Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Weather Channel

     Yesterday I promised you that we would talk about The Weather Channel today.  So let's talk about The Weather Channel.  I used to love The Weather Channel.  When I was a kid I used to sit in the basement rec room at my house and watch The Weather Channel for hours.  Think about that.  I would sit in a DARK, WINDOWLESS BASEMENT and watch them tell me what the weather was doing outside instead of actually JUST GOING OUTSIDE!  Sorry, I didn't mean to yell.  But that is what I would do.  And it's even more astounding when you realize that this was back before The Weather Channel had programming.  All it was was weather forecasts 24//7 back then.  None of this Storm Stories or When Weather Changed History.  All they ever did was tell me how much it snowed in Poughkeepsie, NY that day, or how hot it got in College Station, TX.  I even had the hots for one of The Weather Channel chicks (much like I do now, although now it's a different Weather Channel chick).
     I don't watch The Weather Channel as much as used to back in those days anymore, but like millions of Americans I watch it in the morning as I get ready for work.  I like it.  I get to see my local forecast at least twice, and I get to see my new Weather Channel chick.  I also get to see a little bit of the bigger national picture before I go off to work so I can see what all my friends and family spread around the country are waking up to.  I can also find out what it's going to be like for the next few days so I can plan when to wander to the store, when to stay in and clean, how long it's going to take my car to warm up, etc.  But the more I watch it in the morning, the more I find that I am not as enamored with it.  And I will tell you why.
     First of all, The Weather Channel is an unabashed homer.  There, I said it.  I know, I have never lived in a major population center.  But here at the Worldwide Headquarters it's been cold lately.  In fact, yesterday it was like -25F when I made my trek to work.  But The Weather Channel didn't seem to care.  They were busier talking about the ice storm that is effecting the Ohio River Valley.  Fine, I can understand that.  Ice storms are major, dangerous weather events.  But I can't tell you the number of times back in the day when my town (back before I moved the Worldwide Headquarters) would have a blizzard warning, A BLIZZARD WARNING out as I left in the morning, and The Weather Channel would be going on and on about how it was foggy in Atlanta.  Surprise, surprise, The Weather Channel offices are in Atlanta, GA.  I know that it's important to you Weather Channel, because it's what you have to put up with.  And I know that it's a gigantic major American metropolitan area.  But there's a tornado ripping through Pierre, SD right now, and that fits your sell out model better than the fact that it's raining in the A-T-L.
     Wait, what?  Yeah, you heard me right, Company.  I said that The Weather Channel has sold out.  And it has.  First of all, there are advertisements now on my local forecast, and you have L.L. Bean prominently displayed on your jackets.  Fine.  In that retrospect you have actually done quite well, because it's not overt and sickening like and NFL telecast is now.  But still you did it.  Plus, you have this weird passive/aggressive relationship with bad weather.  You send your poor reporter guys into blizzards, ice storms, brutal cold, hurricanes, floods, and excessive heat waves, but you seem reluctant to even mention the 107 mph straight line winds that just ripped Boise City, Oklahoma a new one.  What's with that?  I understand that severe weather makes people watch.  I understand that many people think of it as a real-life movie, and that you need to pay the bills.  But just because the disasters are happening in places with smaller populations doesn't mean that they are any less disastrous.  I am sorry, but if you want extreme weather I think that Jim Cantore should be standing outside my apartment when the visibility in the snowstorm drops to about 6 feet, not standing in Lexington, KY for the three inches of snow they are getting there.
     Speaking of Jim Cantore, can he just go away for a little while?  Okay Jimmy Boy, you've managed to sort of carve yourself a niche there at The Weather Channel.  Good for you.  But what you have also done is begun to annoy the piss out of me.  Here is the thing about Jim Cantore, he is a showman.  He hops in The Weather Channel van and goes to places that are just on the periphery of where the weather is going to be really shitty, and then he totally talks it up like he is in the eye of the danger.  It's like talking about how dangerous the situation is with the building that's about to be demolished by implosion while standing four blocks away with one leg over the barrier and one leg still behind it.  I mean, in Peoria they have just got 16 inches of snow that is whipped into 46 ft tall drifts but Jim is in St. Louis talking about the 4 inches they just got there in a very excited voice like it's the worst 4 inches of snow in the world.  Meanwhile, behind him, the plow has just gone by and people are getting off the bus to go to work and they are just wearing sweatshirts because it's not even that cold out.  That's what he's like, and it drives me up the wall.
     Here is the last thing that bugs me about The Weather Channel these days.  They can't tailor a local forecast for me.  Normally, I would understand this, as I live in a pretty small town.  But there is an airport here.  And when they are giving me the local conditions and local forecast for a town that's about 25 miles away, they still manage to put the temperature and sky conditions that are observed AT THE AIRPORT 1.5 MILES FROM MY HOUSE up on the screen.  So why can't they tweak it so that's my local conditions?  Because very often I look outside and see snow but my local forecast is telling me that it's 25 and fair skies in a town 25 miles away.  That just doesn't make sense to me.  I know, you can't have a local forecast for every burg in America.  But come on.  Twenty-five miles?  That's stretching it I think, don't you?  Get with it Weather Channel.  And I'll see you in the morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!! I resent the fact that the weather in Washington and New York is more important than the weather where I live!!!!!! In this day and age of technology - they should be able to tailor the weather for different viewers in different areas of the country, the world, and yes, even the universe!!