Poll finds local television is leading source for weather info


They may have cable channels out there devoted to nothing but weather reports, but a poll from Rasmussen recently found that the majority of Americans still rely on their local television station when they want to know how the weather may affect their plans.

As it turns out, cable didn’t even come in second.

Here is how the results shook out from Rasmussen’s survey, which asked respondents to identity their primary source of weather information:

* 54%: local television

* 20%: internet

* 19%: cable television

* 5%: radio

* 2%: newspaper

According to Rasmussen, 51% of respondents believe the media makes the weather sound worse than it really is, compared to 37% who think the media plays it straight and 12% who don’t know or have no opinion.

RBR-TVBR observation: We have to admit that we were surprised that cable didn’t get a stronger response in this survey, which clearly shows that local television stations recognize this as a key bread-and-butter item on their local reporting menu.

But it was no surprise at all to see that newspapers are a non-factor in this competition. We have occasionally looked at USA Today-style weather maps because, well, they’re kind of fun to look at. Full disclosure – we’ll sometimes just look at maps, for no particular reason beyond simple curiosity, whether they’re weather maps or not.

But actually go to a newspaper for weather info? In our own case, the one and only reason we have ever done that is to get the scant information provided on out-of-market weather. What’s happening in my brother’s town in California? What’s going on in the market we’ll be traveling to next week? That sort of thing. But using a newspaper as a primary source of current local weather information? It’s amazing Rasmussen even found 2% that admitted to it.

As for the media exaggerating the negative side of the weather, we believe that it does, but that there is method to this madness. It is better to have predicted problems and have them not happen, than to watch your area get blasted by a storm system of one kind or another that wasn’t mentioned at all. Media outlets have no choice but to mention all possibilities.