Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hurricane Season: A Weather Channel Bonanza

Last year, I wrote in my blog (here) about how the Weather Channel needed to reinvent itself and provide more interesting content. I think I now figured out what was wrong. Last year’s hurricane season was virtually uneventful, limiting what they could report on during the summer and fall.

With Hurricane Dolly recently hitting the Texas coast, the Weather Channel seems to be in its glory. And, like the hopeless TV addicted sheep we are, we just HAVE to turn on the Weather Channel to see what’s going on, even if, like me, we live hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles away from any harm.

Of course, the Weather Channel must send their reporters literally into the eye of the storm. They must think that they only way to make a hurricane even more exciting is to throw one of their own right into the mix to be blown about. The weather reporter MUST be battered by the force of the hurricane for it to be believable. Of course, coverage is not complete with the obligatory exclamations of “I can barely stand up!” and “Look at the winds blowing debris!” and “Torrential rains are falling!”. Usually, they trot out their important on-air personalities like Jim Cantore for the important shots. (Ever notice how much he looks like a yellow light bulb?) I don’t know if he covered Hurricane Dolly because I wasn’t watching the Weather Channel the whole time.

Separated at Birth?

At least with Hurricane Dolly, there wasn’t too much coverage from the broadcast networks. I suppose that a hurricane that’s a category 2 or less is probably just not exciting enough for them.

The Weather Channel has stepped up to provide their program in HD. While this is eventually going to be the standard for most networks who want to attract viewers, it’s really not that important to me to see radar in HD, nor is it critical that I see Jim Cantore’s shiny orange head look even brighter and clearer.

But, despite the fact that the Weather Channel sometimes seems a little too gleeful at the prospect of bad weather – especially sustained, multi-day bad weather like a hurricane – they are tops in weather coverage. It’s not because they cover it 24 hours a day, but it’s because they really do cover it very well, even when skies are sunny and clear. Now, if they can just cut the glow from Cantore’s head…

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