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Ch.7 ends Ch.2 streak, gets to promote its weather forecasts as "most accurate"; Ch.4's 4 p.m. viewership drops from premiere

Channel 2’s reign as the “most accurate” weather team in Western New York town is over.

That’s if you believe in the accuracy of WeatheRate, which bills itself as the only independent weather forecast verification company in the United States.

Starting Friday, WKBW-TV’s “7 First Alert Weather Team’” will be the proud owner of the new certification of “Most Accurate” weather forecasting in Western New York from WeatheRate.

Channel 2 has won the honor and promoted it for the past 11 years.

One of the criticisms of WeatheRate is that stations often keep the honor for years after they receive it. Another criticism is that stations often pay a fee to use the certification.

The honor’s primary selling point to stations is the ability to use it in its promos, something that Channel 2 has often done.

Channel 7, which is the third-rated news station in town, undoubtedly will do the same thing to promote chief meteorologist Aaron Mentkowski and the weather team that includes Andy Parker, Mike Randall,  Autumn Lewandowski and Jessica McLaughlin.

“We always pride ourselves of delivering an accurate forecast and now it’s official,” said Michael Nurse, vice president and general manager for WKBW in a release.  “The WeatheRate seal of approval confirms that our 7 First Alert meteorologists are bringing our customers what they expect from their weather team.  Now we are the largest, most experienced and most accurate weather team that you can count on everywhere in Western New York.”

A Channel 7 release notes that WeatheRate compared the local TV weather forecasts dealing with high and low temperatures, sky cover, precipitation, snow accumulations, wind, fog and the timing of severe weather in Buffalo from March 1, 2015 to Feb.28, 2016. It is not affiliated with any TV stations or the companies that own them.

“We are very proud of this recognition that shows how much we strive to give an accurate forecast every day,” said Mentkowski.  “Our meteorologists carefully analyze our forecasts and using our expertise we create the best and most accurate presentation for all the areas in Western New York.”

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner noted his station had the second longest streak in the country.

“It is kind of a neat little marketing nugget,” said Toellner.

“The formula for the designation is 100 percent based on your website forecast at midnight,” Toellner added. “It has zero to do with your morning show forecast, your midday forecast, your early evening show forecasts or any televised forecast, only what your website says at midnight when they collect the data.  We actually did not purchase the seal for a number of years during our streak for a number of reasons, including objections from a certain meteorologist no longer here.  He thought it was so much rubbish at the time.”

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realize Toellner most likely was referring to Parker, who left for Channel 7 to work on a morning show that apparently isn’t part of WeatheRate’s criteria.

It appears that alert WNY viewers may be quickly surmising that Channel 4’s newscast at 4 p.m. doesn’t have a lot of new local news and is more devoted to features, many from CBS.

The second day of the 4 p.m. news for Channel 4 Tuesday saw a 30 percent drop from day one. It had a 2.8 rating on Tuesday, down from a 4.0 on Monday, and finished fourth in the time slot to a repeat of Channel 2’s “Ellen” (3.6) Channel 7’s “Hot Bench” (3.0) and “Maury Povich” (3.0) on Channel 29.

On Wednesday, the 4 p.m. news on Channel 4 had a 3.2 rating and finished second in the time slot behind a repeat “Ellen” (4.4) and ahead of “Hot Bench” (3.0) and “Maury Povich” (1.4).

Channel 4 does get one huge advantage by carrying the extra hour of news. It gets much more time to sell commercials than it did when it paid to carry syndicated programs. However, it also has the expense of carrying the staffers hired to work on the program.

Fox Sports 1 is honoring the late actor Ken Howard today by carrying a 15-episode marathon of “The White Shadow.” Howard, who died last week, played inner city high school basketball coach Ken Reeves on the program that ran from 1978 through 1981. The marathon started at 6 a.m. and after a three-hour break starting at noon continues at 3 p.m. and ends at 7 a.m. Friday.




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