Weather Channel Calls on Congress in DirecTV Dispute

Weather Channel Calls on Congress in DirecTV Dispute

TCA 2014: New hire Sam Champion details new show

The Weather Channel is urging viewers to contact Congress over the network's carriage dispute with DirecTV, labeling the service vital for public safety.

The media companies are in negotiations to renew their carriage agreement, though no agreement has been reached yet. If a deal is not done by Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 12:01 a.m. ET, DirecTV viewers will lose access to The Weather Channel. The cable network wants its consumers to step in and reach out to their Washington D.C. representatives, insisting on intervention for the safety information that the channel provides.

“For DirecTV to take us off their lineup would be deeply irresponsible to its customers who not only count on The Weather Channel on a day-to-day basis, but depend on us before, during and after severe weather events, said David Kenny, chairman and chief executive office of The Weather Company, parent company of The Weather Channel.”

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He continued, “As the most trusted source of weather news and information in America, The Weather Channel is there when it matters most. If we are not available to DirecTV's 20 million viewers, they will miss the accurate and life-saving information we have been providing for more than 30 years. We have offered the industry's best rate for our programming and are committed to reaching an agreement.”

DirecTV fired back: “We remain in discussions with The Weather Channel on how to provide its service to our customers at the best value since people now use so many other ways to retrieve weather-related information. We launched WeatherNation (DirecTV channel 361) as an alternative to provide 24/7 hard news weather coverage in response to numerous customer complaints that more than 40 percent of The Weather Channel's programming is dedicated to reality television shows. DirecTV also offers city-by-city weather coverage on more than 1,400 local broadcast stations and on DirecTV's emergency channels in times of severe weather.”

At Saturday's Television Critics Association press tour panel, a spokesperson for The Weather Channel said of the impasse: “Right now it's not looking so good,” adding that the channel is asking for a “very negligible increase.”

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In the more conversational portion of the press event panel, The Weather Channel also shared some details of new hire Sam Champion's upcoming morning show.

Champion's show will follow Al Roker's “Wake Up With Al” at 7 a.m., likely debuting in March. And there's no one else the new host would rather follow: ”I love me some Al Roker. We've been friends for 25 years — for the first time … we're actually working for the same place,” Champion said. “I can't live without Al Roker, I don't think you can either.”

  • Susan Fodness

    I, as a direct tv subscriber, am in total agreement that we need the weather channel. It is especially vital to those subscribers who are either elderly, disabled or both. I feel that discontinuing this service would dramatically affect this group. Thank you

    • Pseudo Hipster

      Can I suggest you buy a NOAA Weather Radio and not run around with your cable box in the middle of a storm?

  • Bella

    I never watch this channel. Sorry but cable is way too high and some channels need to be eliminated. OR go to a pay line-up where you can pick and chose your channels.

  • Schitzree

    I never really ‘got’ why both sets of grandparents always seemed to have The Weather Channel going all the time whenever we were over for a visit. It was always just there in the background all the time, and no one really seemed to pay it much attention. 12 years ago when I started working for an appliance delivery company I found that a lot of people, especially older ones, do likewise. But in the last 3 or 4 years I've noticed the number who do has plummeted. Some have apparently switched over to one of the local station's digital alt 24 hour weather radar. But mostly having a weather station on all the time just seems to have become a thing of the past. Maybe because it's become so much easier to get weather info from other sources, like the net or a phone app. Maybe because TWC has become so much more intrusive, with talk and reality shows, that you can't leave it on in the background while reading or having a conversation.
    I can only guess WHY fewer people seem to be watching TWC, But in the end why doesn't matter. If TWC is really trying to increase their payment share at a time their viewership is declining, then I wouldn't blame Direct TV for dropping them, especially if they've already started a new 24/7 weather station of their own to make up for the loss. And TWC trying to get congress involved reeks of desperation. 15 years ago TWC might have been a vital resource for those who needed to monitor the weather. Today it is one among many, and not even the most useful.

    • dNealio

      That NBC flees to Congress to settle a problem that would usually be settled through the pressures of their beloved “free market,” is testimony to how much Congress is beholding to the InfoTainment business for their terms of office.

  • antoinepgrew

    Customers have been complaining about The Weather Channel that it's not in the business of reporting the weather anymore. They are running reality shows and have become advocates for various climate claims.

    DirecTV wrote this to the Washington Post

    We remain in discussions with The Weather Channel on how to provide its service to our customers at the best value since people now use so many other ways to retrieve weather-related information. We launched WeatherNation (DIRECTV channel 361) as an alternative to provide 24/7 hard news weather coverage in response to numerous customer complaints that more than 40 percent of The Weather Channel’s programming is dedicated to reality television shows. DIRECTV also offers city-by-city weather coverage on more than 1,400 local broadcast stations and on DIRECTV’s emergency channels in times of severe weather.

