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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 05/25/2010

Revolving doors in TV Weather

By Jason Samenow

Ryan, Martucci, and Dish Network make moves

* More sun, more warmth: Full Forecast | Hurricane chimp's cheap shot *

It's quite the fluid time in the world of TV Weather. Last week, meteorologist Bob Ryan made his debut at ABC7 (WJLA) after 30 years at rival NBC4 (WRC). But there is other significant shuffling happening on both the local and national television weather scene.

While Bob Ryan is out at NBC4, Kim Martucci is in. Martucci, previously the morning meteorologist at WUSA-TV9, was seen filling in for meteorologist Chuck Bell this weekend. It's not clear whether she's simply freelancing there or in line for a regular slot.

ABC7 morning meteorologist Brian Van de Graaf's regular slot may be no more according to a source writing in to local media blog DCRTV: "Brian Van de Graff of ABC7 (WJLA) 'Good Morning Washington' has been demoted to sister station NewsChannel 8 or whatever they are going to call it. . . . Adam Caskey will be filling in, but the word is that a search is on for a new face."

Keep reading for more TV weather media notes including the Dish Network's near cancellation of the Weather Channel...

Meanwhile, The Dish Network created quite the stir late last week when it appeared to be cutting the Weather Channel from its programming. In a statement printed in the Wall Street Journal Friday, the Weather Channel (TWC) said: "Dish has chosen to be the first distributor to drop The Weather Channel rather than pay the standard industry rates others in the industry have already agreed to pay."

Dish's leadership suggested TWC was running too much "weather-tainment" such as reality TV and movies rather than forecast information. Dave Shull, Dish's senior vice president of programming, told the New York Times: "Customers are telling us that they want their local forecast information. They don't want 'Storm Stories' or to wait until the Friday night movie is over."

For at least a time, Dish launched an alternative to the Weather Channel called "Weather Cast" from WeatherNation, a company based in Minnesota.

But yesterday, it was announced that Dish would keep TWC in its line-up after all. The Associated Press reported TWC will work with Dish to provide specialized local forecast information for its satellite subscribers.

By Jason Samenow  | May 25, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Media, News & Notes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: More sun with warming temperatures
Next: PM Update: Clouds finally break as heat heads in


Kim Martucci stated via Facebook that she's on 4 as a freelancer.

Posted by: evwill | May 25, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Dish Network is right. The weather channel has too much garbage on it, especially in prime time. I long for the old days, when I could tune in any time, day or night, and find out what is going on with the weather around the country.

Posted by: ijamsman | May 25, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I voted "nothing," but do not have a cable provider. There are a lot of options on free over-the-air tv (4.2, 7.2, 9.2 are 24 hour weather). And ABC/Accuweather on 7.2 gives more than just local... See also this video on local weather programming if interested.

Posted by: spgass1 | May 25, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Good to have these updates - thanks evwill... and ijamsman, I kinda know how you feel about the weather channel. sigh. :-/ I have been disappointed since working there in 2002-03. Blah.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | May 25, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I have to withhold a vote...we're locked into Comcast in Arlington County and do not have alternate cable service, though we can always choose one of the satellite services and may be wired for Verizon FIOS...TWC should be working on local service options for all three services: Dish Network, DirecTV and FIOS as well as cable...there would be much better cable service with competition if Arlington County would let in Cox while Fairfax admitted Comcast...RCN should also be in the mix which would include Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria, Falls Church and other areas in Northern Virginia.

As for the Weather Channel, they are pproviding a bit too much "weather-tainment"...I sometimes miss my evening extended outlook at 20 after the hour due to live coverage of Vortex2 wall-cloud chasing on the Great Plains during May [the wall cloud was being very un-cooperative and wouldn't drop a tornado on cue...they could have inserted in the weekly outlook at any time!]. And weekend evenings can be a total loss--we get a rerun of "Storm Stories" rather than the weekly outlook on the twenties--there's always a period of boring weather for the "weather-tainment" episodes.

Otherwise, Kim Martucci is probably best off free-lancing at present--she and her husband are expecting in October and a few months of maternity leave will soon be on the agenda--could this have been a factor involved in the decision at Channel 9? It's quite possible that Kim and WUSA came to a working agreement allowing all parties maximum "wiggle-room" given the probable maternity-leave scenario. Meteorology and motherhood are not mutually exclusive, as we have seen over the years via the example set by Sue Palka over at Channel 5. There is a difference in timing; Sue's children are in middle or high school by now, while Kim is just starting her family. BTW I'm just waiting for the day when all the male mets issue a forecast, which differs from that issued by Sue and Kim--and the Palka/Martucci forecast verifies!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | May 25, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

When we subscribed to Dish when living in DC 2004-06, you didn't get local weather on TWC. Instead, on the 8s, you got the national weather maps and a national forecast chart. Unless things have changed in recent years, Dish viewers aren't getting what cable subscribers get. It sounds like Dish was forcing TWC's hand to make it possible for their satellite subscribers to get local weather updates too.

Posted by: OneSockOn | May 25, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Dish Network customer, and frankly, I didn't notice. I stopped paying attention to the Weather Channel for the same reasons as ijamsman: it stopped giving forecasts are started giving me 'entertainment'.

Posted by: washpost86 | May 25, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Dish Network customer, and frankly, I didn't notice. I stopped paying attention to the Weather Channel for the same reasons as ijamsman: it stopped giving forecasts are started giving me 'entertainment'.

Posted by: washpost86 | May 25, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I only watch the weather channel when I'm not by the computer, when I go to has comprehensive info.

I like most of the weathertainment, except when I want the local on the 8s and some 5 year old movie is running.

No chance Comcast will drop -- when it closes on the NBC deal, it will own the weather channel.

Speaking of NBC, I like Veronica Johnson. Tastefully upbeat.

Posted by: kperl | May 25, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

The Weather Channel is to weather as MTV is to music videos. We need TWC2. I have FIOS and I watch the Weather Channel's local channel (49 in Howard County) for quick forecasts.

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | May 26, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm also really disappointed in The Weather Channel over the past couple of years. Wish Comcast would get the local Weatherscan service out here in the valley. In its absence, I usually consult the WUSA radar on channel 203. There's too much pixelation with the Doug Hill's Weather Now (was better with WTOP running in the background) and WRC's service gets stuck a lot...

Posted by: ValleyCaps | May 26, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

We have FIOs, and it has something called WeatherScan (ch 49), which is 24/7 local forecast/doppler. I love it! It makes up for all those frou-frou shows on TWC. Also, am I the only one who thinks that Al Roker is a sexist dolt and is not doing TWC any favors? I can not stand the man.

Posted by: verbatim | May 27, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

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