Weatherscan

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Weatherscan
Weatherscan logo March 2016.png
Most recent Weatherscan logo used from March 2016 to December 2022.
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaSelected areas nationwide/selected cable providers
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Ownership
Owner
Sister channels
History
LaunchedMarch 31, 1999; 23 years ago (1999-03-31)
ClosedDecember 12, 2022; 54 days ago (2022-12-12)[2]
Former namesWeatherscan Local (1999–2003)
Links
Websiteweatherscan.net (Unofficial Recreation)

Weatherscan was an American digital cable and satellite television network owned by Allen Media Group.[3][4] A spinoff of The Weather Channel, Weatherscan featured uninterrupted local weather information in graphical format on a continuous loop that was generated by an IntelliStar unit installed at the cable provider's headend; unlike The Weather Channel, Weatherscan did not feature on-air talent of any kind.

History[edit]

The original Weatherscan logo, used from September 2005 to March 2016.

The channel launched on March 31, 1999, as Weatherscan Local. Originally, Weatherscan operated five collective services for local weather information: Weatherscan Local featured animated weather information with a complete local weather segment every two minutes; Weatherscan Radar featured a continuous Doppler radar loop, along with severe weather advisories when warranted; Weatherscan Plus (debuted April 30, 1999) featured activity-specific forecasts for golf, skiing, boating, beachgoing, and business and leisure travel; Weatherscan Plus Traffic (May 31, 1999) featured the same format as Weatherscan Plus with the inclusion of traffic information; Weatherscan Español, which launched with Weatherscan Plus Traffic, was a Spanish-language version of Weatherscan Plus allowing regional or international weather information.[5]

The IntelliStar unit used by Weatherscan was configured differently from that used by The Weather Channel, featuring different graphics and additional forecast products, with information running on a continuous basis. Vocal Local, a pre-recorded narration function installed in the IntelliStar system—which utilizes a different narration track than that used on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s forecast segments, featuring a female announcer—introduces several of the segments.

At its prime, Weatherscan was available in many major markets around the United States, though its availability was not as widespread as that of parent network The Weather Channel. Many cable providers offered Weatherscan on their digital tiers, although a few providers carry Weatherscan on their basic tier (where The Weather Channel is also offered). In 2011, Dish Network became the first satellite provider to add Weatherscan. Most cable providers that carried the channel had it identified as "Local weather" on their interactive channel guides (Weatherscan was also classified on TV Guide Channel as "Local weather" and/or under various abbreviations of such).

Verizon FiOS dropped Weatherscan, along with parent network The Weather Channel, from its lineup at 12:00 a.m. on March 10, 2015 after the two parties were unable to come to terms on a new carriage agreement. The service has been replaced by the local WeatherBug "widget" in some markets. No public announcement was made regarding this issue until over 12 hours after the discontinuation.[6] Verizon said its reason for dropping the services was because many customers turn to the internet and mobile apps for weather any time of day.[7]

While the domestic IntelliStars were decommissioned and replaced by newer IntelliStar 2 units on November 16, 2015, the modified IntelliStar units continued to run Weatherscan until December 12, 2022.[2]

Sale to Entertainment Studios[edit]

On March 22, 2018, Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios announced its intent to acquire The Weather Channel's television assets from an NBCUniversal/Blackstone Group partnership. The actual value is undisclosed, but was reported to be around $300 million; the channel's non-television assets, which were separately sold to IBM two years prior, were not included in the sale.[3][4]

End of operations[edit]

In a letter to the National Cable Television Cooperative, which most remaining cable affiliates are part of, dated September 12, 2022, Weather Group Television announced that they would be terminating the Weatherscan service no later than December 9, 2022, with a preference to take it off the air sooner rather than later.[8] Declining viewership, the availability of weather conditions and forecasts through computers as well as smartphone weather apps, and aging equipment were cited as the main reasons that the channel is going offline, making the operations of the once iconic service outdated and no longer necessary.[9] Those same reasons ultimately led to major television providers dropping the channel previously between March 2015 and December 2017.[10] In addition, Weatherscan did not broadcast in HD, which is nearly general for television news and weather in the United States by the time of the shut-down announcement.

