We say we don’t care about the weather, but I beg to differ

Snow Day, December, 9th, 2009 Ankeny, IA
So after all of this talk about hats, what does it all mean?

I’ve never seen the type of traffic I did from this best hat on a reporter poll. The busiest day for the blog and the poll was Thursday, December 10, the height of the storm.

Granted, my blog is fairly new. Only a month on WordPress, about 6 on Blogger. But, I’m not entirely new to the concept of communicating and getting interaction with people.

How many times have you been at a party or a family gathering and someone said, “I wish my TV station would quit talking about the weather so much.”? Too many to count.

But the fact of the matter is, weather in Iowa is a big deal.

TV ratings go up when the weather is bad or could be bad or just got done being bad. Web traffic goes up during a storm. People are wanting information about a storm, or they want to see pictures, videos or share their experience or observations of a storm. A friend of mine told me his news station’s website had 200,000 hits last week on one day of the storm. That’s almost a hit for everyone in the market. An above average day is not even 1/4 that.

Snow day - December, 9th, 2009
Even in Iowa Public Television land we are dependent on the weather. A good storm during December Pledge can get eyeballs on the screen and maybe help get people to pick up the phone. Good weather in March? What? You’ve got the Paul Simon and a new BritCom pledge event? Sorry, the weather is over 50 degrees for the first time in 6 months. No TV for me.

Weather is vital to farmers, to farm equipment manufacturers, towns with grain elevators…I think you get my economic-trickle-down drift.

If Kent Yeager can’t get his corn out of the field before the snow flies, he can’t dry it or take it town to sell.

We do like the weather. We want to know the weather. We do kind of depend on it.
By the way, what’s tomorrow’s forecast? Does Noah Yeager need to have a scarf with his parka?


2 thoughts on “We say we don’t care about the weather, but I beg to differ

  1. One perspective is when the weather is bad, we have nothing else to do besides watch TV or surf the Internet. When the floods of 2008 crested locally; hits on my website skyrocketed, why, because I had the information people were looking for, they had nothing else to do, and it was the topic of conversation. ALSO many times weather encompasses three or more of the news principals (Shelly Green quiz – what are the five news principals?). One makes a story, three is your 6pm lead, five is breaking news.

  2. My biggest pet peeve with local news is when they say (and all three do it), “Our top story tonight is [insert major breaking story], but first let’s take a look at that thunderstorm that blew through here earlier today.”
    Which, essentially, makes the weather the top story! I’d rather hear the real news “top story” and then the weather… I’m ok with waiting another 2-3 minutes to hear about that thunderstorm.

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