The Weather Network
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)|
|The Weather Network|
The Weather Network logo
|Launched||September 1, 1988|
|Owned by||Pelmorex Media Inc.
Pierre L. Morrissette - 59.64%
The Weather Channel (NBCUniversal, Blackstone Group & Bain Capital) - 30%
Other Canadian investors - 10.36%
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Slogan||"Plan For Anything"|
|Formerly called||WeatherNow (1988 - 1989)|
|Website||The Weather Network|
|Bell TV||Channel 505 (SD)|
|Shaw Direct||Channel 398 (SD)|
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Check local listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Aliant TV||Channel 14 (SD)|
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 505 (SD)|
|MTS||Channel 16 (SD)
Channel 1016 (HD)
|Optik TV||Channel 17 (SD)|
|SaskTel||Channel 17 (SD)|
TWN is based in Oakville, Ontario and is owned by Pelmorex, which is itself principally owned by Pierre L. Morrissette in partnership with the similar American service, The Weather Channel (itself controlled by NBCUniversal).
Pelmorex holds a single licence to broadcast in both English and French; the French-language component of the service (a separate 24-hour feed) is branded MétéoMédia. TWN has a separate feed for the Greater Toronto Area, much like MétéoMédia's separate feed for Metropolitan Montreal, Quebec. An audio-only simulcast of the channel is also broadcast on Sirius Canada channel 138.
Pelmorex employs its own meteorologists to make forecasts and graphical weather products. Pelmorex meteorologists use an in-house technology called Pelmorex Forecast Engine or PFE. Pelmorex also uses a localization technology known as PMX, a proprietary system that is able to deliver separate forecasts for over 1200 locations across Canada.
The Weather Network was licensed by the CRTC on December 1, 1987 and began broadcasting on September 1, 1988 as WeatherNow, under the ownership of engineering firm Lavalin Inc. (now known as SNC-Lavalin) and Landmark Communications. The channel gained its present name on May 1, 1989. In the early years, TWN, and its sister station, MeteoMedia, shared a single television signal via analogue transponder on one of the Anik satellites, with computer-generated local forecasts airing on one while the video feed of a live forecaster or TV commercials aired on the other. The two stations began to run separately starting in 1994, while both were still based in Montreal. Local forecasts were generated using the same systems owned by the Weather Channel in the U.S. called WeatherStar. TWN began using its own system called PMX in 1996, which is still in use today. Pelmorex purchased the Weather Network from SNC-Lavalin in 1993, two years after the merger of SNC and Lavalin. The channel launched its web site in 1996.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Weather Network's broadcast was divided into different programming blocks. One of the most notable was "EarthWatch", which originally began as a 5-minute news segment discussing environmental and weather-related issues. The show had expanded as a full evening programming block in the mid-nineties, and the news segment later spun off as the current "Weather News" segment. Other programming blocks included the "Morning Report" and "Sea to Sea", two morning blocks that focused toward the eastern and western parts of the country respectively; an unnamed afternoon block which would later be known as "Across Canada"; and the "Weekend Report", later known as "This Weekend". These programming blocks were discontinued in 2002, although "This Weekend" continued to air for some time afterward.
On May 2, 1998, the Weather Network started broadcasting nationally from its new studio in Mississauga, Ontario after relocating from Montreal. This led to the departure of several presenters, notably those who were on air during weekends. Several new presenters arrived at the time, while many of the Montreal presenters initially relocated, most departed TWN over time, many of whom moved back to Montreal. To date, Chris St. Clair is the only presenter from Montreal remaining.
Late 2001 marked the beginning of a period of gradual, but significant changes with the Weather Networks programming, starting with the launch of a 7-day and short term precipitation forecast during the Local Forecast. In 2002, the Weather Network introduced "Metacast Ultra", a weather presentation system that consisted of weather maps featuring more than 1200 local communities, commuter routes and regional highways, animated weather icons, and higher resolution weather graphics. On March 29, 2004, the Weather Network introduced a new 14-day trend outlook as part of the local cable weather package. It provided a two-week look at how the weather would trend compared to normal temperature values and weather conditions for that time of year. In June 2004, the Weather Network took legal action against Star Choice (Now Shaw Direct) after moving TWN on a new bundle without giving any notice to its subscribers. TWN tried to prevent Star Choice from moving the channel as subscribers would have to pay an additional $7 to watch the channel. In late 2004, TWN made improved local forecast coverage, providing more localized forecasts in up to 1,200 communities across Canada.