The remaining providers exercised their options to air their in-house local weather services, switch to similar networks such as AccuWeather Network, WeatherNation, or Fox Weather; or delete the channel space entirely. However, Weatherscan has largely been replaced in function with Local Now.[11][12][13]

Weatherscan was officially discontinued on December 12, 2022, three days after the original end-of-service date.[2]

Products[edit]

Weatherscan displayed a variety of forecast products that show different types of weather information, some of which are not included on certain providers.

Segment title Description
Local Forecast
(1999-2022)
Used by all providers carrying the service, the segment provided local weather data, including the current observations, a local radar loop, a text-based 36-hour forecast, and a five-day forecast. This segment was mainly used for one city, but in some markets, the forecast segments incorporate multiple cities.
Local Doppler Radar
(1999-2022)
A one-minute continuous loop of Doppler radar imagery over the course of three hours. During severe weather situation, affiliates could choose to only show this segment or does so alongside the Local Forecast segment.
Airport Conditions
(1999-2022)
This segment, which was available in most markets, shows flight arrival, departure delays, and weather conditions for up to four airports within the headend's service area; a list of delays and current conditions for 8 selected major airports throughout the United States is also included.
Travel Forecast
(1999-2022)
Available in most markets, this segment featured a map featuring overall national weather pattern throughout the upcoming daypart (set to be current day's evening and next day's morning at around 4:00 a.m. and p.m. respectively), two-day forecast maps for the surrounding region and a three-day "destination forecast" for 9 selected U.S. cities.
International Forecast
(1999-2022)
Carried on only a few headends, this segment displaying the forecasted weather conditions and temperatures for select cities around the world.
Weather and Your Health
(1999-2022)
This segment featured health-related forecasts for the area, including air quality, pollen and ultraviolet indexes. A slide or two illustrating safety information relevant to the current season concluded the segment.
Ski and Snow
(seasonal)
(1999-2022)
This segment displayed snowfall forecasts and current skiing conditions (including present snowpack and snow density information) for select ski resorts throughout the country.
Golf Forecast
(seasonal)
(1999-2022)
This segment provided weather information for up to 4 golf courses and resorts within the area, as well as a golf index (gauging the forecast's impact on golfing activity) and a "tee time forecast" segment.
Garden
(seasonal)
(1999-2022)
Carried on only a few headends, this segment included forecasts tailored toward gardening and a "watering needs index" (gauging the forecast's impact on one's need to water lawn/garden), as well as maps showing forecasted precipitation amounts (both in the past and next 24 hours) and drought severity.
Boat and Beach
(seasonal)
(1999-2022)
Available only in coastal locations, this segment displayed marine forecasts, tidal information and forecasted surfing conditions.
Traffic Report
(2005-2010)
This segment displayed a live map showing traffic flow across the metropolitan area (red indicates jams, yellow indicates slow traffic, green indicates little to no traffic); a text-based construction report, and the average speed and trip time for major highways. Traffic Pulse provides the information.

During the early 2000s, when the channel's segments were generated mainly by WeatherStar XL systems, up to five different products, excluding the local product, could be chosen for display.[14]

Weatherscan timeline[edit]

Note: "Domestic IntelliStar" refers to STARs that output content for The Weather Channel.

