well as social media related functions that track weather-related Twitter messages and allow users to send Facebook friends severe weather alerts.

In July 2012, The Weather Channel purchased competing weather website Weather Underground. While TWC had already has had success with its own mobile apps, it plans to use Weather Underground's large network of digital forecasting and tracking websites to bolster its digital growth. Weather Underground operates separately from The Weather Channel and continues to provide its own forecasts, though its website incorporates some weather news and video content from TWC.[22]

Programming[edit]

Weather forecast programming made up TWC's entire schedule prior to its incorporation of weather-related original programming in 2000 (with few breakaways from its forecast programs prior to then, outside of the educational program The Weather Classroom). The number of hours devoted to TWC's in-studio forecast programs have steadily eroded since then. Currently, its live studio programs air regularly from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time on weekdays and 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time on weekends. Wake Up with Al and AMHQ air weekday mornings between 5:30 am Eastern Time and 11 a.m. Eastern Time; all other live programming is broadcast under the title Weather Center Live.

The Weather Channel also broadcasts original weather-related documentary/entertainment series and specials. These programs run from 8 p.m.-4 a.m. Eastern Time on weekdays and 2 p.m.-4:30 a.m. Eastern Time on weekends (The Weather Classroom airs at 4:30 a.m. on weekend mornings). In cases of severe weather coverage, original programming may be preempted by The Weather Channel for special live editions of Weather Center Live; pre-emptions vary between local (isolated to viewers in the region affected by a particular weather event) and nationwide, depending upon the impact of the weather phenomenon/story.

Movies[edit]

On October 30, 2009, The Weather Channel, in a move deemed controversial by many longtime viewers, began airing weather-related movies on Friday nights. The first feature to be broadcast by the channel was The Perfect Storm.[23]

After December 2009, these weekly movies were discontinued for the time being in favor of running Weather Center, which already aired throughout primetime during the rest of the work week. Despite the controversy, the Friday night film block resumed on March 26, 2010 with Into Thin Air: Deaths on Everest under the title "Flick and a Forecast." The Weather Channel meteorologist Jen Carfagno and MSNBC contributor Touré co-hosted the film block. During the broadcasts, the Lower Display Line that normally appears on TWC shows to provide local weather information (with breakaways during forecast and most long-form programs only for commercial breaks) was removed, appearing only a few times each hour during the film as a substitute for the standard "Local on the 8s" segments, with a TWC logo bug appearing at other times during the film when the LDL was not on-screen.

While the films shown within the "Flick and a Forecast" block were weather-related in some form, some films featured (such as Misery and Deep Blue Sea) had only a minimal tie to weather. NewsBlues reported the cancellation of the movie block on May 31, 2010; its removal was due in part to viewer criticism of movies being shown on what is intended as a news and information channel, as well as a snafu that occurred during a tornado outbreak in April 2010 that led a scheduled movie to be aired instead of wall-to-wall severe weather coverage. The "Flick and a Forecast" presentations were then replaced by an additional hour of Weather Center and a two-hour block of long-form original programs.

Current on-air staff[edit]

Branding[edit]

Logos[edit]

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

Since NBCUniversal became a co-owner of the network in 2008, the network has participated in the "Green is Universal" campaign, which occurs twice a year, usually being in April and November. The network's logo changes to a shade of green to showcase its support of being environmentally friendly.

First logo
May 2, 1982–October 1996 
Second logo
October 1996-August 15, 2005 
Logo for "Green is Universal" and "Earth Week" campaigns
August 15, 2005–present 
Third logo
Green is Universal/Earth Week logo 
Logo for HD simulcast feed
The Weather Channel HD logo, 2008–present 

Network slogans[edit]

  • "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" (1991–1996; U.K., 1996–1998; also used currently on NOAA Weather Network)
  • "No Place on Earth Has Better Weather" (1996–1998)
  • "Weather Fans You're Not Alone" (1997–1998, paired with The Front campaign)
  • "Live By It" (2001–2005; also currently used by the Australian version)
  • "Bringing Weather to Life" (2005–February 2008; This slogan is still used on weather.com and certain other materials, e.g. mailing labels; Slogan made by Lambie-Nairn)
  • "The Weather Has Never Looked Better" (June 2–late 2008; also slogan for HD broadcasts)
  • "Weather All The Time" (tagline for November 2013 revamp)
  • "It's Amazing Out There" (November 12, 2013–present)[24]

Hurricane, severe weather, and winter coverage slogans[edit]

