|BROADCAST METEOROLOGY VIEWER WANTS
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Now we shift gears to try to get a sense of the viewer’s perspective of the weather broadcaster. Viewers have differing levels of weather
knowledge and expectations. The weather broadcaster has to strike a balance between those that have a strong technical knowledge of the
weather and those that have a general knowledge about the weather. If the weathercast is made too technical, this risks tuning out a
significant portion of the audience due to the weathercast being confusing. If the weathercast is too watered down, this risks looking
unprofessional. One goal of the weather broadcaster is to both teach something about the weather to those without technical knowledge
while at the same time being very informative to those with technical knowledge. It is possible to keep a wide variety of viewers
interested in the weathercast. One art of weather broadcasting is striking this delicate balance.
One viewer want is to know where the severe weather is and what to do. Severe weather has an immediate influence on viewer’s lives. Viewers
want a weather broadcaster that will show where the severe weather is, explain how much of a threat it is, and explain what they should do.
It is critical that the weather broadcaster have a strong on air presence and give a high degree of explanatory value when discussing
severe weather. Some viewers will be frustrated with the severe weather cut-ins when it impacts a show they are watching but there
are also a large number of viewers that are turning the station on specifically to find out about the severe weather threat.
Another viewer want is to know the basics about planning for the day or the next day. The basic information that is wanted is what
temperature pattern to expect and what precipitation if any to expect. This should be explained throughout the weathercast (beginning,
middle and end) since this information is critical to why the weathercast is being viewed. Many dressing decisions are made directly
on this information thus it is critical that this information be explained well and often to the public during the weathercast.
Viewers want someone they can view as an expert in the field of meteorology. Being an authority figure is important to gaining a strong
following. You want to be the person that the viewers in the market think of when severe weather and changes in the weather are taking
place. Getting to this point requires months of solid and informative weathercasts. Be an entertainer and informer during boring weather
and an authority figure during severe and changing weather.
Other viewers needs include:
1) a focus on local conditions and weather in the city the person lives
2) a weather broadcaster that is involved in the local community
3) the expected weather for specific community events
4) a strong on air presence, professional appearance, a voice that keeps attention
5) a weather broadcaster that often has a unique perspective and a personalized perspective (not saying exactly what other forecasters are saying)