The Weather Network relocated its headquarters to Oakville, Ontario in November 2005. The local (Toronto) morning show made its debut at the brand new broadcast facility on November 29, 2005, while the network's national programming started broadcasting from the new facility on Friday, December 2, 2005. The Weather Network has gradually introduced new local weather products including an hourly forecast for the next 12 hours in 2006, long term precipitation forecasts in 2008 and improved satellite and radar maps in 2009.
The Weather Network broadcasts in a news-wheel format, featuring various forecast or weather-related segments throughout the hour. The Weather Network broadcasts from provincial divisions as of January 2013, featuring stories only effecting the broadcasted area.
A notable feature of the Weather Network is its local forecast. On cable providers, a report for the nearest weather station to the cable head-end is given, from current conditions all the way to two-week forecasts. The local forecast occurs "every 10 minutes on the tens" (analogous to the Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s"). The segment is well known by frequent viewers for its background music. In January 2010, an online poll was held that allowed viewers to vote for their favorite Local Forecast music, which would play during the morning hours.
On most satellite providers, the segment is a two minute runthrough of weather conditions and 3-Day forecasts in major centres across Canada. Those subscribed to the Bell TV satellite service previously had the option of viewing a similar local forecast to that of cable providers, using ExpressVu's iTV service, however the local interactive service has been removed from Bell TV.
"National and long range forecasts" provide a detailed analysis of the current weather across Canada including the weather expected nationwide over the next four days across Canada in the long range forecast. The national forecast airs following the local forecast at the top and bottom of each and every hour.
For residents in southern Ontario, particularly the Greater Toronto Area, forecasts have been changed for the viewing area. At the top and bottom of the hour, one of the presenters gives a 'Regional Forecast' focusing on current conditions around the Toronto listening area, in the style of a local news weathercast. Immediately following is 'Your Long Range Forecast' giving conditions for the next 4 days in southern Ontario. The new programming is a continuation throughout the day of Good Morning Toronto.
"Weather news" airs at :12 and :42 minutes after each hour. This is a four- to five-minute newscast highlighting weather stories and environmental issues and includes packaged news reports. The Weather Network news department won the first annual Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Award for network TV. This award is given by the Radio and Television News Director's Association (RTNDA) for the best news reports on a subject of cultural diversity. The Weather Network then won for its 2006 two-part news series on weather and black history. The Weather Network also won a World Medal from the NY Festivals International TV Broadcasting Awards for a 2007 story on a blind woman learning to sail who uses her other senses to determine changes in wind patterns and potential storms. It won the same award again in 2008 for a story on a man and his seeing-eye dog trying to adapt to a harsh New Brunswick winter.
"Force of Nature" airs every 10 minutes on the 2's and explains the natural disasters that are going on arount the world. There is also Force of Nature Extended where a newsreporter talks and describes what is happening in the video.
Other segments – year-round
- Travellers Forecast
- School Day Forecast - Airs weekday mornings from 5-11 AM ET from September to June
- Active Weather - Provides a detailed synopsis of active weather across Canada for the short term period.
- Force of Nature - Gives an outlook on international stories with videos. Aires every 10 minutes in the 2's.
Weather segments – spring/summer/fall
- Lawn & Garden Forecast
- Pollen Forecast
- UV Report
- Air Quality Health Index
Weather segments – winter
- Flu Report
- Highway Conditions
- Ski & Snowboard Conditions
- Climate Change
- Facts of Fishing (Spring/Summer)
- Lawn & Garden Report (Spring/Summer)
- Weather and Your Pets
- Weather and Your Car (Winter)
- Under the Weather
- Vacation Bound (Winter)
- Weather and Your Home
- Weather Wise
- The Great Outdoors
- Going Green
Hourly and seasonal programming schedule
The Weather Network follows a schedule that repeats each hour, based on the current season. The spring/summer programming schedule often starts on the last Monday of March. It switches to the fall schedule the day after Thanksgiving, with the winter schedule going into effect on the first Monday of December.
