October 5, 1999 Meeting

The meeting was held at the National Weather Network office and studios in Jackson. The guest speakers was Edward St. Pe and Jason McCleave of NWN.

Meeting Minutes

On 5 October 1999, the chapter met at the National Weather Network Studios/Office in Jackson, Mississippi. The National Weather Network (NWN) is a television/radio service in existence since 1991 and provides weather broadcasts for numerous television and radio stations around the nation. NWN now utilizes “cutting edge” digital communication technology to get taped broadcasts to their customers rapidly and efficiently.

The meeting began with a very elightening presentation by NWN director, Edward St. Pe, also the founder of NWN. St. Pe talked extensively about his pre-NWN years in weather broadcasting and how NWN came into existence. He started by doing broadcasts for just a few radio stations in Louisiana, his home state. With some initiative and imagination, he soon became involved in offering a remote weather broadcast service to television stations that employed no weather broadcasters. St. Pe generated weather broadcasts for his customers and transmitted the broadcasts via satellite to each station. The company now employs 12 persons and provides broadcasts to about 70 television stations. Their goal is to build up to 100 television stations. Last March, NWN added a digital communications system that enables them to broadcast weather 24 hours a day, and NWN is now on the Internet and providing video weather broadcasts. St. Pe is very exicted about the future of weather broadcasting. He believes that the latest trend of incorporating terrestrial broadband communication into cable systems is going to “blow the world” by offering an incredible amount of interactivity to each cable customer.

After St. Pe’s presentation, the meeting shifted to the studio portion of NWN where the chapter got to see firsthand how the broadcasts are generated. NWN now uses a state-of-the-art computer system to generate graphics for the broadcasts. Broadcast meteorologist Jason McCleave gave an overview of the system and its capabilities.

McCleave wrapped up the meeting by giving a tour of the control room where the new digital communications hardware is located. It is also where weather broadcasts are edited and stored for transmission to NWN customers. A short question-and-answer session followed with discussion focusing on some of the market types that NWN provides for. Interestingly, many of the NWN customers are located in top 10 television markets, which led McCleave to say, “Where else can a person come out of college and go straight into a top 10 market?” Overall, much was learned by the chapter on weather broadcasting and its bright future.

Minutes submitted by Eric Carpenter.

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