Why doesn’t The Weather Channel have a public tour? Why won’t they even allow the public in their building? Why can’t they place their name on the front of the sterile block of anti-septic concrete and dark glass in which their studios reside? What is The Weather Channel trying to hide?
My daughter wishes to become an on-air meteorologist. While traveling to Atlanta for the FIRST Robotics World Festival (my company sponsored one of the competing teams and my daughter was assigned to write an article on her school’s team), we thought it natural to let her visit The Weather Channel studios. Makes sense, right? High school student from Western New York seeks to learn the trade of communicating atmospheric phenomenon to the masses, the world’s leading purveying of such a mere few miles from the hotel; ergo, high school student arranges to shadow her dream job. Simple? One would think so.
And one would be wrong.
Try finding a telephone number for The Weather Channel on the internet. If you go to their site (www.weather.com) you will find nothing. If you Google “Weather Channel telephone number” you will get what appears to be good leads but once you click on the link you get their cryptic web-site again. For all the detailed information contained on the site, you’d think they’d tell you the basics of their company. Here’s all they tell you: In question 6 on their FAQ (“What is The Weather Channel’s mailing address?”) they provide this answer: “The Weather Channel mailing address is: 300 Interstate North Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339. Our main telephone number is (770) 226-0000.”
I called the number only to discover The Weather Channel has no public tours, it offers no shadowing for students and, in fact, it claims to not be open to the public.
“Oh, well,” I thought, “There’s always CNN.” For those of you who don’t know, CNN does have a small weather studio. It also has a very good and quite comprehensive tour of their studio facilities in Atlanta. We took that and found ourselves quite satisfied. (Except for the part about me not being able to be interviewed for work, but that was a long shot anyway. Besides, I still have a standing invitation from Neil Cavuto next time I’m in New York.)
Still, my daughter’s teacher asked for a picture from the Weather Channel, so we decided to travel the seven miles to 300 Interstate North Parkway. There we had hoped to at least find a sign proclaiming the presence of The Weather Channel. We arrived about 15 minutes after our departure. A non-descript building greeted us. It looked like some CIA architect had designed it, as its unlabeled exterior and black paneled windows just oozed secrecy.
Truth be told, we weren’t even sure we had the correct building until the satellite dishes off to the side of the parking lot tipped us off. And the only reason why we went into the parking was to turn around and leave. But, as we turned, Lo! And Behold! we found a cheesy-looking billboard shroud advertising The Weather Channel’s free iPhone app.
On our way out of the parking lot, we also found an entire row of spaces set aside for “visitor” parking.
I guess we didn’t rate.
Ironically, my incessant need to watch The Weather Channel (when it used to be all weather, all the time) during my daughter’s formative years most probably influenced her decision to pursue a career in television weather reporting. I’m just wondering if this experience changed her mind.