In the Greater Toronto Area, the top and bottom of every hour which airs the National Forecast will be replaced instead with another following similar broadcast of a separate feed with the 'Regional Forecast' and 'Your Long Range Forecast'.
The Weather Network HD
The HD simulcast for cable and IPTV providers currently do not offer local forecasts unlike the standard definition feed.
Web and mobile services
In addition to its web site, the Weather Network runs an e-mail and text messaging service called WeatherDirect, that sends weather forecasts via e-mail. There is also an e-mail service for pollen conditions and road conditions. The Weather Network also operates a Twitter and Facebook account, which include Severe Weather alerts and Weather News.
WeatherEye is a free widget application available for PC and Mac desktops. The application includes local weather conditions and forecasts, video forecasts, and user-submitted photos and videos. WeatherEye 5.0 is the latest version. WeatherEye HD is a tablet version of WeatherEye currently available on iPad and Blackberry Playbook.
The Weather Network Mobile
The Weather Network Mobile (formerly WeatherEye Mobile) is an app available on most smartphones. The Weather Network Mobile is currently available on iPhone, Blackberry and Android Smartphones.
The network has been criticized for its excessive use of advertising through commercials and forecasts and some weather segments (e.g., hot spots, picnic/barbecue report, etc.) - which has led to less time for detailed forecasts and more time spent on advertising. The same problem also occurs with the U.S. based Weather Channel. In the past, there was little to no advertising. Currently, local forecasts are sponsored using static logos during and after forecasts.
The station has also been criticized for putting more coverage over the weather in Southern Ontario than the rest of Canada during its national segments. The 2008 launch of local programming for the Greater Toronto Area had also further limited updated forecasts throughout the rest of Canada.
On-air presenters (Starting July 30, 2012):
(All Times Eastern)
|On TWN Since|
|Chris Murphy||Yes||1999, 2012|
|5:30-9:00 a.m. (GTA)||Emily Vukovic (maternity leave)||No||2007|
|9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.||Chris Mei||Yes||2006|
|2:00-7:00 p.m.||Suzanne Leonard||Yes||1998|
|7:00-11:00 p.m.||Gary Archibald||No||2002, 2010|
|11:00 p.m.–5:00 a.m.||Kim MacDonald||Yes||1998|
(All Times Eastern)
|On TWN Since|
|6:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.||Chris St. Clair||Yes||1995|
|2:00-7:00 p.m.||Michelle Nelson||No||2012|
|7:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.||Michelle Nelson||No||2012|
|12:00–6:00 a.m.||Nadine Powell||Yes||2008|
On-Call, Video On Demand hosts
|Weather Anchor||Video on Demand||On-call||On TWN Since|
Six TWN presenters are members of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS). The Weather Network & MeteoMedia have more CMOS based presenters than any other Canadian weather media sources. On TWN, Chris Murphy, Kim MacDonald, Chris Mei, Suzanne Leonard, Chris St. Clair and Nadine Powell are all CMOS certified.
Former on-air presenters
- The Weather Channel, the American equivalent of the Weather Network.
- MétéoMédia, French version of the Weather Network.
- CRTC ownership charts
- NBC press release[dead link] - included in the list of items to be acquired: "The Weather Channel also holds a minority interest in Pelmorex, a Canadian weather company."
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2011-07-22). "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-438". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
- Decision CRTC 87-899 CRTC 1997-12-01
- Sarah Dougherty, Weather Network bucks media-business trend, Canwest News Service via The Gazette (Montreal), December 31, 2008
- "WeatherStar4000 In Canada"
- Press Release - The Weather Network like you've never seen it before - "[dead link]", March 27, 2002.
- Press Release - The Weather Network launches its spring programming - "[dead link]", March 29, 2004
- Press Release - Spring has Sprung at The Weather Network - "[dead link]", March 29, 2006
- Weather News: we Have a Winner! - The Weather Network
- "Bell TV".
- "Complaints TWN focus on southern Ontario".