Timeline of The Weather Channel

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Pre-1982

1981

June - Landmark Communications obtains transponder space on transponder 21 on the Satcom I satellite for what would become The Weather Channel. The motive was still secretive at this time, attracting public attention.[1]

Summer-Fall - Compuvid is given the task of creating a device for displaying local weather data over TWC's feed—this would become the first WeatherSTAR.[1]

Fall - The Landmark Communications team developing The Weather Channel leases the channel's first headquarters at 2840 Mt. Wilkinson Parkway, north of Atlanta, Georgia. The choice to locate the network in Georgia was largely done to place the network in a region where poor weather conditions would not easily affect signal transmission. Later, GE would offer to lease a satellite uplink facility to the team to solve an issue with satellite dish placement. The fiber-optic cable used to connect this facility to the headquarters may have been the longest in the world at the time.[1]

September - Early Weather Channel team member John Coleman and Gordan Herring of Tele-Cable (associated with Landmark) begin reaching out to the twelve largest cable networks in the United States to ask for support and commitments to carry the new channel. These talks would continue for months afterward, eventually leading to seven of these companies committing to the cause. Channel founder Frank Batten recalled Coleman as having the zeal of a missionary during this time and often closing pitches to carry the channel with the cry, "The Weather Channel will save lives!" Around this same time period, an ad sales team was formed.[1]

October - At a board meeting for Landmark, an early video simulation of The Weather Channel's programming is demonstrated. Some negative feedback resulted in adjustments to what music would play and the rate of speed at which on-camera meteorologists (OCMs) would talk.[1]

Fall-Winter - Compuvid develops the first WeatherSTAR.[1]

December - The development team begins hiring its meteorology staff, placing advertisements in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and the magazine Broadcasting.[1]

December 28-31 - Members of the TWC development team are invited to a demonstration of Compuvid's first WeatherSTAR prototype. The demonstation fails, as the video signal does not meet FCC standards. The device would be adjusted into the spring to meet the FCC's broadcast standards, as well as the team's.[1]

1982-1989

1982

January (approx.) - Early storyboards for program features and elements are drafted for channel development and employee training purposes. Some of the segments developed during this time include the national forecast, "Talk to the Weatherman" (scrapped live viewer engagement segment), and "Trivia Corner."[1]

March 1 - Most employees of The Weather Channel are formally hired and put to work. This was the network's "Orientation Day," when drafted storyboards and programming schedules were put to use. The day included John Coleman giving a pep talk as well as Joseph D'Aleo, director of meteorology for the new network, giving employees a "history lesson" with a weather forecasting angle.[1]

May 2 - Despite naysayers, Frank Batten, Sr., gives the go-ahead for The Weather Channel, which launches May 2, 1982, amid much fanfare.

May-August - In the channel's early months, early adopters of the WeatherSTAR technology complain of technical errors with the devices, including scrambled messages displayed on-air, giant individual characters taking up screen space, and text distortion. Alan Galumbeck, who was responsible for much engineering work with the network in its infancy, solved some of these issues by sending teletext data twice and letting the WeatherSTARs do work to detect and correct errors. He also worked with Compuvid and Signetics, the company that designed teletext-related chips for the device, to begin an upgrade process to wire coils necessary for teletext data reception. Meanwhile, other cable newtworks complain of early STAR technology causing major interference to VHF channel 2, caused by high frequency radiation from the back of the units. Engineers would be called to apply ferrite beads to the STAR units to stop this from occuring. These processes, among others, would be completed within the first twelve months of the network being live, reducing the failure rate of the units from fifteen to one percent.[1]

June - The Weather Channel is the first 24-hour network devoted to weather programming and the first national TV network able to automatically customize content based on viewer location.[1]




1983

January - Some are ready to pull the plug. But the company makes hard decisions to stay on the air; dramatic progress is made a year later with a 44 percent increase in subscribers.[2]

