When Cable TV Automation Fails

Usually I put the entry title first, then write my blog entry. I’m not sure what to call this. Though, as a broadcaster, I find what I’m watching troubling and sad.

I was looking for something to watch on TV and tuned by Channel 101. That’s The Weather Channel’s digital service, “Weatherscan.” It’s automated and people free.

When running properly, it flips through radar, observations and forecasts. Tonight, it is not running properly… or at all.

It’s 11:10 PM, Saturday evening. The clock on Weatherscan says it’s 5:09:13 AM. The screen is frozen in place. On the lower right, a radar shot show rain about to enter Connecticut. The temperature is 43&#176. The 24/7 music is gone. There is only silence.

If this happened at a TV station, people would be scrambling. The phones would be ringing off the hook. If it wasn’t fixed in a few seconds, we’d at least acknowledge the problem.

It’s possible, when you’re on Channel 101, and one of three weather services on the cable system, no one noticed… or cared.

It is most likely I will never know what happened. Someone will quietly discover whatever has gone wrong and push a button or reboot a computer to revive the system. No attention will be drawn.

Is this really the future? Wouldn’t a person have outperformed a machine here? Wouldn’t it make economic sense to pay for that person?

Yes. Yes. No.