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weather broadcasting in winston salem

By Jessie Davis, Observer Winston-Salem

Mr. Wiley K. Sims and his all-girl Weather Bureau in Winston-Salem, N.C., are attracting no little attention in that area by reason of their weather broadcasts over a local radio station. Four broadcasts are made daily except Sunday, when one is omitted; all broadcasts originate from the Weather Bureau Office.

Mr. Sims gives about half of the weather reports, and the three girls, Wenona Long, Penelope Grice and Jessie Davis, give the rest. Though Winston-Salem is one of the few places where women are doing this kind of work, it has been found that no more special training is required for the girls than for men.

Prerequisites for any weather broadcaster are a clear, pleasing voice, good enunciation, good diction, and the ability to think and act quickly. To make the weather broadcast interesting, he must avoid dry facts and figures. He should employ catchy phrases, descriptive adjectives, rather than stereotyped sentences. Technical terms are to be used very sparingly. A conversational tone is desired. The voice should have expression and be vibrant with interest.

The nature of radio broadcasting demands a certain amount of order, a formal approach. In the Winston-Salem weather broadcasts the following elements are given as time permits: a greeting, current local temperature, forecast for the city and vicinity, summary of weather conditions over the United States with special emphasis on the Southeast, past records when appropriate, total rainfall during a rainy period, rainfall at other stations when heavy, maximum and minimum temperatures in Winston-Salem and elsewhere when unusually high or low. A severe storm, a cold wave, or a hurricane is picked up and followed through until it is no longer news. Sometimes a little instruction in meteorology or debunking of fallacies about the weather is included in an attempt to educate the public so that there will be a more informed listening audience.

This audience includes residents within a sixty-mile radius of Winston-Salem. Some of the towns and cities that fall within the listening range of the local radio station are Reidsville, Greensboro, Thomasville, Lexington, High Point, Statesville, Salisbury, Burlington and Concord. Also many rural communities in this section of North Carolina and south central Virginia make the weather broadcasts a part of their daily radio fare.

The Winston-Salem Weather Bureau staff feel that they are offering their best service through their radio broadcasts. Farmers are perhaps the most benefited by frequent and up to the minute forecasts and weather information.

For that reason one of the broadcasts is on the Piedmont Farm Program. The program consists of farm news, market reports, music, farm announcements, programs by the different Granges, talks by county agents, and leaders in farm club work. The program originates in the studio of WSJS, on occasion it emanates from a place where a dairy and cattle show is being held. The weather broadcast heads the program, lasts from three to five minutes, and is given from the Weather Bureau Office. Farmers are interested mostly in the trends of weather, that is whether or not there will be several good days for outside activities, or when the next rainy spell will strike and about how long it will last. Many farmers have written telling how much they appreciate the weather reports.

But not only farmers listen to and are aided in their planning by the weather broadcasts. Painters, transportation companies, contractors, construction engineers, school children, travelers, and many others have listened and profited by planning their activities according to what they heard about weather conditions and prospects.

Almost every day some favorable comment has been made about the helpful service rendered by the Winston-Salem Weather Bureau’s broadcasts. WSJS, to whom the Weather Bureau is indebted for the opportunity to render this service, says that the weather broadcasts are one of their most popular local programs, that many people tune in that station just to get the weather.

Another local radio station has asked if it also might broadcast weather information and forecasts by Weather Bureau personnel direct from the Weather Bureau office. Although it was though the present set-up was sufficient, there were no very strong reasons for refusing the other radio station, so soon the Winston-Salem Weather Bureau office may be giving seven broadcasts a day.

In: “The BREEZE”, Vol 2, No. 2. March 10, 1945. Pp. 4-5.


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