WEDNESDAY, MAY 2: Want weather?
It’s as simple as checking your iPad or iPhone and, for millions of us, that means looking at a Weather Channel app.
Ohhh, if Noah had only had a smartphone on the ark! Then, he wouldn’t have had to keep releasing those birds to bring him the good news.
Thirty years ago today, the world met the first 24-hour television service devoted completely to weather. Despite its early slogan of “You Need Us for Everything You Do,” the Weather Channel barely made it out of the rain its first few years. Do you remember all the jokes about this seemingly boring TV concept back in the early 1980s?
Nevertheless, a steady audience helped the Weather Channel out of the dark, and today the Weather Channel companies reach 168 million unique consumers every month. As for those smartphones and tablets, many are carrying the No. 2 most popular app—the Weather Channel app. (MediaBistro published an overview and the press release.)
Look up into the sky! Not for rain clouds this time, though—for the Empire State Building’s decorative “Weather Channel Blue” lights, in honor of the station’s 30th anniversary. (Even Wikipedia has a page on the History of the Weather Channel.) On air, viewers can catch a glance of how far weather technology has come in the past three decades; watch interviews with prominent forecasters and celebrities; or review the most severe weather seen since 1982. Online, Weather.com surfers can check out a completely redesigned site—or listen to everyone from Dolly Parton to Will Ferrell salute The Weather Channel’s anniversary.
Now, for the Big Question: Does God play a part in The Weather Channel? Well, not exactly—although God’s name is frequently invoked on Weather.com. As pointed out by the ReligionNerd.com, site commentators often refer to everything from prayer to God’s wrath and End-of-Times when referring to severe weather.
It’s no secret that, for millenia, a higher power has been associated with weather. From primitive faiths to Judaism and Christianity—the gods have been connected with natural disasters and weather-related miracles. Even Martin Luther claims he was “struck” with the notion of entering the monastic life during a fierce thunderstorm. In a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Service, 59 percent of evangelicals believe God can use natural disasters to send messages to human beings; 31 percent of Catholics believe the same; and 34 percent of Protestants make the claim.
Wait! Is that a clap of thunder we just heard outside the RTSpirit home office?