April - Many employees, including OCMs, begin to complain about work conditions, schedule assignments, and pay scales. This, along with other concerns and issues, causes Frank Batten and Dubby Wynne to prepare to ask John Coleman to step down from his management position for the network.[1]

April 18 - Dubby Wynne gives John Coleman a proposal to step down from operational management but remain company chairman. Coleman rejects this, declaring he would stay the network's chief executive.[1]

June 27 - John Coleman files a suit with the state of Georgia, hoping for an injunction that would stop his removal from his position as TWC's chief executive. Frank Batten and Dubby Wynne prepare for the next day's court hearing, preparing to rebut Coleman's claims related to the case.[1]

June 28 - Frank Batten and Dubby Wynne are are pitted against John Coleman in a court hearing. They present their testimonies, with Coleman primarily claiming violations of his contract and Batten and Wynne countering his arguments. Many channel employees, curious about the nature of the dispute, are present as observers.[1]

June 29 - As a result of the previous day's court case, the judge, believing both parties misinterpreted contractual agreements, places a temporary restraining order keeping Landmark Communications from making changes to The Weather Channel's board members, John Coleman's chief executive position, or Coleman's stock ownership. This meant that Batten and Wynne would need to prove their right to change these aspects of the company with evidence.[1]

July - With a dismal atmosphere derived from the executive dispute within the network as well as financial woes, network employees as well as outsiders begin to believe that The Weather Channel is at the brink of collapse. Sometime during the first half of the month, during a board meeting, Frank Batten declares his belief in the idea that the network should close its doors.[1]

1984

1985

1986

January - The Weather Channel upgrades talent, adopts the anchor concept, and adds more video footage.[2]



1987

January - The Weather Channel produces its first one-hour special.[2]



1988

June - The Weather Channel commits to breaking news, covering the drought and Hurricane Gilbert.[2]

1990-1999

1991

February - The Weather Channel wins Golden CableACE from the National Academy of Cable Programming for coverage of Hurricane Hugo.[2]



1996

January 1 - Trammell Starks' 40-track custom made music set makes its debut on TWC. These would be the only songs that would air during the first few months of 1996, and aired frequently after that until the end of the decade. The music would also eventually appear on Weatherscan and TWC's Emergency Feed playlist.

March - TWC launches WeatherScope, receives a modernized logo, and introduces the Local on the 8s format for the first time.

December - OCMs Bob Stokes, Lisa Mozer, Paul Emmick, and Warren Madden join the network


1997

Kristen Dodd joins the network, originally as a field reporter until eventually becoming an anchor about two years later.

March 7 - TWC moves to their new studio on 300 Interstate North Pkwy SE on the northwest side of Atlanta, where they remain to this day.


1998

Dr. Steve Lyons marks the first expert to join TWC since John Hope, joining him as Hurricane Expert. Jen Carfagno joins for the first time as an intern, who would eventually return on the air on TWC's apprenticeship program three years later.

January - New titlebars and modernized icons debut on national segments. The icons would eventually make their way on the Weather Star XL later in the year.

March 10 - Weather Center launches, replacing WeatherScope for the top of the hour/bottom of the hour broadcasts. The Local on the 8s branding is abandoned, however the format remained on weekday mornings. TWC creates a standardized local forecast playlist schedule for the first time, introducing new playlists on a quarterly basis.

Q4 - The Weather Star XL debuts.


1999

OCM arrivals include Arch Kennedy, Bob Childs, Carl Parker, Heather Tesch, Nick Walker, and Paul Goodloe. Additional "experts" join, including Dr. Greg Forbes and Paul Kocin.

July - TWC begins rolling out Lifestyles segments, including tips from gardening expert P. Allen Smith, and home improvement tips from Danny Lipford. On air title bars, basemaps, and lower thirds receive a refresh.

August - During coverage of the first storm of 1999, TWC achieves its largest single day audience delivery in its history of one million households.[2]

October - The pairing of Marshall Seese, Heather Tesch, and Dennis Smith debut on the 7am-10am timeslot on weekday mornings with a special format. This format would eventually carry over to Your Weather Today the following year.

