In the 1980s, the rise of cable channels was becoming a noticeable thing. CNN, MTV, and many others were riding their way to many viewers who wanted more than the main three (four when Fox came around) channels for their entertainment. One of the early ones was The Weather Channel around mid-1982. For the Atlanta based channel, it focused on obviously weather 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They did many things that made people want to stay updated in an era where you had to wait until a part of the day to get your local weather or get radio updates if they weren't stuck on airing song after song.
For a very long time, that was all they did, which was give you weather. That was, until the early 2000s, when they decided to put less focus on 24 hour weather and started putting out other programs. The first that comes to my head is Storm Stories. It was one of Weather Channel's biggest shows, which focused on recollections of people who survived some of the most dangerous storms. However, it started a trend of trying to keep people interested in other weather related shows, especially in an era now where ratings are a big deal for cable.
So when did it become more than weather? It didn't... kind of. They still believe in staying focused on what the channel's focus has been since 1982, but without being 24 hour forecasts. Some of it has been prediction type stuff. Some have been similar to Storm Stories like some of the tornado shows they have done. However, they have gone overboard a few times. One of those examples was showing movies for less than year a and was met with a lot of criticism. It's a case of trying to be a ratings success. Some of which has been a hit and miss.
You look at it today, even when it turns 35 in May, and you see there is still a big focus on weather. I think they got it to a point now where they give you forecasts throughout the day and barring very severe weather, having weather related shows. Like ESPN, they have bottom graphics keeping you updated on the weather in your local area and a few other areas around you. Really, I would criticize the constant promotion of their meteorologists. They shove these personalities down your throat so much before you even watch what they have to say. And it's a good bulk of their ads. About 30 to 40 percent. Maybe they want you to get to know who these people are and like them. Who knows?
It's a miracle The Weather Channel has stuck to one thing for the most part, hence the channel. With internet and using phones, we're able to track a few things without tuning to a TV. Even with that, people are still going to be glued to this cable channel, especially in the wake of any severe weather outbreak. If it still survives after another 10 to 15 years, it will be very commendable with the advancements in technology.
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