Weather on the Air: A History of Broadcast Meteorology. Robert Henson AMS Books, 2010 Hardback (Amazon) 241 pp ISBN 978-1-878220-98-1


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This is an American book and its interest to UK readers is likely to be restricted to those of us with a particular interest in TV and radio weather broadcasting, who will find the comparisons between US and UK styles absorbing. It gives a thorough insight into broadcast meteorology, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. The author was a student of meteorology and journalism at the University of Oklahoma and wrote his thesis on the broadcasting of severe weather warnings on local television so, although not a broadcast meteorologist himself, he has a strong interest in, and close connection with, TV weather.

The book is engaging and well written, with interesting asides and anecdotes. It starts with a whirlwind tour through the history of broadcast met. and picks up on the fact that weathercasters in films are very often portrayed as either comedy characters or depressives! Successive chapters look at, among other things, the faces and voices of TV and radio weather, the forecasters behind the scenes, the technical and scientific aspects as well as developments over the years, and the responsibility of networks and weather presenters to convey messages to the public such as weather warnings and climate change issues.