Date Notes
March 31, 1999 Weatherscan Local debuts, showing only a two-minute local forecast in a repetitive fashion. Only one song was used for each segment, a two-minute cut of the first track (dubbed "Fair Weather" by The Weather Channel) from a suite of music composed by Atlanta-based jazz artist Trammell Starks.
Late 2000
  • Weatherscan Local receives a graphical revamp. With the changes, the weather icons are no longer animated, rendering them static icons.
  • New products are added to several Weatherscan Local units nationwide, including health, airport and Spanish language forecasts. Some units were reported to still show only the local forecast segments in a continuous loop.
  • An entire album of Trammell Starks music is now played instead of just "Fair Weather". Some Weatherscan Local units did not receive this update until late 2002.
  • Vocal Local narration also debuts, voiced by TWC staff announcer Allen Jackson (who provided narration for the Vocal Local function played during The Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" segments), but only two segments had incorporated narration at the time: the current conditions ("your current conditions") and for the 36-Hour Forecast ("the forecast for your area"), but sometimes an announcer from The Weather Channel's Radio Network would read the 36-hour forecast segment.
2001 Forecast data for Weatherscan Local's forecasts begin to be sourced directly from The Weather Channel, instead of the National Weather Service. This change occurred on Weatherscan Local earlier than the WeatherStar systems used on TWC.
February 2003[15]
  • Weatherscan Local begins beta testing of the IntelliStar system, about six months prior to The Weather Channel commencing testing of the domestic IntelliStar systems. Most areas did not see the upgrade until late 2003 or early 2004, however. This brought with it a major upgrade to the channel's visual presentation.
  • As part of the channel's rebrand as simply Weatherscan, the channel unveils a new graphics package, using Frutiger as the principal typeface. The weather icons once again become animated.
  • A "severe weather mode" was added to Weatherscan during this upgrade. After a warning tone is heard, a weather ticker appears at the bottom of the screen, the yellow and blue color scheme changes to red and gray, with the local forecast being the only product shown, as well as a ticker message saying "Weatherscan gives you this special message because of severe weather in your area".
  • The Vocal Local narration by Allen Jackson is replaced by a narration track by Amy Bargeron.
Early-mid-August 2004
  • The local radar is enhanced, showing additional major roads within a given area on the radar imagery, and city identifiers that are closer to the domestic IntelliStars.
  • The local radar imagery now shows the precipitation's movement within the past three hours instead of two.
  • An error that causes the music to skip is fixed.
February 17, 2005
  • The descriptive forecast segment is revised to show forecasted weather conditions for the next 48 hours, starting with the current or pending daypart.
  • While in the severe weather mode, Weatherscan now shows only the local radar imagery, weather bulletins (if a weather watch or statement is issued), and the special weather message.
  • The severe weather message is changed to "Weatherscan/<Insert cable Headend here> brings you this message because of severe weather in your area."
July 2005
  • A "traffic report" segment is added to Weatherscan systems in major markets such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta, with local traffic conditions for certain metropolitan areas provided by Traffic Pulse.
  • A one-minute-long local radar segment is added to Weatherscan units nationwide.
September 27, 2005
  • Weatherscan receives a graphical overhaul in accordance with the rollout of The Weather Channel's new logo and graphics package. This iteration has the same aesthetics and features as the previous look, although now featuring an "L-bar" which shows instant information to viewers, similar in vein to that used by the now-defunct NBC Weather Plus. Current conditions, extended forecasts, local radar imagery, and area weather observations are now shown constantly on-screen (areas in the path of Hurricane Rita received this graphical update about a week earlier). This graphical overhaul introduces the Interstate typeface for use on L-bar products (except the local advertising ticker), matching the main typeface used in The Weather Channel's on-air presentation.
  • Additional narration tracks are added to Weatherscan, including on the local radar and traffic segments.
April 2006 HiRAD technology is introduced on some Weatherscan-powered IntelliStar systems.
December 12, 2006
  • New weather icons debut in accordance with their rollout on The Weather Channel and the weather.com website.
  • The gradients on the squeeze back section are modified to match the new icons.
March 11, 2010 The weather icons change once again to more realistic icons, switching to a variant of the 2006 design.
December 8, 2010 The traffic information segment is permanently discontinued after The Weather Channel is unable to renew its contract with Traffic Pulse. Prior to this, traffic information had already been discontinued in some regions for quite some time.
March 9, 2015 Verizon FiOS discontinues carriage of both Weatherscan and The Weather Channel.
June 24, 2015 Dish Network discontinues carriage of Weatherscan.
November 10, 2015
  • The Vocal Local narration track by Amy Bargeron is discontinued on all products. However, the Weather Bulletin product is given a new narration track by Jim Cantore.[16]
  • The severe weather warning messages provided by The National Weather Service were discontinued and replaced by new severe weather warning messages, which contains a new alert tone to match the IntelliStar 2 systems, and a new narration track also by Jim Cantore.[17]
March 29, 2016 The Weather Channel logo is removed from Weatherscan.
May 14, 2016 Cox Communications discontinues carriage of Weatherscan.
July 11, 2016
  • The Palmer Drought Severity map replaces its key from Extremely Moist to Excessively Dry, to Abnormally Dry to Exceptional Drought, and provides a more accurate reading of areas in the region that are affected by drought conditions and the levels of their severity.
  • Any references to The Weather Channel are dropped in favor of "Weather Group Television".
March 2017 Wintry precipitation indicators are added to the Radar/Satellite loop.
December 5, 2017[18] Weatherscan is discontinued on Comcast Xfinity, although Comcast dropped the service earlier in the year in some regions.
Late 2021 The Weather Channel announces that they have discontinued supporting or replacing all remaining Weatherscan IntelliStar units, signaling the gradual end of service for Weatherscan.
December 12, 2022[2] Weatherscan is permanently discontinued.