November - "weather.com" is added below the TWC logo on on-air segments and openers.

December - The TWC logo and radar banners are modernized on the WeatherStar 4000.

2000-2009

2000

Kelly Cass, Melissa Barrington, Melissa Tuttle, and Jennifer Lopez join the network.

Bruce Edwards, one of the two premiere OCMs at TWC's launch, departs.

January - Your Weather Today launches on the 7am-9am ET timeslot, marking the beginning of specialty programming that would eventually phase out the traditional Weather Center branding. The Local on the 8s branding is returned after a two year hiatus on this program. Steve Hurst debuts as music programmer, rolling out monthly playlists for the first time.

March - First Outlook debuts on the 5am-7am ET timeslot.

August - Atmospheres, TWC's first long-form program, debuts.


2001

Will Annen, an original OCM, departs, as well as Arch Kennedy and Bob Child.

TWC reaches a Viewership Milestone of 80 million households.[2]

April - TWC continues to roll out specialty live programming with the debut of Weekend:Now, airing weekend mornings from 5am-11am ET. This also marks the first time TWC rolls out a show with four hosts, with two being at the desk and two on the maps. That same weekend, TWC debuts the "Live By It" campaign.

June 25 - Weather Center receives a graphics refresh to match TWC's new Live By It branding. TWC introduces standardized, color coded lower thirds across all shows, based off of Weekend:Now's that debuted in April.

August - Evening Edition debuts on a nightly basis, from 9pm-11pm and 12am-2am ET, featuring a four OCM format that Weekend:Now does.

September 26 - The Weather Star XL receives its first graphical facelift, matching TWC's on air graphics at the time.


2002

OCM departures include John Hope (deceased), Mike Bono, and Melissa Tuttle. Melissa would remain at the network as a Weatherscan product developer.

February - The Local on the 8s branding returns network-wide.

March - The Weather Channel is honored with a Beacon Award in the media category for its Rays Awareness sun safety campaign.[2]

May - TWC celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a series of specials, promos, and graphics.

October - TWC launches Alert Mode for the first time for Hurricane Lili, and would remain as a branding for severe weather events.


2003

TWC rolls out additional Lifestyles segments, including The Weather Channel Road Crew, and Forecast Earth. The latter would eventually spin off as a long form show airing on weekends.

OCM arrivals include Eboni Deon, Hillary Andrews, Stephanie Abrams, and Mike Bettes.

Departures include Marny Stanier, Paul Emmick, Rick Griffin, and Terri Smith.

TWC reaches a Viewership Milestone of more than 85 million households.[2]

January 6 - TWC's second long form series, Storm Stories, debuts.

March - The four OCM format is discontinued on Weekend:Now and Evening Edition. They also launch the HIRADtm system, which dramatically increases accuracy of weather condition information and increases frequency of updated forecasts. Increases accuracy of weather gathering information from 1,500 locations in the US (based on National Weather Service observational data) to 470,000 unique locations in the US (based on multi-dimensional information including satellite data, radar, observed conditions) which provides unsurpassed accuracy.[2]

September 29 - TWC receives a refresh of its on air graphics, rolling out additional shows including Day Planner, Afternoon Outlook, PM Edition, and Overnight Outlook. Weekend:Now would be divided into two shows, Weekend Outlook and Weekend Planner. An additional program, Weekend Now airs from 11am-2pm and does not resemble the hosts and format Weekend:Now did. The long lived transparent lower display line on the WeatherStar XL is replaced with an opaque black version, which would eventually be debuted with the IntelliStar the following year. Alert Mode is rebranded as Storm Alert, debuting with Hurricane Isabel a few weeks prior.


2004

February - TWC rolls out the IntelliStar on select markets and cable providers.

June - The IntelliStar launches on DirecTV, marking the first STAR to present data on a satellite platform. As a result, the satellite forecast receives another overhaul to make way for the lower display line.

