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Thread: When did the Weather Channel go downhill?

  1. #31
    Member John Gnuechtel's Avatar
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    Back when TWC first started in '82, I would have been about 5. I still remember it quite well from when I was a kid though. I grew up just northwest of Chicago in a family that was kinda paranoid about tornadoes. Our cable system had two channels devoted to weather: TWC and the Marseilles radar channel (direct radar feed with audio provided by KWO39 "broadcasting from the top of the Sears Tower"). My family would always switch to the radar channel when there was bad local stuff, but that got me started watching regular TWC broadcasts.

    I loved the segments where they taught veiwers about weather stuff like fronts and seabreezes. The forecasters were also kinda goofy in the early morning hours. Being that young, having a channel where you could tune in to find out the weather was really a novelty on its own. I often tuned in for the local forecasts with their flat purple backgrounds, simple scrolling text, and wacky pop music. I seem to remember that they ran NWS discussions in them. I miss the old warnings where they would break into normal programming with noisy beeps, make the whole screen eyeball-melting red, and run a scrolling discussion-style warning text directly from the NWS. That got your attention!

    I distinctly remember it losing its luster the day Jeanneta Jones taught me that I could save on energy bills by using ceiling fans. For a young kid, that was pretty suck-tacular television.

    Nowadays, I still turn it on in the morning right before I head out to work to catch a glimpse at the local forecast for radar, a quick update on the tropics (or winter weather), and Nicole Mitchell. I thought she was just TWC eye candy until I recognized her in an IMAX movie that ran on Discovery HD Theater. The movie showed footage of a hurricane hunter collecting data, and sure enough I recognized one of those people in the back of the plane. She wins my 10 minutes of morning TV viewing.

  2. #32
    Member Damon Scott Hynes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Gnuechtel View Post
    I distinctly remember it losing its luster the day Jeanneta Jones taught me that I could save on energy bills by using ceiling fans. For a young kid, that was pretty suck-tacular television.
    That was Marvelous Marny Stanier. Jeanetta made sandwiches or something like that .

  3. #33
    Member Damon Poole's Avatar
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    Another thing that comes to mind is that with the approach of Gustav to the Louisiana coast, TWC is also doing its part to drive gas prices through the roof by showing the locations of the gas and oil rigs in relation to the storm. Nice job, TWC, give the speculators and profiteers more ammo. Thanks! NOT!!!
    Damon Poole, Radio Producer, Signal Media Of Arkansas. NWS Trained Spotter
    B.A. Mass Communication & Geography, Univ. Of Central Arkansas.
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  4. #34
    Member Rob Wadsworth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damon Poole View Post
    Another thing that comes to mind is that with the approach of Gustav to the Louisiana coast, TWC is also doing its part to drive gas prices through the roof by showing the locations of the gas and oil rigs in relation to the storm. Nice job, TWC, give the speculators and profiteers more ammo. Thanks! NOT!!!
    I couldn't agree with you more. Oil speculators hunt for reasons to raise the price up - and TWC just handed them exactly what they wanted on a gold plattter.

    Hey, who owns TWC - now that I think about it...
    Hmmmmm.....
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  5. #35
    Member Matthew E. Engelbrecht's Avatar
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    When I think of my experience with The Weather Channel, Tim, it sounds strikingly like yours. Not having The Weather Channel at home until the early 1990s, I can't comment on the 1980s except for a day or two that I watched it while visiting relatives in Pennsylvania. That aside, I thought (and still think) that the coverage was great through the early- and mid-1990s and lost its' luster sometime beginning in 1998. Back in the day, some of the broadcasters would do excellent work describing what was going on from a meteorological perspective and explain various meteorological phenomenon (technical, scientific stuff as I recall) in terms I could understand when I was only an early teenager. It got me really excited about the weather! I can still remember when it was a treat during a severe weather outbreak to get a glimpse of a WSR-88D radar site's reflectivity (remember it...with the grey background?), which was way better than the older WSR-57 radar and the red blobs that they would routinely show. If I got to see that, my fingers were certainly crossed to see the velocity mode! And back in those days, three letter airport identifiers were used instead of city names and needless to say, I learned a LOT of airport IDs!