National/satellite feed[edit]

When Weatherscan Local debuted in 1999, the channel maintained a national feed that was used for satellite and smaller cable providers that could not afford a secondary and more technologically advanced WeatherStar system to use for a local Weatherscan feed. The national feed, branded as simply Weatherscan, debuted in July 1998,[19] and ran current temperatures and extended forecasts for select cities throughout the United States, as well as national and regional radar images. There is uncertainty as to whether or not the national version was discontinued; however, since Weatherscan Local simplified its name to "Weatherscan" in 2003, it is likely the national feed was discontinued around that time.

A new Weatherscan feed launched on June 29, 2011, for Dish Network subscribers, replacing the short-lived service The Weather Cast that had been founded as a replacement for The Weather Channel as a result of a May 2010 carriage dispute with the satellite provider; the Weatherscan feed provides regionalized information for cities within 125 miles of a given area, and is delivered in the same manner as the Weatherscan systems on cable providers. Dish Network dropped Weatherscan on June 24, 2015, while WeatherNation took place for regional viewers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weather Channel sold to independent studio, distributor". AJC.com. March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie; Fleming, Mike (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires The Weather Channel TV Network For $300 Million". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Albiniak, Paige (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen Acquires The Weather Group in $300 Million Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Moss, Linda (March 8, 1999). "Weather Channel Goes Local". Multichannel News. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2011 – via HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ The Weather Channel (March 10, 2015). "Don't let Verizen decide the fate of your favorite weather channel". Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  6. ^ Epstein, Adam (March 10, 2015). "Verizon drops The Weather Channel, claiming internet killed the weatherman". Quartz. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Weatherscan - Termination of Service". www.nctconline.org. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  8. ^ After 23 years, Weather Channel’s iconic computerized channel is shutting down - ARS Technology (Published October 7, 2022)
  9. ^ Fernandez, Bob (November 14, 2017). "Xfinity ire: Comcast drops Weatherscan channel and triggers a hail storm". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  10. ^ Sahil Patel (June 8, 2016). "The Weather Channel bets on streaming local news". Digiday. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  11. ^ Freddy Flaxman (June 10, 2016). "Why Local Now Matters: Solving three problems with local TV news". Medium. A Medium Corporation. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Chris Ariens (January 29, 2016). "How The Weather Channel Is Now Delivering News, Sports and Traffic". TVNewser. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  13. ^ "WeatherScan Local Product Guide" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 20, 2009. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  14. ^ Burke, Bill (2003). "Intellistar". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on July 21, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  15. ^ WeatherScan Update: Jim Cantore Narration on YouTube
  16. ^ Weatherscan in severe weather mode 6/6/16 on YouTube
  17. ^ Weatherscan Archive (Dec 5, 2017), retrieved November 4, 2022
  18. ^ "The Weather Channel Announces New Suite of Programming Services, Including First Ever, Fully Customized Local Weather Service". Business Wire. March 8, 1999. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2017.

External links[edit]