July - On air lower thirds and overlay graphics receive another refresh.


2005

OCM arrivals include Betty Davis, Kevin Robinson, and Sarah Libby.

TWC reaches a Viewership Milestone of more than 89 million households.[2]

August - TWC sets new record with total day rating of 2.2 during Hurricane Katrina coverage and participates in MobiTV launch for wireless.[2]

August 15 - TWC receives its first major logo change in its history, as well as a new slogan, "Bringing weather to life." The Weather Star XL receives a second facelift. On-air graphics would mostly remain the same at the initial launch, gradually changing over the next 5 months.

2006

August - Launch of new series, It Could Happen Tomorrow which sustained ratings increases averaging 53 percent for its time period compared to the year before; other new program launches include nightly series Abrams & Bettes – Beyond the Forecast and TV’s only weekly climate change program, Forecast Earth with Dr. Heidi Cullen.[2]

2007

March - TWC begins construction on a new 12,500 sq. ft. facility for presentation of all studio programming in HD in 2008.[2]


2008

June 2 - TWC begins broadcasting live shows in high definition, starting with Your Weather Today and Evening Edition. The remaining shows gradually transition to HD through August.

September - The Weather Channel is purchased by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital (Sept. 12). The new TWC HD Studio opens.[2]



2009

November - The Weather Channel launches Wake Up With Al, a new kind of primetime morning show exploring all aspects of the day's weather, hosted by Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams.[2]

2010-2019

2010

December - The Weather Channel reaches the 100-million-household milestone, making it one of the most widely distributed cable networks in the U.S.[2]

2012

October - The Weather Channel becomes the first national organization in North America to proactively name winter storms. First livestream of The Weather Channel on YouTube during Superstorm Sandy, which resulted in all-time number one day across platform.[2]


2013

Q4 - The IntelliStar 2 Jr debuts.

November 12 - The Weather Channel unveils a new brand identity called "Weather All the Time".


2014

March 17 - TWC launches their new flagship morning show, AMHQ with Sam Champion.[2]


2015

March 14 - TWC's second weekend morning show Weekend Recharge launches.

May - The Weather Channel launches live interactive augmented reality weather presentations.

August 24 - Weather Underground premieres on The Weather Channel.[2]

October 28 - IBM announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand. The TV segment – The Weather Channel – will not be acquired by IBM, but will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract.[2]


2016

OCM arrivals include Lianna Brackett.[2]

January 29 - IBM closes their acquisition of The Weather Company and The Weather Channel Television Network becomes its own business.

April - TWC launches their new "super-fan" website, We Love Weather (weloveweather.tv)

October - The Weather Channel Ranked #1 During Height of Hurricane Matthew Coverage Among P25-54. [2]

2017

OCM arrivals include Dr. Rick Knabb (March) and Chris Bruin (July). [2]


2018

OCM arrivals include Tevin Wooten.

March 22 - The Weather Channel Television Network is acquired by Entertainment Studios.

June - The Weather Channel begins segments with Immersive Mixed Reality.


2019

OCM arrivals include Felicia Combs, along with Jacqui Jeras becoming full-time instead of her previous freelance work.[2]

April 18 - The Weather Channel receives a ransomware attack, hindering their ability to air live programming.

August 18 - "Storm Stories: The Next Chapter" debuts, the return of the original "Storm Stories".

August 20 - The Weather Channel unveils a new graphical refresh.

2020-present

2020

OCM arrivals include...


2021

OCM arrivals include...

November 12 - After over 12 years on the air, Weather Center Live's final broadcast airs. Its timeslot (12-4pm EST) was replaced by Weather Underground.

November 15 - A new live program, Storm Center, will debut, filling the timeslot previously held by Weather Underground.

External Links

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Batten, Frank; Cruikshank, Jeffrey L. (2002). The Weather Channel: The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 1-57851-559-9.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 "Weather Group Through the Years". Weather Group Television. Retrieved July 18, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)