The Evolution of Television Weather Reports

By | July 3, 2019

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Jack Lescoulie doing the weather report from Atlantic City on June 26, 1956 -- Photo by: NBC/NBC NewsWire(Getty Images)

If you are like most people, you probably have at least one weather app on your phone. With access to up-to-date weather right in our pockets anytime we want it, you may think that television weather forecasts could quickly become a thing of the past. So far, at least, that doesn't seem to be the case. The Weather Channel is going strong, and folks still tune into the evening news to see that their local TV station's weather personality is predicting for the coming week. Weather reports have been a staple of television broadcasting since the beginning. Let's take a look at the history of broadcast meteorology.

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In the 1920s, radio broadcasters simply read basic weather information. (

Two Technology Booms and the First Weather Report

Advances in weather forecasting came along almost at the same time that broadcast technology, particularly radio, was drastically improving. The goal of the newly developed radio---and later, television---was to disseminate information to the public quickly and clearly. In April 1915, a technology-loving meteorologist named Clarence Root, who was the director of the U.S. Weather Bureau in Springfield, Illinois, sent out the first weather forecast to a select group of people using wireless broadcasting. Root had already realized the potential of broadcasting to reach people quickly. He said "I believe that wireless will, in the future, be the method of distributing weather forecasts. It is much quicker than mail. In times of frosts or approaching storms, the information is of inestimable value to farmers and growers."