The Weather Channel is introducing a program that should delight the wonkiest weather fans. Called “Weather Geeks”, the half hour talk show on contemporary weather issues debuts this Sunday at noon.
This is essentially the weather community’s version of Sunday morning talk shows like “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation”.
“Whether it be mitigating against drought, chemtrails and HAARP; debating machines vs. humans in weather forecasting; or discussing the pros and cons of storm chasing — Weather Geeks will seek to tackle the issues that are top of mind in the weather community but rarely explored in depth on television,” says the program’s press release.
The launch of the show signals The Weather Channel – criticized in recent years for airing off-topic reality shows instead of straight weather programming – is taking on a more serious role in weather journalism.
“It’s a labor of love, we’re not expecting high ratings,” said David Clark, president of The Weather Channel TV network in a conference call with the weather community.
Clark added in the show’s press release: “We recognize that we play a role in a much larger [weather] community and we felt an obligation to set aside air time for that community to come together and share ideas and expertise.”
The show will be hosted by Marshall Shepherd, director of University of Georgia’s atmospheric science department and the 2013 president of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
“One of the greatest aspects of my involvement with AMS and our community as a whole is the opportunity to hear the best minds in our field discuss the most pressing issues in weather,” said Shepherd. “Our vision is for Weather Geeks to be a weekly forum for those types of discussions, and I am looking forward to inviting scientists from across the weather community to be a part of the show.”
The program’s debut guest this Sunday is legendary storm chaser and tornado researcher Charles Doswell. He’ll engage in a dialog on the pros and cons of tornado chasing. Doswell has penned provocative blog posts blasting the behavior of many storm chasers.
In 2011, in a blog post titled “Chasing has passed me by” Doswell wrote:
I can’t say I have any wish whatsoever to seek to keep up with what chasing has become…
I look at the videos people claim are fantastic on FB [Facebook] but I see almost no quality video. Most of it is the “edgy” sort of “reality video” that’s all the rage these days.
This past June he quipped:
…it sure seems to me that storm chasing is being flooded with a large infusion of folks out there chasing who are, as my friend Gene Moore says, mostly about themselves and not so much about the storms. “Look at me!” they shout. “I’m special because I chase storms [stupidly!].” They seem to care little or nothing about the feelings of storm victims as they cheer a tornado touchdown in their videos. They thumb their noses at the very notion of chasers being responsible to others.
On the following week’s show scheduled to air July 27, I am thrilled to say that I will appear as a guest. The topic of the show is “Social media, hype and weather” – should be fun :) (More information forthcoming)
Weather Geeks already has a Twitter account, @WXGeeksTWC which you can follow for the latest announcements about the show. The show will also have a blog that focuses on the relevant topics and guests.