In response to the recent string of hurricanes, several weather technology
vendors stepped up their efforts to help local and national broadcasters
cover the storms.
AccuWeather established a hurricane center, while WSI activated its Storm
Center Team when Hurricane Charley arrived on the scene and has since
also used it for coverage of hurricanes Frances and Ivan.
The WSI round-the-clock service provides graphics and live shots for weather
coverage of the hurricanes and is staffed by meteorologists, graphic designers
and on-air weather talent. To mobilize the team, WSI essentially adds
and redistributes resources to focus on a storm, such as bringing meteorologists
with wind forecasting expertise on to the team for a storm’s duration.
WSI said it delivered more than 11,000 graphics to nearly 200 network,
cable and local news broadcasters for Hurricane Charley and Frances combined.
WSI has also provided customized graphics and live shots for “NBC
Nightly News,” “Today,” Fox News Channel, CNN, Bloomberg
News and The Weather Channel.
WSI competitor AccuWeather formally established the AccuWeather Hurricane
Center, which it calls the first independent hurricane center. Like the
National Hurricane Center, the AccuWeather facility is designed to provide
alerts and updates to the public and the media. AccuWeather said the center
is comprised of a team of experts who each have more than 20 years of
experience forecasting hurricanes. The hurricane tracking includes providing
details on the storm’s path, and seven-day storm tracks, the company said.
Some of the local stations that have used the center’s daily broadcast
include ABC-owned WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Scripps Howard-owned ABC affiliate
WFTS-TV in Tampa and Sinclair-owned WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass. The
center’s services have also been used by Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC,
CNN and PBS.
In addition to the weather forecasting, the center issued a prediction
last week that oil and gas production off the Central Gulf Coast will
feel the impact of the hurricane because oil and natural gas rigs in the
Gulf have been evacuated, which could lead to a shortage of crude and
WBZ Shuffles Anchor Deck
Boston’s Viacom-owned CBS station WBZ-TV rejiggered its evening anchor
lineup with the goal of jump-starting ratings in the competitive Boston
market, where it’s up against strong stations like Hearst-Argyle-owned
ABC affiliate WCVB-TV and Sunbeam-owned NBC station WHDH-TV. Earlier this
month, Sara Underwood and Jack Williams began co-anchoring the full hour
of news at 4 p.m. Starting Oct. 4, Josh Binswanger and Lisa Hughes will
front the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts. Mr. Binswanger most recently
worked at the History Channel. The 4 p.m. hour had previously been split
among two anchor teams: Joe Shortsleeve and Lisa Hughes, and Kim Carrigan
and Jack Williams. Ms. Carrigan left the station this summer and Mr. Shortsleeve
will now serve as the station’s chief correspondent and lead reporter
for the 4, 5 and 11 p.m. news.
WPIX Finally Adds 5 a.m. News
In a move that speaks to both the growth potential of morning news and
the need to achieve parity in New York, Tribune-owned WB station WPIX-TV
in New York plans to add a half hour of news starting at 5 a.m. on Oct.
4. The station will then have a full four hours of morning news, from
5-9 a.m., bringing it up to par with the other stations in town, all of
whom do news at 5 a.m. The newscast will be helmed from 5-7 a.m. by reporter
Craig Treadway and new hire Tiffany McElroy, who joined from NBC-owned
WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. John Muller and Lynne White, who had anchored
from 5:30-9 a.m., will now move to the more manageable time slot of 7-9
WCBS Takes a Thursday Night
WCBS-TV in New York crowed that its 11 p.m. news bested the competition
Thursday, Sept. 9, when NBC-owned WNBC-TV launched the premieres of “Joey,”
“The Apprentice” and “Medical Investigation” as its
lead-ins. WCBS ran repeats of “CSI” and “Without a Trace”
and finished with an 8.1 Nielsen Media Research household rating for its
late news compared with WNBC’s 8.0 rating. WABC landed in third with a
6.5, WCBS said. The WCBS finish is 56 percent higher than its July sweeps
Thursday night average.