The Weather Channel Saturday celebrated its birthday; back in 1982, the cable network went on-air, reports WeatherBoy,com.
Founded by meteorologist John Coleman with Frank Batten, then-CEO of Landmark Communications, the duo kicked-off the cable network at 8pm ET with meteorologists Bruce Edwards and Andre Bernier.
A lot has changed since that first broadcast, with changes in leadership, ownership, and network content.
John Coleman made headlines in 2017 for being a self-proclaimed “scientific realist” that disagrees with climate change theories being proposed by others, including those promoted by the cable network he founded. “Shame on you, Al Gore,” Coleman said. Meteorologists and climatologists “can rarely get on TV, ever since Al Gore made it a plank of the Democratic Party,” Coleman said in a TV news interview. The views of its founder were so different from The Weather Channel in 2017 that it prompted the network to issue a statement of the matter: “Mr. Coleman does have a place in our company’s history, and we appreciate the contributions he made more than 30 years ago. However, we want to be clear: John Coleman is no longer affiliated with our company, and his opinions do not represent The Weather Company. We regret any confusion this has caused.” John Coleman passed away in 2018.
Before becoming the Weather Company, in 2002 The Weather Channel was acquired by NBC Universal and private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain capital in 2008. A year later, NBC Universal was acquired by Comcast.
In 2015, The Weather Company was almost entirely acquired by IBM. The website, Weather.com, the cable network’s mobile app, and all weather forecasting technology and talent associated with WSI and the Weather Company became part of IBM’s Watson arm. One key property wasn’t acquired: the cable network itself. As a result of the deal, The Weather Channel cable television station would simply license weather data and analytics under a long-term deal.
In March 2018, the cable network was acquired once again. Media mogul Byron Allen made the deal through his Entertainment Studios to acquire the network from its owners, The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast/NBCUniversal. While the terms of the deal weren’t made public, the Hollywood Reporter pegs the deal to be around $300 million. The deal does not include The Weather Channel’s digital properties, such as their websites, weather.com and wunderground.com, or their mobile app; those remain the property of IBM. IBM continues to license its weather data to the cable network.