Weather Broadcasts New Look

  • Published
  • By Paige Rowland
  • Air Force Weather Agency Public Affairs
American Forces Network viewers in the Pacific Region will see graphically enhanced forecasts on the network's "Weather Update" shows beginning June 12.

Three-dimensional motion graphics and animated icons are some of the big changes for the new shows, aimed at bringing a "touch of home" to service members, government civilians and their families stationed in more than 170 countries around the world.

"The latest changes are really equal to what you would see on a major network," said Melvin Russell, director, American Forces Radio and Television Service. "We pride ourselves in providing the same entertainment, news and sports you would get in the states, and weather is part of that 'touch of home' we provide," said Russell.

Viewers will also notice the Air Force Weather Agency shield more prominently displayed throughout the shows, giving AFWA a greater visual presence in the revised show format.

Until AFRTS partnered with Air Force Weather Agency in early 1998 and created the American Forces Network Weather Center here, regional and local weather reports were non-existent at all but a very few of the largest AFN outlets in countries where American troops and their families were deployed.

"We want viewers to know we're military weather forecasters providing them with the most accurate weather information available in the military," said Tech. Sgt. (sel) Darrin Hughes, AFNWC producer and forecaster. "We're proud of our contributions to AFRTS and their quality of life initiatives," said Hughes.

The new show format follows a number of significant technical upgrades made to the AFNWC by AFRTS. The studio improvements allow the forecaster to spend more time on the meteorology behind the forecast while still being able to produce a graphically appealing product.

Enhancing the quality of the weather segments is an ongoing effort by AFRTS and AFWA that progresses with the technology available. In the near future, producers hope to get the weather shows on the web. "The streaming technology is not quite what it needs to be," said Russell, "but we are moving there very quickly."

The two-minute "Weather Update" shows are in addition to daily "Extended Forecast" and "AMC Space-A" forecast shows that AFWA produces daily. These weather shows air throughout the day on all AFRTS television services. They make up 10 percent of the original broadcast content that AFRTS intersperses with stateside news, sports and entertainment programming on the network, and have become an indispensable part of AFN programming.

"It's great to have the AFWA weather professionals working with our broadcast professionals. The show really takes a combined effort to make it a success," said Russell.

The Atlantic and Europe "Weather Updates" will transition to the new show format in July.