On Philippine TV Weather Reporting

There was a time in Philippine TV history when Ernie Baron was considered the only face of weather news and trivia. During those unchallenged years, Ernie Baron was able to establish himself as someone who could really do the chores of a meteorologist and the commitment to be the ‘walking encyclopedia.’

Some are positive nobody can ever replace the mileage an Ernie Baron has created. But there are also others who say, KIm Atienza is also a force to consider, since he can offer not only weather and trivial literature. He possesses the caliber of a Steve Irwin via his award-winning science show, Matanglawin and interestingly, has the skill-set needed to reporting traffic news via TV Patrol. (Not to mention his hosting duties for Showtime)

One of the advantages of TV Patrol is its undying segment on weather. For the past two decades since TV Patrol’s inception, changes were made and drastic program reformats were introduced. Some segments were dissolved to make way for the new ones, but the segment on weather stays. A significant turning point in what we may refer to as “the history of weather and trivia reporting” was the transfer of duties from Ernie Baron to Kim Atienza.

Ernie Baron expressed his intention to bequeath his throne as ABS-CBN’s resident weatherman to Kim Atienza. It was at these days when Kim Atienza started changing his personality from a politician to a newsman — from Congressman Kim Atienza to Kuya Kim. Although we can say that in a company as big as ABS-CBN, nobody is indispensable, people have witnessed the constant need for a person to report on weather news.

“Nung binakante niya ‘yon at binasbasan niya ako, malaki ang pasasalamat ko. Walang makakatumbas kay Ka Ernie Baron,” said Kim Atienza admitting no one can replace Ernie Baron. (published March 2009, B. Francisco)

The significance of having a weather segment in a TV newscast was undisguisedly felt by its rivals, GMA7 and later, TV5. To come up with a segment on weather, GMA7 has to get the service of a forecaster from PAGASA while TV5’s Aksyon has likewise followed the trend.

Back then, it was harder for Ernie Baron to stand on a chroma pretending to see the virtual weather map of the Philippine Islands while giving the weather news, as compared to the technology TV newscasts are enjoying today.

TV newscasts shall continue including weather news — not on the basis of competition, but simply on the idea that this type of news is a need, not just an accessory to a newscast.

In view of today’s dramatic change in the environment, it is now a tall order to make it a crusade, if not a corporate social responsibility for giant networks to intensify weather reporting. And while reporting may include scientific terms, it is a newsman’s duty to make even the tiniest piece of detail comprehensible, as much as possible.

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Blog Watch receives the “Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism  for their story on “Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda” . Forbes Philippines also received the same award.

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