Saturday, September 26, 2009


Please, please, please, everybody knows that the weather doesn’t start and stop at the international borders of the United States, Canada and Mexico. How would you like to live in south west New Mexico (the USA, in case you didn’t know)* where most of their weather comes from Mexico, and not be able to see what’s coming? Same for the folks in North Dakota where the fronts roll in from Canada. Toronto, Canada is south of a bunch of New England. Do you have a lawyerly prescription barring you from showing a forecast for Canada and Mexico? (And by the way; your graphics have gotten much worse since Jan. 2008 when I first wrote this.)
It’s bad enough that you can’t seem to keep your talking heads from standing right in front of the weather map while they point out to us (for the thousandth time) where Chicago is. And your graphics "editor?" won’t be happy until he/she has so cluttered the screen with ancillary factoids (it’s 68 in San Diego right now - fascinating for those of us in Virginia) and pretty yellow picture frames and the names of the talking head now up, that what little substantive information remaining is impossible to see or is flashed on the screen for less than a second and a half. Certainly, framing and wiggling the photos sent into you by viewers enhances them tremendously. And another thing: your legend at the top of the forecast map covers up about 4 million square miles of the USA. Do you think that it could be a little smaller and still inform all those "first time viewers" what the colors mean? The 99.9999% of the rest of us already know what the colors mean anyway; we’d be fine without any legend at all. The actual radar is the most useful thing you put up on the screen and although you do show it "on the eights" you run the three hour loop so briefly and quickly that it’s easy to miss. Your legend and your channel icon often cover up a large portion of the image. By the way, I’ve seen your "real-time" radar show a massive front still in the west over in West Virginia at the same time that I can see it out of my window 30 miles EAST of the state line moving easterly over the Massanutten Mountain. I’d never climb into a boat on the Chesapeake Bay based on your "up to the minute" information. Aren’t you afraid of being sued by some poor putz’s estate because he believed you? How about a clock on the radar screen that shows the real time of the loop? Oh and a six or twelve hour loop now and again would be nice, too. The truth is that only with "Tevo type" stop, slo mo and pause, is your show watchable. You can tell your advertizers** that most viewers aren’t seeing their ads either. And playing "faux pause" with alexandra’s face is a hoot!
During your regional coverage you often jump from New England to Atlanta as if Washington, DC, Virginia and West Virginia don’t even exist. Then when you get to the Mid West there you are standing in front of the map with your butt obscuring the part of the country where 60% of the people live. Just for grins, sit and watch for an hour and pretend that you live in Charlottesville, VA.
Finally, why not at least pretend that a few of your viewers actualy know what to expect from a cold front? Maybe you could actually show us the map with highs and lows and fronts on it more than once every few hours. You could make up the time lost by dropping some of those three hour too early "on the scene" reports by you traveling disaster team. Don’t you realize that commercials** for yourself are self defeating? I can only tune in as much as I am tuned in right now. You spend half of your air time telling us that you are going to tell us something, sometime (then you don’t till after the next ad). Do you think that noone notices when you do this? It’s insulting.
I’m ranting but that doesn't mean that my points aren’t valid and that if you modified your programming consistent with my observations your show would be far more informative and educational. But I can see that you are in the entertainment business, not the weather business. I can’t believe that somebody hasn’t come along and cleaned your clock for you. A little competition would sink you in a minute.
* New Mexico has an on going problem with folks who apparently believe that Texas and Arizona touch each other. You apparently don’t think that anyone lives between New York and Atlanta.
** Ads and "Telling us what you’re going to tell us" all wasted time; 90% of your program.

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