The Weather Network

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"TWN" redirects here. For other uses, see TWN (disambiguation).
The Weather Network
TWN Logo 2011.svg
The Weather Network logo
Launched September 1, 1988
Owned by Pelmorex
Pierre L. Morrissette - 59.64%
The Weather Channel (NBCUniversal, Blackstone Group & Bain Capital) - 30%
Other Canadian investors - 10.36%[1]
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
(2011–present)
480i (SDTV)
(1988–present)
Slogan Plan For Anything
Country Canada
Broadcast area National/Regional
Headquarters Oakville, Ontario
Formerly called WeatherNow (1988–1989)
Sister channel(s) MétéoMédia
Website The Weather Network
Availability
Satellite
Bell TV Channel 505 (SD)
Shaw Direct Channel 398 (SD)
Cable
Available on most Canadian cable systems Check local listings, channels may vary
Satellite radio
Sirius 138
IPTV
FibreOP Channel 14 (SD)
Bell Fibe TV Channel 505 (SD)
Channel 1505 (HD)
MTS Channel 16 (SD)
Channel 1016 (HD)
Optik TV Channel 128 (SD)
SaskTel Channel 17 (SD)

The Weather Network is a Canadian English language Category A weather news and information specialty channel that is owned by Pelmorex, which itself is principally owned by Pierre L. Morrissette in partnership with the similar American service, The Weather Channel (itself controlled by NBCUniversal).[2] The channel is based in Oakville, Ontario.

Pelmorex holds a single licence to broadcast in both English and French;[3] the French-language component of the service (a separate 24-hour feed) is branded as 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 compile 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 1,200 locations across Canada.

History[edit]

Screenshot of the channel's logo under the name WeatherNow.

The Weather Network was licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on December 1, 1987[4] 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.[5] The channel gained its present name on May 1, 1989. In the early years, TWN, and its sister channel, MeteoMedia, shared a single television feed 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 commercials aired on the other. The two services 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.[6] 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.[5] The channel launched its website in 1996.

Early Local Forecast segment from August 15, 1992. Major communities began receiving graphic forecasts in 1992 with almost all areas receiving the same graphic format by 1996.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, The Weather Network's broadcasts were divided into different programming blocks. One of the most notable was "EarthWatch", which originally began as a five-minute news segment discussing environmental and weather-related issues. The show had expanded as a full evening programming block in the mid-1990s, 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 a new studio facility 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 from the channel over time, many of whom moved back to Montreal. To date, Chris St. Clair is the only presenter from Montreal remaining.

The original logo, used from 1989-2011. The logo is still used on some occasions.

Late 2001 marked the beginning of a period of gradual, but significant changes with The Weather Network's programming, starting with the launch of a seven-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 1,200 local communities, commuter routes and regional highways, animated weather icons, and higher resolution weather graphics.[7] 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.[8] 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. The channel's management tried to prevent Star Choice from moving the channel as subscribers would have to pay an additional $7 to watch The Weather Network. 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 channel's morning show for the Toronto area 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 December 2, 2005. The Weather Network has gradually introduced new local weather products including an hourly forecast for the next 12 hours in 2006,[9] long term precipitation forecasts in 2008 and improved satellite and radar maps in 2009.

In early 2013, The Weather Network launched regional feeds, currently for Alberta and the Maritime provinces. Each feed features its own regional forecasts, weather stories, and where available, traffic information provided by Beat the Traffic. In 2014, the weather icons and typeface were improved on the local forecast weather coverage. Shaw Cable and Telus Optik TV have not upgraded their headends for communities to receive the new typeface and weather icons.

