Today (May 2, 2007) The Weather Channel turns 25. So who, precisely, is this now politically correct, alarmist centered, scare-mongering television channel? The cable channel that used to be dedicated to bringing you just the weather and focused on increasing the reliability of short term prognostications is much different now than in years past.
There is a reason, and one needs to look to the top of the organization for clues. If you are running a baseball team and nobody in management has any experience or knowledge of baseball, your odds of irritating the fans rises exponentially….and your odds of winning the world series drops exponentially.
The Weather Channel needs to look in the mirror.
The Weather Channel is owned by Landmark Communications of Norfolk, VA. None of Landmark’s executives are scientists and all are, it is safe to say, publishing and marketing types. This management and ownership group oversee newspapers, two television stations, The Weather Channel (including WSI and Weather.com), and a few internet marketing ventures.
The Weather Channel itself is run by the following executive team, it is striking to me what this subsidiary of Landmark is not….
Deborah Wilson, President, is not a scientist – no doctoral level of education and zero credentials in high level science.
Ray Ban (no kidding), Executive Vice President, Meteorology Science and Strategy is not a scientist either – no doctoral level of education, but does have a BS degree in meteorology. Apparently this was sufficient for the National Academy of Sciences to select him to serve on the Board of Atmospheric Science and Climate. Bottom line, he is not a credentialed scientist.
Lynn Brindell, Senior Vice President, Marketing – reports directly to Wonya Lucas. Brindell has a b.s. in English. Zero background in science and definitely not a credentialed scientist.
Lisa Chang, EVP of Human Resources – zero background in science (MBA in International Business, B.A. in Communications), definitely not a credentialed scientist (Communications majors are just about as lowly as k-12 teachers at most universities – its the major you pick when you know you can’t hack anything else, like math, science, engineering, or accounting.)
Patrick Clark, EVP Finance/Administration – there is very little to be said here… Zero background in science and definitely not a credentialed scientist.
Joe Fiveash, SVP and GM for The Weather Channel Interactive, which operates weather.com. Fiveash is probably the most educated of the bunch unfortunately, from a science perspective, he was trained as an attorney. He’s an internet entreprenuer type with a Princeton education…. Zero background in science and definitely not a credentialed scientist.
Paul Iaffaldano, EVP & GM, The Weather Channel Media Solutions – a pure advertising guy. Zero background in science and definitely not a credentialed scientist.
Wonya Y. Lucas is general manager and EVP of The Weather Channel Networks. Lucas came to TWC from CNN where she oversaw its slide into political correctness run amok. Lucas has zero background in science or technology and is, more than anyone else at TWC, responsible for such irresponsible productions as Heidi Cullen’s “Weather Code.” Lucas has a graduate degree in businss from the University of Pennsylvania. Ms Lucas is a veritable poster child for the NAACP. Bottom line: Zero background in science and definitely not a credentialed scientist.
Becky A. Powhatan, EVP Business Affairs and GC for The Weather Channel, Inc. – an attorney, zero background in science and definitely not a credentialed scientist.
Brian Shield, EVP and CIO of The Weather Channel, Inc – undergraduate degree in Computer Science while minoring in Management and Accounting. He is an IT guy and definitely not a credentialed scientist, particularly earth science.
Peter Green, SVP of National Ad Sales for weather.com???? Green’s only claim to fame prior to coming to the The Weather Channel group was his stint in the Peace Corps. He has a nondescript undergraduate degree from the University of Seattle.
So there you have it, what is striking, again, is what is not represented by upper management – not a single member of the Weather Channel group or, as far as I know, the parent company (Landmark) is a credentialed scientist in any earth sciences.
Five years ago, Frank Batten, Sr, had this to say regarding the future of The Weather Channel.
IWM: What’s your forecast for The Weather Channel’s next 20 years?
Batten: If I had tried to predict The Weather Channels’ first 20 years, I would have been wide of the mark. So the best I can do is make guesses based on experience. The Weather Channel’s cable network should remain a strong presence, because it serves basic human needs rather than trendy interests.
Weather.com has the potential to build a huge audience as technological developments make it more appealing through the introduction of video and other enhancements. Development of new forecasting knowledge and technologies will make forecasting more accurate, more immediate as well as more long-range. Hopefully weather.com and our other distribution media will have developed unique enhancements that will enable them to charge fees for discrete, personalized services.
Frank Batten, Sr (June 24th 2002)
It would seem to me that TWC should refocus on the vision of Mr. Batten (especially the trendy comment), fire half of the Exectutive Team, and hire or promote people who have a scholarly background in earth science….
Is it any wonder that Heidi Cullen, the perky smart-alec weather-ette out at The Weather Channel (TWC), was allowed to get away with calling for any broadcast meteorologist who doesn’t subscribe to her unilateral conclusions regarding catastrophic global warming due to anthropogenic cabon dioxide emmissions to be stripped of their American Meteorological Society (AMS) seal of approval…? She too should be fired. The Weather Channel, just like CNN, has lost incredible credibility.
I for one get my weather from my window… with an occasional check from several internet based weather portals..