Those of you who follow me daily know that I refer to the weather channel as “The Onion” of weather. The Onion for those of you who don’t know is a satirical news site that makes fun of day to day headlines posting stories that sometimes are very funny and well written. So well written in fact that often times people think the story is true. A few days ago we had the cancellation of Al Roker’s morning show. It was according to reports over an email spat between Roker and management. My TV experience made me suspicious about this and I concluded there was much more to this than just a simple email spat that went public. Today comes this story that Sam Champion’s show has now also been cancelled.
According to CNN,
The Weather Channel is canceling Sam Champion’s morning newscast, replacing reality shows with more weather coverage, cutting TV production costs and laying off some staffers in a sweeping adjustment to changes in the cable business.
More weather coverage!!! Well hello you are the weather channel and one would think that on a weather channel one would do weather! The fact remains that since the NBC takeover of the weather channel, the Weather Channel has been basically run by TV people who don’t know weather. It is that simple. They replaced weather coverage with reality shows and other nonsense on the idea that this is what the audience wants. What has happened over time is that the Weather Channel became anything but a weather channel. Viewers complained about no weather coverage during severe outbreaks. Even the day to day ordinary weather information became elusive because of non weather programing. The result was in the bottom line. The Weather Channel lost revenue and more importantly lost eyeballs as cable operators went elsewhere for weather networks programming. The value of the Weather Channel as a business took a nosedive.
This move is, I believe, beneficial for The Weather Channel in the long run. They have needed to get back to what they originally were good at many years ago and that was extensive weather coverage especially during winter storms, hurricanes etc. They are also reacting to changes in how program carriers decide on what channels to carry and what channels not to carry.
Dave Shull, the president of the Weather Company’s TV division, said distributors are “only going to carry channels they have to carry in the future.”
Exactly! By focusing back on what got them their brand in the first place, The Weather Channel could get its “weather” brand back. It is going to take a lot of hard work and marketing savvy but it can be done. The programming TV world has changed rapidly as digital programming changes how TV is done at every scale. The Weather Channel has a lot of built in advantages including a brand name and an audience. If done right they can move back into the forefront of weather broadcasting and lose their “Onion” image.