In November 2014, The Weather Network and CBC News announced a content-sharing relationship, in which TWN-produced national weather forecasts will appear on CBC News Network and during The National, and The Weather Network will also be able to feature weather-related stories from CBC News on its own television and digital outlets. The arrangement began on December 8, 2014 as a one-year trial.[10]

Programming[edit]

Local forecast[edit]

A notable feature of The Weather Network is its local forecast. On cable providers, a report for the nearest weather station to the cable headend is given, from current conditions 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.[11]

On most satellite providers, the segment is a two minute runthrough of weather conditions and three-day forecasts for major cities across Canada. Some digital television providers in Canada (primarily IPTV services, such as Bell Fibe TV and Telus Optik) may also offer The Weather Network iTV, an app which allows users to view expanded local forecasts.

Studio/Live Programming[edit]

The Weather Network broadcasts in a news-wheel format, featuring various forecast or weather-related segments throughout the hour.

For some regions including the Greater Toronto Area, Alberta and the Maritime provinces, "Regional forecasts" are shown every half hour, featuring forecasts and weather stories specifically for its respective region. For some areas, traffic reports are also presented during the morning and afternoon commute. For other regions "National forecasts" provide a detailed analysis of the current weather across Canada, including the weather expected nationwide over the next four days. The national forecast airs following the local forecast at the top and bottom of each and every hour.

The remaining half hour cycle features various weather stories from across the country and around the world. In addition, TWN airs a variety of smaller segments including:

  • Force of Nature - (Featured every 10 minutes on the  :3's, a show-reel of significant weather making headlines around the world), and Force of Nature Extended segment where a news reporter gives an in-depth description of the footage shown.
  • School Day Forecast - (Weekday mornings from 5-11 a.m. ET from September to June)
  • Lawn & Garden Forecast (Spring/Summer)
  • Pollen Forecast (Spring/Summer)
  • UV Protection Tips / UV Report (Spring/Summer)
  • Air Quality Health Index (Spring/Summer)
  • Flu Report (Fall/Winter)
  • Science Behind the Weather
  • The Long Ranger
  • Around The World In :80

The Weather Network's news department won the first annual Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Award for network television. 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.

The Weather Network HD[edit]

The Weather Network HD logo

The Weather Network HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of The Weather Network that launched on May 30, 2011. It is currently available on Cogeco, EastLink, MTS, Rogers Cable and Shaw Cable. The HD simulcast for cable and IPTV providers currently do not offer local forecasts unlike the standard definition feed. Optik TV and Vidéotron are the major providers currently not providing the HD channel.

Satellite services[edit]

In 2006, Bell TV and The Weather Network started an interactive version of The Weather Network, enabling viewers to set their city and view specific forecasts every time.

Web and mobile services[edit]

In addition to its website, 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[edit]

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 6.0 is the latest version. WeatherEye HD is a tablet version of the application that is currently available on iPad and BlackBerry PlayBook.

The Weather Network Mobile[edit]

The Weather Network Mobile (formerly WeatherEye Mobile) is an app available on most smartphones. The Weather Network Mobile is currently available on iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Android smartphones.

Criticism[edit]

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 U.S.-based The Weather Channel. In the past, there was little to no advertising. Currently, local forecasts are sponsored using static logos during and after forecasts.

The channel 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.[12]

Notable on-air presenters[edit]

Current presenters[edit]

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Former presenters[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CRTC ownership charts
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2011-07-22). "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-438". Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  4. ^ Decision CRTC 87-899 CRTC 1997-12-01
  5. ^ a b Sarah Dougherty, Weather Network bucks media-business trend, Canwest News Service via The Gazette (Montreal), December 31, 2008
  6. ^ "WeatherStar4000 In Canada"
  7. ^ Press Release - The Weather Network like you've never seen it before - "[1][dead link]", March 27, 2002.
  8. ^ Press Release - The Weather Network launches its spring programming - "[2][dead link]", March 29, 2004
  9. ^ Press Release - Spring has Sprung at The Weather Network - "[3][dead link]", March 29, 2006
  10. ^ "Its outlook stormy, CBC turns to the Weather Network". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Weather News: we Have a Winner! - The Weather Network
  12. ^ "Complaints TWN focus on southern Ontario". 

External links[edit]