Hurricane coverage slogans[edit]
  • "Keeping You Ahead of the Storm" (used occasionally since the late 1990s)
  • "Hurricane Central" (August–October 2005; 2011–present)
  • "Your Hurricane Authority" (October 2005; 2008–present)
  • "The Hurricane Authority" (2006–2007; 2009–2011)
Severe weather coverage slogans[edit]
  • "Your Severe Weather Authority" (March–September 2009)
  • "The Severe Weather Authority" (September 2009–present)
  • "Tornado Central" (2012–present)
  • "Severe Storm Central" (2012–present)
Winter storm coverage slogans[edit]
  • "The Winter Weather Authority" (2006–2007)
  • "Your Winter Weather Authority" (2008–2012)
  • "Winter Storm Central" (2012–present)

Controversies and criticism[edit]

2007 global warming controversy[edit]

The website Capital Weather published an interview with WJLA-TV meteorologist Brian van de Graaff.[25] In this interview, 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.

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 website.[25] 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.

Global warming was voted #1 in The Weather Channel special 100 Biggest Weather Moments.

Programming controversies[edit]

The channel's original format was akin to that of a news and information cable network. Since the creation of the series Atmospheres in 2000 and Storm Stories in 2003, The Weather Channel has seen a gradual transition toward a mix of weather forecast programming and weather-related entertainment programming that paralleled the launch of sister network Weatherscan, the evolution of the always-on "L" bar/weather ticker, the development of weather.com and popular branded mobile phone applications, and the increased viewing and interest in documentary programs on the topic of weather. Currently, The Weather Channel broadcasts a large proportion of its non-forecast/news content on weekends with fourteen hours of the channel's weekend lineup consisting of such programming, along with eight hours of non-forecast programming each weekday. The decision to show movie and series content related to weather has caused criticism from many viewers and those in the media, who have blasted The Weather Channel for deviating from its format of running weather information 24 hours a day to run more infotainment programming.

The controversy further escalated on April 30, 2010, when The Weather Channel went ahead with airing the 1992 film Wind (a film about yachting that had little to do with weather, contrary to its name) at the same time a tornado outbreak was occurring in Missouri and Arkansas. Meteorologist Jim Cantore publicly stated on his Twitter profile that he was "severely misled" into believing the channel would cancel the movie in favor of tornado coverage and issued a public apology for the incident.[26] TWC continued showing the movie while it was giving special "dual-feed" updates to Intellistar units in the area, but much of the affected area was rural and had legacy STAR systems (WeatherSTAR Jr.'s, 4000s or XLs) or satellite that did not support the dual-feed feature.

In November 2013, the channel introduced a new initiative of "weather all the time" in response to the criticism; all original programming (which was rebranded under the tagline Natural Drama) will now have direct relevance to weather-related subjects, and the network reemphasized its promise to interrupt original programming either regionally or nationally during major weather events; in addition, The Weather Channel extended the display of its Lower Display Line to commercial breaks and through entire broadcasts of its original programs.[27]

Cable and satellite carriage disputes[edit]

Dish Network carriage dispute[edit]

On May 20, 2010, Dish Network announced that it was dropping The Weather Channel at midnight Eastern Time that day in favor of its own similar weather information channel, The Weather Cast. The carriage dispute was over the rates that The Weather Channel asked Dish Network to pay: from 11 cents per subscriber per month[28] to 12 cents,[29] a nine percent increase, totaling $140,000 per month. The dispute was also over the shift of The Weather Channel's programming format from an information-based channel to an entertainment-based service.[30] The Weather Channel said in a statement, "Dish has chosen to be the first distributor to drop The Weather Channel rather than pay the standard industry rates others in the industry have already agreed to pay",[29] and encouraged Dish Network customers to switch to other pay television providers. Dave Shull, senior vice president for programming for Dish Network said The Weather Channel's fees were harder for the satellite provider to justify paying as more people receive weather information through the internet and mobile services: "They're looking for bid increases when I feel like there's a real migration to the Web, and it's difficult to really justify those rate increases at this time."[31] On May 24, 2010, The Weather Channel stated that it had come to an agreement with Dish Network that would result in Dish carrying the channel for the next several years.[32] Despite the earlier announcement that The Weather Channel would be dropped, the channel was never officially removed from Dish Network. The Weather Cast was discontinued in anticipation of a Weatherscan-based service that would provide local weather information for Dish Network customers. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The proposed movie scheduled for the Friday after the deal was struck (May 28), Gorillas in the Mist, was dropped in favor of a six-hour marathon of Tornado Road.

