Whither the Weather?

Snowy lion

The lion in winter

There is no older, more clichéd chestnut in the television news pantheon than the weather story. Hot, cold, wet , dry…it doesn’t matter. If you work in television as a reporter for half a century, chances are, a weather story may be the first and possibly, the last of your career.

Television weather stories fall into two basic categories: the predictable and the obvious. When the summer sun is melting the  Juicy Fruit on the sidewalk, you will always see the tale of the poor guys asphalting…or roofing…or working the 450 degree pizza oven. When it is bitterly cold you, quite naturally, get the flip side. There’s someone making a backyard ice rink. Here’s somebody carving an ice sculpture. How’s the guy in the gelato shop doing? We watch the same stories roll by every year. There may be some measure of comfort in knowing that our small corner of the world is unfolding, meteorologically and metaphorically, as it always has and should.

People love to talk about the weather but they only have so much tolerance for how it is delivered on the news. There were several periods in my career when I stood in a studio and pitched the forecast. I was a little too edgy for the powers-that-be, so I was never the ‘weatherman’ for very long. Management told me that I was too unpredictable to do the weather. Apparently, they wanted someone predictable doing the predicting.

A consultant (and there are consultants like bedbugs in television) told me that you should never try to be very entertaining when you deliver the weather. People just want the forecast. Is it going to rain tomorrow? Snow? If you give them nothing more than that…you’ve done your job. Don’t get cute. Don’t get crafty. Just give ’em the goods, smile and make way for the Sports!

It’s very cold where I am right now. But, of course, ‘cold’ is always relative. I like the term ‘crisp’, rather than cold. It’s crisp enough to damn near snap an ear off! Anyway, at every station the weather stories are being trotted out. I see them all.

Just waiting for the brass monkey.

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6 Responses to “Whither the Weather?”

  1. John Currie Says:

    Nice and warm here today, -24c, yesterday at this time it was -34c. From sunny, warm North East Ontario (106 miles north of North bay). Yes I am old as you can tell by my use on Imperial Measure.

  2. Edgy and unpredictable……….seems like the perfect combination for a weather man to me. The late Sonny Elliot from Detroit, MI wasn’t boring and he did okay as a weather announcer. (We get a lot of American stations down our way). My hubby always says, “It’s colder than a witches *** out there’. Now how does he know how cold that is? I’ve always wondered?

  3. I miss you on The Morning Show Mr.Gerry. It isn’t nearly the same without your wit, charm & intelligence which you never fail to deliver in your writing as well. A colourful weather forecast, which I know you could deliver, would be entertaining. I’ve seen your contributions to TMS since you left as a regular & they were enjoyable to watch but I have discontinued watching the program without you as a regular as it doesn’t appeal to my demographic. It would be nice to see you turn up as a regular on a Canadian program in the future. If not, have you considered uploading a vlog on youtube? I know it would receive many hits/views.

  4. For once I actually hope it will stay cold for a week because I want to attend a skating party at Cedarena next week, but after that …. warm up please! I sure hope you are not saying the you are retiring Dave. Of course It would be nice for you, and I wish you much happiness and contentment, but love to see your stories and read your posts. Have a great weekend!

  5. Dave…I too am a former MS watcher but since your departure it’s just not the same! I hope you are doing what you enjoy. I look forward to seeing more of you wherever the stories take you!

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