Frost Advisory #432 – Programming Lessons From The Weather Channel: An Updated Forecast

On last week’s show I shared five nifty lessons on programming we can learn from staring at The Weather Channel for three straight days.  In my effort to squeeze one more quarter hour of reading from you I reckon’ I better come up with a few more to deliver on last week’s Waffle House tease (that’s Fear of Missing Out, don’tcha know).

We can learn a lot from The Weather Channel…

The power of winning moments.   While it’s important to minimize things that result in listeners tuning away, playing defense isn’t the same as winning.  The Weather Channel uses graphics, camera angles (literally), on the scene reporters, and live action video to keep viewers coming back for what Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen would call “listening occasions.”

“A great radio station isn’t simply the one with the fewest tune-outs, it’s the one with the turn-ons listeners want to experience again and again – the moments that remind you to come back and listen again for more moments just like them.”

Mark Ramsey

The power of words.  “At times Florence was moving forward no faster than a human can walk…”  “Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons, enough to cover the entire state of Texas with nearly 4 inches of water.”

I work with programming teams to create specific vernacular that best communicates the station’s brand values in ways that are meaningful to the listener.  In a medium that is strictly sound, the right words can transform information into emotion.

The power of perspective.  What’s the camera angle that best connects with your listener’s life?  The Weather Channel told us how FEMA uses a “Waffle House Index” to communicate in every day language the severity of a storm.

  • Index is green if the Waffle House menu is full.
  • Index is yellow if they are only serving a limited menu.
  • The Waffle House index is red if the restaurants are closed, because, well, Waffle House NEVER closes.

So, the next time you watch The Weather Channel consider the words of baseball great Yogi Berra, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

*Thanks to my friend T. J. Holland for his contribution to this Frost Advisory.

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.

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