|Type||digital television network|
cable television network (weather/meteorology)
|Availability||On a few American terrestrial digital subchannels; in phaseout|
|Slogan||"All Weather, All the Time."|
The Local AccuWeather Channel is a soon-to-be-defunct American broadcast television network owned by AccuWeather. Operating as a 24-hour advertiser-supported network, it provides national weather forecasts with local forecasts inserted several times an hour by its affiliates. The network operates from AccuWeather's headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania. Primarily carried on the digital subchannels of broadcast television stations, the network is also distributed on the digital cable tiers of certain providers at the discretion of the local affiliate. Most of the network's ad space is turned over to the local affiliate station.
The Local AccuWeather Channel is one of two television channels AccuWeather offers; the AccuWeather Network, launched in 2015, is a channel available only through cable and satellite providers containing no local inserts.
AccuWeather launched The Local AccuWeather Channel in 2005. By July 2011, it had signed up affiliates from Gannett Broadcasting, Belo Corp., Gray Television and Cox Media Group and other covering 27% of the US.
In May 2012, Accuweather signed a content agreement with Fox Television Stations to launch an online-only streaming weather channel using AccuWeather video content. This proposed channel never materialized.
The Local AccuWeather Channel provides national, regional and local weather forecast segments as well as travel and sports forecasts, and lifestyle features. (While the weather forecasts continue to be updated daily, AccuWeather stopped adding lifestyle features and news segments some time in 2019, as a single story—regarding polar bears in Alaska—has been rerun repeatedly in the feature segment four times per hour for several months.) Similar to competitor WeatherNation TV, although unlike The Weather Channel, all national segments on the network are pre-recorded, and are updated every one to six hours depending on the segment – this poses an issue during severe weather events as the network is not able to disseminate real-time weather alerts for regions where a watch or warning is in effect. National segments are presented by on-camera meteorologists employed with AccuWeather (the majority of which have had prior broadcasting experience before joining the network).
Locally produced weather forecast segments – and on some stations, local news and traffic updates – may be provided by the participating network affiliate's weather staff; these forecasts are usually shown after blocks of most national forecast segments, running eight times an hour in two- to three-minute segments. In many areas, a feed of that station's Doppler radar system may be shown; some stations may air a local NOAA Weather Radio station feed during the radar imagery (although some stations carry the local NOAA Weather Radio station's audio feed on a separate second audio program channel).
The segment's duration, including advertisements and local segments, is denoted by a playback bar along the bottom of the video window (which borders the right side of the "L-bar" displayed around the periphery of the screen). Stations have the option to keep the default setup of showing segment titles in a scroll below the video window, or displaying a scrolling news ticker that includes local news headlines, traffic or weather information; the data area's background image is also changed on an hourly basis in order to prevent burn-in on LCD television sets.
The network also employs a severe weather mode during inclement weather; affiliates may also breakaway from the network's content if the station wants to use the subchannel for either extended news and weather coverage or push programming from the station's main feed to the subchannel.
Similar in design to that used by The Weather Channel and former competitor NBC Weather Plus, local weather information on The Local AccuWeather Channel is displayed continuously on an "L-bar," which appears at the left and bottom thirds of the screen, even during commercial breaks; the channel's programming and any other programming carried by the local affiliate is displayed above and to the right of the display. The left side of the bar displays station identification on the top left (on local feeds, the station's logo and sometimes, the web address as well is shown); current weather observations for cities within the region, and local advertisements (as well as ads for AccuWeather) appear at the bottom left two-thirds, with time and temperature information appearing below that.
Rotating forecast information is shown on the bottom right portion of the bar, consisting of a 12-hour (including sky condition and temperature) and five-day forecasts (displaying predicted weather conditions and temperatures), descriptive daypart forecasts and predicted ultraviolet index values. The weather observations and local forecasts are displayed at 10-second intervals. Weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service are also shown on the bar when active, with a map showing alerts in effect for the station's viewing area displayed at the middle left (along with a color legend corresponding to each alert type) and a description of the active alert on the bottom right of the bar (which is not always synched with the alert map).
Modifications to the "L-bar" were introduced in December 2008, removing the two-panel setup in favor of a larger left-side panel which displays a more detailed radar imagery and hourly weather forecasts, as well as AccuWeather and affiliate advertisements, along with tweaks to the appearance of the bottom right panel.[clarification needed]
Unlike the now-defunct NBC Weather Plus, over-the-air affiliates of The Local AccuWeather Channel are not affiliated with a single network. Many of the stations that carried the network were affiliated with either NBC, CBS, Fox or ABC. For the most part, the local stations do not label the AccuWeather service as a so-called "Local AccuWeather Channel," nor does the network have a separate logo. Instead, the local stations use their own branding for the affiliated subchannel (such as "Weather Now"). In most markets, the network's affiliate carries the station's brand, and either the AccuWeather.com brand or a statement such as "powered by AccuWeather.com".
As of summer 2019, The Local AccuWeather Channel's affiliate count has dwindled to two full-time, full-power affiliates, both owned by Tegna, plus one low-power affiliate and four other stations that use AccuWeather data or graphics, but do not carry AccuWeather's video programming on the feeds for varying reasons, including one station in Milwaukee which is a PBS member station and cannot carry any traditional commercial advertising.
Not all of the network's commercial affiliates air its complete schedule; a few of AccuWeather's affiliates also air a limited amount of other types of syndicated programs; stations may opt to move regularly scheduled network programming to the AccuWeather subchannel during extended severe weather or breaking news coverage that requires the station to pre-empt the programs on its primary channel. All affiliates were previously required to preempt part of the schedule with at least three hours of educational children's programs in accordance with U.S. law, as AccuWeather (unusually among digital multicast networks) does not provide that programming as part of its feed; the educational requirement was repealed for digital subchannels July 2019.