From where I sit On The Kowch, the 25th anniversary of the Fall of The Berlin Wall got me thinking back to my days at The Weather Network (TWN) as a part time weekend producer. The whole world was watching television coverage of the Wall coming down. No one was watching The Weather Network to find out what the weather was going to be later in the day.
I remember sitting in the TWN control room in Montreal looking at the monitors. There was a live shot of the studio with our anchor talking about high and low pressure systems across the country … clouds here … sunny there – a typical fall day across Canada. While in Berlin it was not a typical day at the Wall. On the other monitors, under clear sunny skies, were crowds standing on the wall waving flags while others on the ground were hacking chunks out of the wall or spray painting it.
That’s when I got the idea of how to bring The Weather Network in line with the rest of the TV networks and talk about the fall of the Berlin Wall. When I told the staff they looked at me like I was nuts.
“You know, this is The Weather Network, not the CBC,” said one staffer.
From where I sit On The Kowch, I find it amazing how PPM technology today allows TV and radio stations to zoom in on how ratings were impacted on a certain day because of a major event. Take the December, 2013 ice storm and blackout in the Greater Toronto Area.
Bell Media’s new Cross Media Research Team looked at the PPM ratings between December 20 and 22nd to figure out how GTA residents consumed media on those two days. With new Personal People Meters (little electronic receivers people wear that records what radio or TV stations they have tuned to) researchers were able to pinpoint where residents turned for news on the ice storm and subsequent loss of electricity for 300,000 homes.
From where I sit on On The Kowch, FM stations who played Christmas music 24/7 and the five sports stations that carried the men and women’s final Olympic hockey games, struck PPM gold. The All Christmas Music format and Olympic hockey provided a boost in PPM ratings in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal during the Winter PPM Ratings.
From where I sit On the Kowch, summer time is about hot and hazy weather with high humidity that leads to severe weather and great summer radio ratings. Now, I know it’s not nice to think of ratings at a time of people’s misfortunes. But that’s how radio people think. And it’s not a bad thing because in order to get those ratings you have to take into account the need of your listeners when bad weather strikes.