When I was a kid I loved The Weather Channel! I loved that you could have seen the current weather from the United States 24 hours a day! It didn’t matter if it was 1 pm or 1 am. You knew you could find out the current weather with great meteorologists. What I really liked was the local forecast. No matter where you were in the country, if you had cable you would get a personalized local forecast several times each hour! I also liked where they told you where you could locally buy products that were advertised on The Weather Channel. Being the geek/nerd at heart I loved watching The Weather Channel!
But ever since NBCUniversal bought the network back in 2007 along with Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group. The network has been going downhill fast! Since the acquisition by its new owners, TWC has lost all of its original meteorologists and has begun to use talent from the NBCU stable, including Al Roker, whose production company has played a significant role in the network’s expansion into serial content. And this week the network laid off around 7% of its workforce. What I really hate about The Weather Channel now is its reality programming. During the afternoons and evenings the network goes into a 2 hour reality TV loop followed by an hour of live weather programming. These shows about lifeguards, power crews, iceburg hunters, steel workers, storm chasers, etc. are boring!
On October 17th there were several tornadoes occurring across Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. While people’s lives were at risk what was The Weather Channel doing? Yep; they were playing reality shows. This couplet shown on radar around Yazoo City, MS pretty much confirms there was a tornado on the ground. But the network was playing Reality TV; sad.
And even during their live hour of weather coverage they briefly talked about the tornadoes and then they showed some other stuff. Recently The Weather Channel has been getting some very bad reputation. Remember the “landmass” controversy during Hurricane Isaac? Shepard Smith from Fox News was not happy about this.
And yes The Weather Channel thinks it can override the National Weather Service. The network has plans to name winter storms like how hurricanes are given names. I really think this is one big marketing gimmick. Hey; those companies that sell cold and flu products can tell consumers to go buy their products because Winter Storm Gandolf is coming! I would only support a name list if the National Weather Service officially came out with a list. By the way here is the list for Winter 2012/2013.
I also miss some of the former meteorologists that were on The Weather Channel. My favorite was Dave Schwartz. Not only he had a good knowledge of weather on TV he really connected to the viewer with his friendly attitude as well! Today; Dave is a salesman at Macy’s. Quite a fall from being on TV. Here is a video of Dave Schwartz when he was on The Weather Channel.
The good thing about today is we have the internet and social media. You don’t have to rely on The Weather Channel for weather anymore. AccuWeather and Weather Nation are great alternatives to The Weather Channel. And best of all; Weather Nation has a live feed on their website that provides weather 24/7 like The Weather Channel used to do. I have also liked many weather interests on Facebook and Twitter. In NE Alabama/NW Georgia there are great organizations like West Georgia Weather, Forecast Weather Chat, Alabama Storm Spotters, Alabama Storm Trackers, Talk Weather Forums and more that you should follow. I also follow all of the meteorologists from Birmingham on social media. And yes; Geek Alabama will provide weather coverage when severe weather threatens. That’s why you see the weather bugs on the bottom of the page.
I think the days of the classic Weather Channel are now gone! We will have to turn to social media and other companies for weather coverage. But one thing will never change! I will always be a road, weather, and news junkie geek!