Weatherscan is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios. A spinoff of The Weather Channel, Weatherscan features uninterrupted local weather information in graphical format on a continuous loop that is generated by an IntelliStar unit installed at the cable provider's headend; unlike The Weather Channel, Weatherscan does not feature on-air talent of any kind.
Weatherscan logo used since March 2016
|Launched||March 31, 1999|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Slogan||All Local, All The Time|
|Broadcast area||Selected areas nationwide|
|Formerly called||Weatherscan Local (1999–2003)|
|Available on select cable providers||Check local listings|
The channel launched on March 31, 1999, as Weatherscan Local. Originally, Weatherscan operated five collective services for local weather information: Weatherscan Local featured animated weather information with a complete local weather segment every two minutes; Weatherscan Radar featured a continuous Doppler radar loop, along with severe weather advisories when warranted; Weatherscan Plus – which debuted on April 30, 1999 – featured activity-specific forecasts for golf, skiing, boating, beachgoing, and business and leisure travel; Weatherscan Plus Traffic – which launched on May 31, 1999 – featured the same format as Weatherscan Plus with the inclusion of traffic information; Weatherscan Español, which launched with Weatherscan Plus Traffic, was a Spanish-language version of Weatherscan Plus allowing regional or international weather information.
The IntelliStar unit used by Weatherscan is configured differently from that used by The Weather Channel, featuring different graphics and additional forecast products, with information running on a continuous basis. Vocal Local, a pre-recorded narration function installed in the IntelliStar system – which utilizes a different narration track than that used on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s forecast segments, featuring a female announcer – introduces several of the segments.
Weatherscan is available in many major markets around the United States, though its availability is not as widespread as that of parent network The Weather Channel. Many cable providers offer Weatherscan on their digital tiers, although a few providers carry Weatherscan on their basic tier (where The Weather Channel is also offered). In 2011, Dish Network became the first satellite provider to add Weatherscan.
Verizon FiOS dropped Weatherscan, along with parent network The Weather Channel, from its lineup at 12:00 a.m. on March 10, 2015 after the two parties were unable to come to terms on a new carriage agreement. The service has been replaced by the local WeatherBug "widget" in some markets. No public announcement was made regarding this issue until over 12 hours after the discontinuation. Verizon said that its reason for dropping the services was because many customers turn to the internet and mobile apps for weather any time of day.
While the domestic IntelliStars were decommissioned and replaced by newer IntelliStar 2 units on November 16, 2015, the modified IntelliStar units are currently still active for Weatherscan.
With the rise of online weather information available both on computers and mobile devices, the channel has seen decreased relevance through the 2010s. Comcast removed the channel from its Xfinity systems throughout the third quarter of 2017.
As of 2019, the channel has mostly been discontinued on major cable providers, however some Weatherscan units are still in operation by smaller cable operators.
Sale to Entertainment Studios
On March 22, 2018, Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios announced its intent to acquire The Weather Channel's television assets from an NBCUniversal/Blackstone Group partnership. The actual value is undisclosed, but was reported to be around $300 million; the channel's non-television assets, which were separately sold to IBM two years prior, were not included in the sale.
Weatherscan displays a variety of forecast products that show different types of weather information, some of which are not included on certain providers.
|Local Forecast||Used by all providers carrying the service, the segment provides local weather data, including the current weather observations, a local radar loop, a text-based two-day forecast, and a five-day forecast. This segment is mainly used for one city, but in some markets, the forecast segments incorporate multiple cities.|
|Local Doppler Radar||A one-minute continuous loop of Doppler radar imagery over the course of three hours.|
|Airport Conditions||This segment, which is available in most markets, shows flight arrival and departure delays, and weather conditions for up to four airports within the headend's service area; a list of delays and current conditions for 16 major airports throughout the United States is also included.|
|Travel Forecast||Available in most markets, this segment features a map featuring overall national weather pattern for the next 6–10 hours, two-day forecast maps for the surrounding region and a three-day "destination forecast" for select U.S. cities.|
|International Forecast||A segment displaying the forecasted weather conditions and temperatures for select cities around the world.|
|Weather and Your Health||This segment features health-related forecasts for the area, including air quality, pollen and ultraviolet indexes; during the summer months, a slide illustrating safety information while in the sun is also displayed.|
|Ski and Snow|
|This segment displays snowfall forecasts and current skiing conditions (including present snowpack and snow density information) for select ski resorts throughout the country.|
|This segment provides weather information for area golf courses and resorts within the area, as well as a golf index (gauging the forecast's impact on golfing activity) and a "tee time forecast" segment.|
|Carried on only a few headends, this segment includes forecasts tailored toward gardening, and includes a "watering needs index" as well as maps showing forecasted precipitation amounts (both in the past and next 24 hours) and drought severity.|
|Boat and Beach|
|Available only in coastal locations, this segment displays marine forecasts, tidal information and forecasted surfing conditions.|
|Traffic Report (discontinued)||This segment displays a live map showing traffic flow across the metropolitan area (red indicates jams, yellow indicates slow traffic, green indicates little to no traffic); a text-based construction report, and the average speed and trip time for major highways. Traffic Pulse provides the information.|
From 1999 during the early 2000s, when the channel's segments were generated mainly by WeatherStar XL systems, five different products could be chosen for display.
