WSI, AccuWeather Ramp Up Hurricane Services for Local, National Broadcasters

Sep 20, 2004  •  Post A Comment

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

natural gas.

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

News Crown

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.