Paying Attention To The Details

Landmark Communications, which owns The Weather Channel, is "exploring the possibility" of selling part or all of the company, possibly for as much as $5 billion — and I found that interesting.

See, a couple of years ago, there was a big dust-up in Congress over the fact that the National Weather Service was providing its predictions about the weather free to any radio or TV station that requested it. Not only that, but it would provide a seven-day weather forecast tailored to your personal ZIP code, or hour-by-hour predictions of the temperature, wind speed, humidity and chance of rain, all of which could be beamed to your cellphone - all on your (that is to say, the taxpayers') dime.

Of course, the Republican-controlled Congress could have none of that, so (now-former) Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) introduced a bill that would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites.

That bill failed, and what with the likelihood of a (more) Democratic-controlled Congress after the 2008 election — a Congress that (theoretically) believes that taxpayers should actually get some services for the money they pay in — it's unlikely that they would pass a bill like Santorum's, and The Weather Channel's profits would continue to go down. Hence the sale notice.

Well, anyway, I found it interesting ...


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