Frost Advisory #431 – Programming Lessons From The Weather Channel

“A cable channel with nothing but weather?”

I remember the initial reaction after being accustomed to weather occupying no more than three minutes on the local TV news.  Now we can hardly imagine life without a 24 hour cable channel, particularly when a hurricane is approaching.

We can learn a lot from The Weather Channel.

The power of NOW.  In our format we talk a lot about “common ground,” usually referring to things like lifestyle, values, and spiritual vernacular.  However, ‘now’ is the one thing we most have in common.  Everyone is living in that moment.  Weather, specifically severe weather, is the ultimate shared experience.  If you attended Momentum last year in Orlando you lived this out and have the tee shirt to prove it!

The power of STORY.  We can vividly recall the image of the firefighters kneeling in prayer after they weren’t able to save a mother and baby when a tree fell on their house.  Hundreds of remarkable stories of heroes, sacrifice, and overcoming adversity were shared during the coverage of Hurricane Florence.

FOMO.  Fear of Missing Out.  The story was now, but there was a new development in the storm every few minutes.  The crawls at the bottom of the screen helped track of the storm, the impact on communities, the provisions needed.  There would be something coming up that we didn’t want to miss, even if the storm coverage stretched out over many days.

The power of STARS.  If you see Jim Cantore out your front window, it’s not good news, the joke goes.  Jim and Stephanie Abrams are Weather Channel stars, which is why you see them doing stand ups from the most critical location at the most important time.  They are seen as trustworthy and reliable.  You can get the data from the bottom scroll, but Jim and Stephanie personify and humanize what the Weather Channel brand needs to be.  Humanity matters.

The underlying promise.  My weather geek friend Dean O’Neal reminds me that there is an underlying promise that goes along with continuous weather coverage; if they do that for them they’ll do that for me.  To that point Simon Sinek says people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and what you do only serves as the proof of why you do it.

But there’s more.

In next week’s Frost Advisory I’ll share more on what we can learn from Weather Channel – like creating winning moments, the power of words, and why the Waffle House index can help your radio station.

That’s a tease.  That’s FOMO.

John Frost

About John Frost

John has been a successful major market DJ and PD for such companies as CBS, Gannett, Cap Cities, Westinghouse, Multimedia, and Sandusky and publishes the Frost Advisory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *