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
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.