DirecTV carriage dispute[edit]

DirecTV removed The Weather Channel from its lineup at 12 a.m. Eastern Time on January 14, 2014, after the two parties were unable to come to terms on a new carriage agreement;[33] as a result, DirecTV became the first major pay television provider to drop the channel in its history.[34] Two weeks before the channel's carriage agreement was set to expire on December 31 (after which the deadline for a new carriage deal was extended by two weeks), the satellite provider began carrying WeatherNation TV (the successor to The WeatherCast) on channel 361 on December 16, 2013 – placing the channel next to The Weather Channel's slot on channel 362;[35] WeatherNation replaced The Weather Channel on channel 362 (while still being carried on channel 361) when the latter channel was pulled.[34][36]

The Weather Channel's chief executive officer David Kenny stated that it offered DirecTV the best rate for its programming (according to SNL Kagan, The Weather Channel's average carriage fee currently is 13¢ per subscriber), and blasted the removal of the channel by the satellite provider stating that it was putting profits ahead of public safety.[33] Representatives for DirecTV stated that it added WeatherNation TV in response to subscriber complaints regarding the number of reality programs on The Weather Channel, which it estimated had amounted to 40% of its daily schedule[34][36] (WeatherNation TV, which outside of its carriage by DirecTV is primarily carried on broadcast television stations as a main channel affiliation or a digital multicast service, does not run programming outside of forecasts with the only interruption in its weather coverage coming from affiliates that carry children's programs to fulfill FCC educational programming requirements). DirecTV stated that weather information is also available through broadcast television stations carried as part of its local channel tier, as well as the provider's designated emergency channels.[36] The Weather Channel fought back by airing commercials encouraging people to not go to DirecTV and recently a parody of DirecTV's popular "When You..." ad campaign.

On April 8, 2014, The Weather Channel and DirecTV both settled on a new agreement (the TWC decided to alter its programming lineup by trimming half of its reality programming during the weekdays in response to DirecTV subscribers' complaints), with TWC returning to DirecTV on channel 362 the following day. Local weather using the red button didn't return until May 2, 2014.[37]

Winter storm naming[edit]

In the fall of 2012, The Weather Channel began to assign names to major winter storm systems. The channel's management stated the decision to start naming notable winter storms came as a way to more easily spread knowledge and raise awareness. By naming winter storms, TWC stated that the public would find it easier to follow storm information, social media will be able to refer to and discuss the storm, and people will have an easier time referring to the storm after it occurs.[38] Most independent sources identify the use of winter storm names by The Weather Channel as a form of SEO-friendly branding.[39]

It named a nor'easter that hit the East Coast of the United States in November 2012 after the Greek goddess Athena. During the 2012–13 season, The Weather Channel named 27 winter storms: Athena, Brutus, Caesar, Draco, Euclid, Freyr, Gandolf, Helen, Iago, Jove, Khan, Luna, Magnus, Nemo, Orko, Plato, Q, Rocky, Saturn, Triton, Ukko, Virgil, Walda, Xerxes, Yogi, Zeus, and Achilles.[40]

Multiple factors are taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to name a winter storm. This includes, but is not limited to, predicted snowfall and other precipitation, wind speeds, and the timing of the storm.[38]

The Weather Channel has provided the reasoning behind their decision to name certain storms, in particular Athena,[41] Brutus,[42] Gandolf,[43] Iago,[44] Khan,[45] Luna,[46] Magnus,[47] Nemo,[48] Saturn,[49] and Virgil.[50]

In response, the National Weather Service announced on November 7, 2012, that it would not recognize The Weather Channel’s names for winter storms, stating in a press release that it "does not use the name of winter storms in its products."[51][52][53] Similarly, references to the names are generally limited on TWC-provided forecasts seen on NBC's news programs.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The film Back to the Future Part II has a futuristic version of The Weather Channel that looks similar to today's logo in the year 2015 (but centered and without the blue box and with the planet Earth).[54]
  • In the film The Day After Tomorrow, The Weather Channel shows a tornado warning for Los Angeles.
  • In the Season 9 finale of the sitcom Friends, Rachel Green tunes into The Weather Channel in her hotel room in Barbados, as TWC on-camera meteorologist Melissa Barrington says it is sunny in New York City (the regular setting for the series); Rachel, as a result, calls her a "weather b****".
  • In the film Sharknado 2: The Second One, The Weather Channel was featured.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-says-TWCCs-dba-The-Weather-Channel-Companies-bank-amendment--PR_265763
  2. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-14/directv-drops-weather-channel-in-subscriber-fee-dispute.html
  3. ^ http://corporate.comcast.com/images/Public-Interest-Statement-FINAL.pdf
  4. ^ "NBC Universal, Bain Capital, and The Blackstone Group Sign Agreement to Acquire The Weather Channel Properties from Landmark Communications" (PDF) (Press release). Blackstone Group. July 6, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Nassau (Bahamas) Intellistar I: 8/5/11 1:48 A.M.". YouTube. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
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