Articles / Featured Segments
Like most cable networks, The Weather Channel has aired a lot of programs throughout its history. Here we take an in-depth look at some of the more interesting segments. These include segments that only aired during a specific time of the year or were only seen by a specific group of viewers.
Fall Foliage Report
The "Fall Foliage Report" was a mostly taped segment where an OCM would talk about the fall foliage conditions across the country.
A map of conditions or recent video of the trees in certain areas would accompany the presentation.
The map showed the conditions as either "some color," "near peak," or "past peak."
There were generally two maps. One showing the eastern states, and the other showing the western states.
The segment would show up with the first reports of color in early fall, and end when most of the country was near or past peak conditions.
A new report was filed about once a week.
During the first year (1988), OCM Dave Watson presented the segment in front of the map, followed by a list of recommended routes and areas for "leaf peeping."
The following year brought a new presenter, Jim Cantore.
Jim would be the primary narrator until The Weather Channel retired the segment in 1995.
With Jim as the narrator, the report turned from a taped studio feature to a taped narrated one.
The maps were accompanied by video highlighting areas with "near peak" conditions.
If Jim was ever on vacation during this time, another OCM would take the hosting duties in the studio.
Below is a near-complete list of the songs that were used each year.
1988Network Music - Imagination
1989Special EFX - A Place In The Sun
Chick Corea Elektric Band - Trance Dance
Alphonse Mouzon - Early Spring
Vince Guaraldi - Linus And Lucy
Max Groove - Crystal Dawn
1990Mark O'Connor - Light The Fire
The Rippingtons - Dreams
Pat Metheny Group - Slip Away
David Benoit - Linus And Lucy
David Benoit - Tropical Breeze
The Rippingtons - Welcome To The St. James' Club
1991John Nilsen - Parkway
The Rippingtons - Aspen
Mark Sloniker - Bright Wish
Mark Sloniker - Harpo's Tune
1992Tingstad & Rumbel - Hanging In Babylon
David Benoit - Things Are Getting Better
1993The Rippingtons - Tourist In Paradise
1994The Rippingtons - Tourist In Paradise
1995Network Music - Highway 101
Here are some video clips from "Fall Foliage Report."
Prime Time Tonight
"Prime Time Tonight" was a segment that aired on The Weather Channel from October 1989 to September 1991.
It featured local listings and previews of TV shows, movies, and specials airing that evening on cable TV during the prime time hours (hence the name).
It was narrated by two unidentified male announcers.
The segment was made possible thanks to the technology of the WeatherSTAR 4000.
While the WeatherSTAR 3000 also had the ability to display information based on a viewer's location, it could not display any graphics.
As a result, only viewers whose cable system had the WeatherSTAR 4000 were able to see the segment.
Additionally, as part of an initial testing phase, the segment was only made available to viewers in the western and eastern time zones.
Unfortunately, the experiment failed, and the segment ended when The Weather Channel's two-year contract ended.
As a result, viewers in the mountain and central time zones never got to see the segment.
In the eastern time zone, the segment ran from 6:56pm to 10:31pm.
In the western time zone, it ran from 7:56pm to 11:31pm.
The segment was comprised of a one minute local forecast, the segment itself, and another one minute local forecast.
Viewers who didn't get "Prime Time Tonight" saw a short studio segment (usually a radar recap), a three minute local forecast, and another short studio segment (usually the 24 hour forecast).
Since there were three local forecasts going on in the studio, one right after the other, the songs were recorded together.
So instead of three different tracks, it was one five minute track with a delay of one or two seconds in between each song.
Sometimes the third local forecast would start before the previous song had ended.
Some WeatherSTAR 3000 viewers heard the "Prime Time Tonight" audio over the three minute local forecast.
Also, occasionally the three song set was used as a "N" flavor during the late night hours (regardless of the WeatherSTAR the cable provider had).
And when "Prime Time Tonight" was over in the eastern time zone, viewers saw the three minute local forecast.
For whatever reason, The Weather Channel decided to use mostly new songs for this segment.
In other words, they were generally not part of the regular playlist.
They also lacked narration.
There were two playlists during the segment's run, with the second one starting in June 1991.Here are some video clips from "Prime Time Tonight."
"Tri-State Weather" was a segment that only New York City area cable subscribers and all satellite viewers would have seen, except for erroneous situations.
It aired at 4:57, 5:27, 5:57, and 6:27 pm every evening.
Viewers that didn't see "Tri-State Weather" (ie. is most of you) saw a three minute local forecast, which played over the national feed.
"Tri-State Weather" debuted in October 1987.
Coincidentally, this was also the time the three minute local forecast was introduced.
I guess you could say the three minute local forecast was a trade off.
Both groups got a more in depth look at their local conditions and forecast.
So far I haven't come across a promo announcing the debut of the segment, but I do have one announcing the debut of the 3:00 local forecast.
I also have an example of the segment, in case you've never seen it.
Here are the video clips I mentioned above.