We've got a Weather Channel for sale, a Weather Channel for sale
I remember a Saturday Night Live sketch from the late 1970's where Harry Shearer was a DJ at a radio station that only gave the time of day. No music, no news, no weather -- just the time. I am always reminded of that sketch every time I watch The Weather Channel. I mean, who would have thought that 24 hours worth of weather forecasts would ever amount to anything?
Landmark Communications apparently did when it started the channel back in 1982. Now, the network, along with its Weather.com site and various other enterprises, is bringing in billions of dollars to the communications company. Sadly, though, Landmark may lose this linchpin since the family that owns the privately-owned company is looking into putting it up for sale.
This means that The Weather Channel, as well as two television stations and nine daily newspapers, may be up for grabs. The jewel would be TWC, which could fetch more than $5 billion (with a 'b' folks) dollars. It is already attracting interest from NBC, News Corp (Ugh) and cable giant Comcast. And, who wouldn't want a piece of the pie? Heck, TWC's web site, Weather.com, ranks as the 18th largest media site by traffic and garnered 32 million (with a 'm') unique users in November 2007 alone.
Not everyone is happy about this potential sale of The Weather Channel to a publicly-owned conglomerate. In fact, Debora J. Wilson, chief executive of TWC, said in an interview that her network could probably go it alone as an independent entity. I could see that working, especially due to the weather changes we have seen over the last few years. Would they have to shelve a good part of the niche programming that borders on weather in order to refocus? Probably. But, they would still have a strong audience, particularly if they expanded their local Weathercenter service across the country.
Hmm, maybe it's time to start The Time Channel after all.