Extended Time for the Extended Forecast

If you are like many broadcast meteorologists, more often than not, you save very little time for the extended forecast.

Several years ago I was talking about ratings with another broadcast meteorologist at an AMS conference. He told me that he intentionally spent about 20-30 seconds on the extended forecast. He claimed after he started doing this, his station moved from number three to number two in the market.

Now, I have no way of verifying that statement. But I do know from my years of on-air experience that the only graphic viewers really want to see is the extended forecast.

I thought I was spending enough time on the forecast…until I timed it. It turns out, I was only leaving about 7-10 seconds for the most important graphic in the weathercast! That’s not enough time to ingest all the details.

Time for a new strategy

So I decided to start hitting the hot button as soon as I got the 30-second cue. No matter where I was in the weathercast, I tried to transition to the extended forecast as quickly as possible.

As you know, thirty seconds is a long time! To make the most of it, I would point out the general trend, explain the next 2-3 days in detail, and then highlight the upcoming weekend.

Eventually, I created several different versions of the extended outlook to highlight specific days and weather events. One revealed the forecast a day at a time. That was useful during complicated weather patterns. Another visually emphasized specific days when the next big weather change was expected. This empowered me to tell better weather stories.

How much time do you leave in the weathercast for the extended outlook?

I can’t say for sure this will change your ratings. But I know it will serve your viewers better. And isn’t that the point?