    When I left home in Wisconsin and moved to Norman for college, I didn't really watch The Weather Channel for the first year and I only turned it on after then to see what chaser video would make the cut for the day after storm chasing. These days I hardly turn it on because there is such a host of quality data available on the internet that I tend to determine what is going on and what will happen on my own instead of listening to it on TV.

    The Weather Channel really was great back in the day, but I don't find it to be routinely useful anymore. It's good to see what chase video is out there on chase days, but even that is being phased out for me with folks posting their videos on YouTube or their web sites, and of course - putting links to them on this site!

  6. #36
    Member Robert Dewey's Avatar
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    I must say, their coverage has been getting better since the acquisition.

    As for their coverage of the oil rigs - what agency WASN'T covering that? It's news.

    FYI - I had Fox News, CNN, and TWC on; all were covering the oil situation.
    Disclaimer: My facts are not to be confused with opinion.

  7. #37
    Stormtrack supporter Brian Barnes's Avatar
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    I think anyone who is heavily vested in the energy market knows exactly the location of those production platforms. I could be wrong on that though, some investors may be pretty loose with their money., but I doubt the most of them needed any news source to tell them what they already knew. If the market goes up it's going to happen news stations or not...however the average person might like to know why they have to pay more. But as long as were blaming sources for informing the oil investors... "Darn you ExxonMobil website!"
    Brian Barnes

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  8. #38
    Member Dann Cianca's Avatar
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    I'm just going to throw this out there, but do you think The Weather Channel got worse as we learned more? I can remember being younger and being enthralled by what I was seeing ... most of it for the first time. I did a lot of learning via The Weather Channel as a child in the 80's and early 90's. As my level of meteorological knowledge increased, my interested in The Weather Channel seemed to peak and then wane. I'm not going to argue that the quality of the programming suffered ... garden forcast? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    This of course would not apply to those of you who were already storm chasin' a-dults during the 80's.

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  9. #39
    Member Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dann Cianca View Post
    I'm just going to throw this out there, but do you think The Weather Channel got worse as we learned more?
    Both, I think. It's gotten worse, without a doubt. But as I've learned more over the years its only made watching TWC even more unbearable.

    On a side note... I checked TWC a few times during the day on Monday to see how their coverage of Gustav was going. I guess it was alright for the most part, but the thing that aggravated me the most was, TWC, the self-proclaimed "Hurricane Authority", never once reported the last observed pressure of Gustav... at least not the 10 times or so I checked in (top of the hour many times, :30 minute mark... :50 minute mark... nothing). I know Joe Blow probably doesn't care about how many millibars of pressure hurricane X has, but TWC used to always report that and other recon results years ago. When did they stop with this?

  10. #40
    Member Jeff Richardson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    It's gotten worse, without a doubt. But as I've learned more over the years its only made watching TWC even more unbearable.
    I couldn't agree more. TWC has not aged well. The lack of detailed obs data (millibars, et al.) is irritating in spite of the fact it would take oh say...three seconds...to say it on air.

    Just out of curiosity I dug up some old and relatively new "scandals" from TWC closet of skeletons. I'd been wondering where Bob Stokes disappeared to. Turns out he got the sack in Feb. '08 for sexual harassment of Hillary Andrews, among others. Marnie Stanier, one of my favorites from years ago, left in '03 after filing and winning an age discrimination suit. The soap opera wasn't confined to the OCM's but the ivory tower brass too. No telling what else has gone on behind cameras while viewers are subjected to the bane of "Locals On The 8's". Of course, unprofessional/unethical behavior takes place in countless workplaces which is really sad.

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