When Verizon FiOS dumped The Weather Channel for the upstart Accuweather Channel earlier this month, TWC began going on offense. This morning TWC Chairman and CEO David Kenny criticized his new rival for showing zoo videos, while Weather Channel covered a tornado outbreak.
“It’s become abundantly clear that Accuweather can not serve viewers during severe weather like we can,” Kenny wrote in a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser.
The TWC boss goes on to call Accuweather “galling” and calls for his employees to cancel all Verizon services. Kenny even offers to pick up the tab if Weather Channel employees dump Verizon.
Of course, TWC’s programming choices have long been under the microscope of weather purists. Over the years, the network has expanded its slate of reality shows, which became a point of contention during TWC’s renewal negotiations with DirecTV last year.
Check out the entire email that Kennt sent to staffers:
It has been several weeks since Verizon decided to drop The Weather Channel from the FiOS lineup and replace it with Accuweather. We have made continued efforts to engage them but they are holding firm. I cannot explain the logic behind their decision – I think we can all agree that it is reckless for several reasons…
First, we’ve entered tornado season. It’s become abundantly clear that Accuweather can not serve viewers during severe weather like we can.
We saw that last Wednesday night, when we featured live coverage from Oklahoma. Interestingly, Accuweather took a shot at the NWS for calling the tornado potential “low” that day, yet the Accuweather network itself, as you can see in the image below, was not even covering weather during Oklahoma’s severe outbreak. Here’s their coverage on the left:
Yes, hippos swimming.
We were, of course, providing live coverage of the severe weather in Oklahoma before, during and after the storm. FiOS subscribers were understandably outraged and voiced their dismay all over social media.
Second, that coverage is even more galling considering Accuweather slammed the NWS about their local office in OK’s forecast. We, along with many in the weather community, feel it was a brazen and misleading assault on NOAA and the NWS. Everything we do, from the network and our digital properties to our professional services, is in partnership with government weather services. We all share the same mission of keeping people safe and informed, so it’s disappointing to see Accuweather break ranks with them in such a disrespectful manner just to make a few sales.
We weren’t the only ones who noticed…Gawker’s The Vane called out Accuweather for their hypocritical posturing, noting that they alerted their business clients to the impending danger but not the general public.
Severe weather outbreaks like the ones last week in Oklahoma remind us of the importance of what we do and how much our viewers value our network. People are coming out in droves to support us. Heartfelt op-eds continue to appear with comments like “Personally, I’m flying blind without TWC,” and “I won’t go through hurricane season, let alone any climate change fallout, without The Weather Channel.”
One fan has taken it even further and created a poll to show Verizon how much people want the network back. We have put the poll on keeptheweatherchannel.com, on our Facebook page and on the FiOS FB page. I encourage all of you to go on and take the poll.
And it’s time to take even further action. For those of you who are Verizon customers, please cancel your service and move to another provider. Not just FiOS, but all of Verizon. Anyone that questions the value of the meaningful work we do doesn’t deserve your business. We shouldn’t support a company that is making reckless decisions and comments. There are other providers, many that will offer you great deals to make the switch. In fact, we will cover cancellation fees for anybody who needs to get out of a FIOS contract. If you switch providers, simply email Angela Shartar and and she will facilitate a reimbursement for your cancellation fees.
Thank you all for your dedication to making The Weather Channel the best weather source out there, bar none. What we do matters to people’s lives. At a time when a provider is questioning our value, you continue to show why no other weather network can truly replace us.