Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Weather Channel, Get Over Yourself.

I guess it’s true that without the Weather Channel, I would not know the name of the storm bearing down on me right now in all its righteous fury. But I do know the name of the storm TWC is raising over its expulsion from DirecTV: Storm Self-Important.

Apparently there’s some kind of dispute between TWC and DirecTV, over prices and whatnot. TWC is determined to emerge the victor, as a self-described “critical life-saving community resource.”

As if TWC is the only source of weather news out there.


I have a question for you, TWC. If your weather forecasts and news are such a critical, life-saving community resource, by is it the only weather news I can get on your front page today is buried uder the following:

Well, there’s weather trivia there: a gust of wind hitting 199 miles per hour in Logan Pass, Montana, and a fear-factoring story about Louisiana “disappearing.” But actually very little by way of actual, you know, critical life-saving weather news.

And let’s face it: the idea of critical, life-saving weather news is about as manufactured as the idea of critical, life-saving 24-hour news broadcasts.  We got along just fine without it for many a year. Yes, I know there are critical weather events like tornadoes and, uh, tornadoes. But you can bet your salt the folks who need to worry about tornadoes are turning to their local news meteorologists who combine tornado expertise with extreme knowledge of the lay of the land to offer the critical news their viewers need.

And here’s another face it, TWC: You’re not the only source of weather news, so if you disappeared off DirecTV – to which I do not subscribe – I would not be bothered in the least. When I visit you, it’s on the web. And I’m much more interested in the weather than helping you fight the good fight with DirecTV.
So get over yourself.

I can go to the website of my local TV station for weather news. I can go to NOAA for weather news. And in my 42 years of life, I cannot recall a single weather report that I thought was critical. Oh, we’ve had some bad storms come through of course. But I never needed a meteorologist to tell me it would be best to stay indoors. I can figure that out by looking out my window.

It’s true there may be TWC junkies out there, hanging on every broadcast word. And it’s probably true you’ve saved lives. Maybe. Then again, maybe not. What’s more likely is that you’ve grown from what was a three to five minutes of local weather delivered by a guy required to be goofy thanks to the likes of Lloyd Lindsay Young into an overly-serious, self-important, money-making branch of some media empire now having a tiff with another overly-serious, self-important, money-making branch of some other media empire.

So be honest with us: this isn’t about providing critical, life-saving news. It’s about money. Amigo money. No dough, no show. And you’re just mad DirecTV called your bluff and began offering – surprise – 24-hour weather coverage from another weather provider, WeatherNation. You’re not the only playa in town, TWC.

Need some lip balm?

NOTE: Interesting analysis of the situation here, including this quote: "'The Weather Channel does not have an exclusive on weather coverage -- the weather belongs to everyone,' DirecTV chief content officers Dan York said in a statement."

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