Monday, March 31, 2014

The Evolution Of The Tv Weather Man

The Evolution Of The Tv Weather Man

The weatherman has become an icon throughout the world. People religiously tune in their televisions to hear a prediction of the upcoming weather. Most of us however, refuse to admit that the weatherman and the weather report is not an exact science. We live by the weather predictions, plan our days, plan our vacations, plan our outdoor work, and dress accordingly. The weather forecast is important to everyone in one way or another and it's not limited to civilians. The military as well as the aviation industry rely heavily on current and future weather conditions. Weather reporting has advanced in step with modern technology, obviously computers play an important role in the forecast nowadays. As advanced as computers are today, they still can only predict the future some of the time. They can make predicting easier and more accurate than weather prediction of years gone by. As a matter of fact, weather is part of every day's news show and a televised news show would be incomplete without the weather segment.

Weather forecasting appeared on the television airwaves in October of 1941. It was the first time a visual representation of current and future weather conditions were presented to the public. There were radio broadcasts of weather forecasts since January of 1921 but nothing could compare to a weather forecast the public could view for themselves. The first weatherman ironically was a cartoon character who sang a tune while the weather was displayed on the screen. It may sound primitive now but in its time it was state of the art. The 1950's brought about a new era. The live TV weather man armed with a chalkboard, some chalk, a sense of humor, and an arsenal of meteorological knowledge was about ot become part of our daily lives. The weather forecasts were vague and primitive but basically better than nothing at all. As confidence in the weather forecasts grew, so did the public's interest in the weatherman. A well-done, inaccurate forecast was better than no forecast at all. As time passed and the weather segment on the daily news program continued to gain popularity, women stepped in and became television weather forecasters as well.

As with everything else, the weather forecast itself evolved. The presentation became much more involved and complex. The weatherman now had to present current conditions along with some detailed statistics for those viewers who were interested in weather-related stats and history. Even those TV viewers who may have never had an interest in the specific details of weather, now had something to talk about at the dinner table or at work the following morning. The weather segment of the news broadcast was becoming mandatory for all news shows based on its growing popularity. The chalkboards of old were soon replaced with cardboard models and then of course by computer animations and even the infamous "green screen". The green screen, in reality a blank green screen, allowed the weatherman to stand in front of a large scale weather map and actually point to various aspects of the map. Television viewers of course see the maps and graphics clear and colorful which totally enhanced the forecast. The visual effects became almost as important as the weather forecasters themselves.

Weather men and women began to earn reputations either good or bad based on their forecasting skills. What the public didn't realize was that the reputation was also earned from pure personality. The presentation and a little luck made some TV weather people stars and others into goats. An incorrect forecast is expected, to some extent, because even the weathermen themselves will admit that weather is not an exact science. Overall it comes down to personal preference, some viewers would rather watch a man deliver the forecast and others prefer a woman, some viewers may tune to a particular TV station based primarily on the computer graphics used during the weather segment and others may choose to watch a weather person purely for their physical appearance. How do you rate your local weatherman and why is he or she your favorite anyway?

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