Has Severe Weather Coverage Outlived Its Welcome?


Over my career I’ve broken into hours-and-hours of primetime programming and preempted hundreds of commercials. There’s a reason we stop everything for severe weather.

Now is the right time to reconsider. Is that the right way in 2015?

People want narrowcasting. That’s what cable cutting is all about. The Internet has spoiled us.

In most TV markets severe weather events only cover a fraction of the audience. Viewers who used to ‘put up’ with this no longer will. Too many options. Too much shiny tinfoil on a string.

On top of that, cable companies run automated systems that sometimes overrides live coverage!

And, of course, fewer people watch traditional ‘local stations.’

Is the answer virtual Internet stations that exist purely to broadcast wall-to-wall when weather warrants? It would allow a lower threshold for coverage, since it’s now ‘opt-in’.

I read stories of coverage by my fellow meteorologists in weather active markets and wonder if they’re helping or hurting? Is it time for a change?

3 thoughts on “Has Severe Weather Coverage Outlived Its Welcome?”

  1. It has gotten to the point that the stations cut in for hours, repeating the same things over and over, and the public just tunes out….figuratively and literally. Unfortunately, if an actual weather emergency arises, we may not be paying attention.
    Reminds me of the children’s story about the little boy that cried wolf!

  2. We have not had many severe weather warnings in the Tri-State area this summer. Hot and dry conditions have been the rule. In fact, both NYC and Bridgeport are now in drought status…and the lawns and plants looked burned and sere. We are FINALLY getting some rain today…but then it looks dry again for the next week.

  3. I like the idea of internet broadcasted weather for breaking weather and alerts, which weather.com does (though I am not sure the timliness of them) but it seems to mirror doppler radar emergency broadcasts which may be different for a smaller “town/city” than larger regional or county area. This does require the user, however, to initiate the pursuit of weather conditions vs being fed to them by “interruptons” to local broadcasting. But if you don’t have a TV or radio on, you miss emergency broadcasts anyway. When I lived in CO orth of Denver, you could buy an app for your phone from one of the news stations, which I did because it gave me immediate access no matter where I was or when – and if my power goes out, I have neither iternet nor TV, but would still most likely have my phone (which I can charge with my car, absent electricity). In Colorado, the news is the weather(or the weather is the news, whatever…) you get the point. However, to my recollection it did not provide weather over my head so to speak (but I could be wrong about that… I don’t live there anymore so no longer have it. If I got a “weather alert initiated text” based on either my home zip code and/or gps location, that would be a great thing. App development idea??

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