The Weather Channel

This article was written by Phin Upham

Back in the 1950s, when the novelty of television was still a long way from being cliché, early cable providers began playing with a method to broadcast the weather continuously. The earliest attempt was a single black and white camera pointed at a weather station. This gave the audience a view of weather, time, barometric pressure, wind speed and wind chill among other stats.

The station art departments would fill in the valuable role of making place cards announcing forecasts for the week, complete with headlines of the day as well. This format carried over to the Stations of the Cross program that aired during Christmas.

The actual Weather Channel began as the brain child of John Coleman, a meteorologist and forecaster for Good Morning America. He took his plans to the chief of the station, Frank Batten, and the Weather Channel was founded in 1980. It’s initial goal was providing localized weather forecasts, which it did through its WeatherStar system.

The channel’s first broadcast took place in 1982. It was a different kind of channel from what it is today. There were meterological forecasts for various regions around the United States and the world, but the initial WeatherStar model signal was often crossed with other channels. This made the Weather Channel tough to find until the WeatherStar II upgrade in 1984.

The Weather Channel eventually adopted the not-so-scary sounding slogan “You Need Us For Everything you Do” in 1986, and has since made a concerted effort at reporting on the weather with some depth. The Weather Channel isn’t part of most people’s cable playbook, but it does have its uses. It’s especially good for tracking storms and for planning out one’s week.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website