    • Nealio

      Bravo to DIRECTV for refusing to knuckle under the monopolizing tactics of NBC. Notice that anything NBC touches or commandeers eventually becomes a watered-down, lamer, dumbed-down version of the original.

  • Hdayejr

    Christ, if they actually did what they were branded for, I could see millions writing Congress. But, The Documentary Channel? Screw ‘em lol

  • Jo Mama

    I hope they don't actually consider global warming as “reality television”.


    The notion that the Weather Channel provides some sort of “public safety” function is laughable in the extreme. In fluid severe weather situations, much of the information provided is so dated (in such a situation even a few minutes old is WAY too much) that events are over with before they are in a position to acknowledge that they are even going on. You want to end up dead in a dynamic severe weather situation? Use the Weather Channel as your source of information as to what to do. There have been several notable severe weather situations in the past several years where they haven't even deigned to preempt any of their precious fluff programming (which now makes up over 40% of their overall programming) to even begin to attempt to serve the actual function they now so self-righteously claim they do. As a meteorologist myself, I stare in wonder at their on-camera personnel, who sound absolutely nothing like nor talk like any other meteorologist I know. These people are talking heads first and meteorologists second (the ones that actually are, I might add).

    This is a product that has gotten worse and worse with time, not better. I am also a Direct TV subscriber and I won't miss this unprofessional and insulting to me, personally, cast of clowns one bit. Most of the on camera personnel's actual knowledge of meteorology is utterly appalling. I have heard so many laugh out loud statements made on-air by their broadcast personnel that it makes for better comedy, for me, than it does it does as any sort of reliable information resource.

    It's amazing how much self-importance they seem to have bestowed upon themselves about their utterly inferior and laughably bad product. Kudos to Direct TV for looking elsewhere. There is hardly anywhere to go but up and Weather Nation could hardly be any worse and just might end up being better.

  • Steve Orth

    is threatening to drop The Weather Channel, and that seems to have TWC
    in a panic today. They're actually paying people to give weather reports
    and forecasts, instead of running endless reruns of Prospectors and
    documentaries like ‘That Day It Rained in 1857.’

  • Travis Ellison

    It is nice to go to a weather channel and it is telling me about the weather

    • Nealio

      So I guess that means you don't watch (what my elderly mother calls TWC) “The Advertising and Boring Reality Show” Channel?

  • Encarnacion Ador

    We don't need The Weather Channel.We can get that on-line,on our cell phone and local channels. Directtv did a good job for dropping The weather Channel from their line-up.That one cent increase would end to a dollar a month and more..No Need for The Weather Channel.Good Job Directv..Keep those unwanted channels off from your lne – up.

  • Nealio

    I believe one can ascribe the decline/demise of TWC to the unimaginative, meddlesome behavioral sets that cause meddlesome, unimaginative–when combined with arrogance and sociopathy it forms a lethal mix–employees to rise to the executive ranks at NBC For weather, less is more; that they carry so many marginally-related reality shows, shows how execs view TWC more as a marketing gimmick than a valuable customer service.
    NBC is attempting to claim a larger share of a shrinking market, another recipe for disaster, instead of altering the content and context of the station as suggested by many viewers.
    Ultimately, unless by Congressional fiat, NBC will lose another battle, and say buh-bye to TWC…or be compelled to unload it to another Infotainment Industry holding company.

  • Susan Horton

    My guess that CNN will be next on the chopping block for Direct T.V. since they started up all those reality shows too. What happen to the idea of News 24/7 too. I loved the weather channel, I really miss it.

  • Joe Nowak

    I think Directv made the right choice. I do not want to see the Weather Channel again. Weather Nation is BETTER! If I want propaganda I would tune to PBS. It's good that Directv dropped the political Weather Channel. When I watch the weather, I neither need nor want POLITICS!!! They can take their “Global Warming” crap to Comcast or Dish Network!

  • Joe Nowak

    We don't need the Weather Channel at all, regardless of their belief that they are legendary….. BS!!! MTV did the same thing…. now they have almost nothing to do with music except their annual MTV awards which has nothing to do with music videos! I WOULD love to see MTV leave the air as well!

  • Lfs

    The weather channel executives are merely businessmen that struck the right chord– until now!

    No great fan of DirecTV operations, the WC has devolved into a ridiculous fiefdom, rife with arrogance.

    That they would urge involvement of congressional bodies is as absurd as the “storm-tracker”, an arrogant showman!

    The inarticulate weather “relayers” are the pinnacle of incompetence; the reality shows should either be scrapped or spun-off to another station.
    Be ashamed, WC execs– you are quintessential arrogant nerds!