The Local AccuWeather Channel
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|Type||digital television network|
cable television network (weather/meteorology)
|Availability||Nationwide (in select areas)|
|Slogan||"All Weather, All the Time."|
The Local AccuWeather Channel is an American broadcast television network owned by AccuWeather. Operating as a 24-hour advertiser-supported network, it 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 network is also distributed on the digital cable tiers of certain providers at the discretion of the local affiliate. Most of the network's ad space is turned over to the local affiliate station.
The Local AccuWeather Channel is one of two television channels AccuWeather offers; the AccuWeather Network, launched in 2015, is a channel available only through cable and satellite providers containing no local inserts.
AccuWeather launched The Local AccuWeather Channel in 2005. By July 2011, it had signed up affiliates from Gannett Broadcasting, Belo Corp., Gray Television and Cox Media Group and other covering 27% of the US.
In May 2012, Accuweather signed a content agreement with Fox Television Stations to launch an online-only streaming weather channel using AccuWeather video content. This proposed channel never materialized.
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 majority 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 network 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 keep 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 an 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 use 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 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 PBS). The market's NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV had switched to The Local AccuWeather Channel in December 2009, and carried the network's programming until disaffiliation at the beginning of 2015; WMVS's AccuWeather subchannel is purposefully structured to meet non-commercial programming guidelines and focuses more on local weather maps, while not 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; 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. All affiliates have to preempt part of the schedule with at least three hours of educational children's programs in accordance with U.S. law, as AccuWeather (unusually among digital multicast networks) does not provide that programming as part of its feed.
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 have a separate logo. Instead, the local stations use 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".
- McAvoy, Kim (July 27, 2011). "Diginets Struggle For Place On TV's Frontier". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Fox Owned Stations Partner with AccuWeather".
- "Fox Television Stations Partners with AccuWeather".
- Changes to GoAZ.tv made December 2008