John Altenbern from CJNI wrote about a recent family trip to South Dakota:
In a week where grizzly bears attacked campers in their tents outside
Yellowstone, we wanted to read a local newspaper to learn more about
the story. (Although there were no bears at our hotel.) And yes, we
watched a local newscast or two just for fun. We learned things about
trout, pine beetles killing trees, a wildfire under control and
tomorrow’s weather. The stuff that makes a community in Montana.
He goes on to connect this to the idea of a sense of place, and clearly local weather information – both in terms of forecast information and putting that weather into context – is a huge part of that. This sense of localism has always been important, and it is enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years. (Don’t believe me? How many new farmers’ markets and food co-ops have popped up near you recently?)
Local TV and radio stations enjoy something of an advantage over the myriad weather forecast alternatives for just this reason. Local stations with local people are better positioned to understand the community and address its needs for specific weather information. This goes beyond coastal stations adding tide information or weathercasters throwing out town names during a weathercast, too. Weather is the most local story of all, and if local stations aren’t telling it in a meaningful way, they have lost one very important differentiating factor between them and every national and Internet-based forecasting outlet out there.
Every place has its weather “bears”, the idiosyncrasies that make a place unique. How are you telling that story?