Note: "Domestic IntelliStar" refers to STARs that output content for The Weather Channel.
|March 31, 1999||Weatherscan Local debuts, showing only a two-minute local forecast in a repetitive fashion. Only one song was used for each segment, a two-minute cut of the first track (dubbed "Fair Weather" by The Weather Channel) from a suite of music composed by Atlanta-based jazz artist Trammell Starks.|
|2001||Forecast data for Weatherscan Local's forecasts begin to be sourced directly from The Weather Channel, instead of the National Weather Service. This change occurred on Weatherscan Local earlier than the WeatherStar systems used on TWC.|
|February 17, 2005||
|September 27, 2005||
|April 2006||HiRAD technology is introduced on some Weatherscan-powered IntelliStar systems.|
|December 12, 2006||
|March 11, 2010||The weather icons change once again to more realistic icons, switching to a variant of the 2006 design.|
|December 8, 2010||The traffic information segment is permanently discontinued after The Weather Channel is unable to renew its contract with Traffic Pulse. Prior to this, traffic information had already been discontinued in some regions for quite some time.|
|March 9, 2015||Verizon FiOS discontinues carriage of both Weatherscan and The Weather Channel.|
|June 24, 2015||Dish Network discontinues carriage of Weatherscan.|
|November 10, 2015||
|March 29, 2016||The Weather Channel logo is removed from Weatherscan.|
|May 14, 2016||Cox Communications discontinues carriage of Weatherscan.|
|July 11, 2016||
|March 2017||Wintry precipitation indicators are added to the Radar/Satellite loop.|
|October–December 2017||Weatherscan carriage is gradually discontinued on Comcast Xfinity.|
When Weatherscan Local debuted in 1999, the channel maintained a national feed that was used for satellite and smaller cable providers that could not afford a secondary and more technologically advanced WeatherStar system to use for a local Weatherscan feed. The national feed, branded as simply Weatherscan, debuted in July 1998, and ran current temperatures and extended forecasts for select cities throughout the United States, as well as national and regional radar images. There is uncertainty as to whether or not the national version was discontinued; however, since Weatherscan Local simplified its name to "Weatherscan" in 2003, it is likely that the national feed was discontinued during or around that time.
A new Weatherscan feed launched in June 29, 2011 for Dish Network subscribers, replacing the short-lived service The Weather Cast that had been founded as a replacement for The Weather Channel as a result of a May 2010 carriage dispute with the satellite provider; the Weatherscan feed provides regionalized information for cities within 125 miles of a given area, and is delivered in the same manner as the Weatherscan systems on cable providers. Weatherscan was dropped on June 24, 2015, while WeatherNation took place for regional viewers.
- "Weather Channel sold to independent studio, distributor". AJC.com. March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie; Fleming, Mike (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires The Weather Channel TV Network For $300 Million". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Albiniak, Paige (March 22, 2018). "Byron Allen Acquires The Weather Group in $300 Million Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Moss, Linda (March 8, 1999). "Weather Channel Goes Local". Multichannel News. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2011 – via HighBeam Research.
- The Weather Channel (March 10, 2015). "Don't let Verizen decide the fate of your favorite weather channel". Facebook. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
- Epstein, Adam (March 10, 2015). "Verizon drops The Weather Channel, claiming internet killed the weatherman". Quartz. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
- Fernandez, Bob (November 14, 2017). "Xfinity ire: Comcast drops Weatherscan channel and triggers a hail storm". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- "WeatherScan Local Product Guide" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 20, 2009.
- Burke, Bill (2003). "Intellistar". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on July 21, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- WeatherScan Update: Jim Cantore Narration on YouTube
- Weatherscan in severe weather mode 6/6/16 on YouTube
- "The Weather Channel Announces New Suite of Programming Services, Including First Ever, Fully Customized Local Weather Service". Business Wire. March 8, 1999. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2017.