Stars fall, Green Weather Channel cancelled

Published 4:42 am Wednesday, November 26, 2008

By By Lowell McGill
After only a few months of operation, NBC announced this week the discontinuation of its entire Weather Channel Green Unit, regarded by some as the liberal wing of TWC.
This unit never really got off the ground.
The Washington Post reported the layoffs this week. Almost immediately after NBC Universal bought The Weather Channel the “Green Image” became highly visible to viewers. News stories and special programming about pollution in America and global warming became very evident. Even a new dress code for the on-the- air personalities was announced. It was supposed to be the vehicle that changed our thinking about the environment.
Apparently, management failed to realize that aspect of TWC was heading into a tailspin. Some say they should have gone over to their MSNBC unit and kicked out the well traveled Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. Actually, they did remove these two from their highly opinionated left wing anchor positions for live political events. This was reported by Howard Kurtz of “The Washington Post” on Sept. 8.
They also fired much liked Dave Schwartz, Cherle Lemke and Ebonie Deon. This was disappointing for many viewers, including myself. “The Post” news story indicated even more layoffs were anticipated.
Carl Arrendondo, who was with TWC for several years, became the chief weather man at New Orleans WWL TV and radio several years ago. I had the opportunity to talk with his neighbors one day while working floods near his home. I was always interested in John Hope, the long time hurricane expert. Everyone admired John. He was very efficient with storm predictions, especially in tracking hurricanes. One of original members of the Atlanta-based operation he, sadly, passed away a couple of years ago. Carl still does the weather for WWL, I hear.
Jim Cantore, the onsite hurricane expert, stayed in the same Texas hotel we were in a few years ago. He is a really down to earth, nice person, and he is also an excellent hurricane tracker.
In all fairness, TWC is needed and appreciated. It really looks good in high definition.
I attended college with a friend from Jasper who was studying to be a meteorologist, but never heard from him after college. I remember one day in 1954 when we were in ROTC drills on campus, we marveled at a speedy, streaking meteor plowing toward earth leaving a bright train of light behind. It became a meteorite after crashing through the roof of a house in Sylacauga and struck a woman in her bedroom. The event generated a great deal of “legal’ news as it became unclear who would own the “double fisted-rock like object.”
I think it finally wound up belonging to the government.
The event was not as elaborate as the 1883 occurrence of “Stars Falling On Alabama.” Residents of north Alabama observed the famous Leonid meteor shower that year. The sky was filled with bright shooting stars everywhere. Even today similar bright stars are seen, normally in mid November.
In 1934, a song, “Stars fell On Alabama,” was composed by Frank Perkins and given lyrics by Mitchell Parish. Numerous musicians and singers have included that song in their repertoire over the years.
Stars were added to our automobile license plates in 2002.
A couple of items from 1955 find two local young men in the news. Bobby Barnes and Gordon Bryars were selected as local representatives in Boys State. That annual event was sponsored by American Legion Post 90.
Ethel Lowery opened a new kindergarten for 4-6-year-olds and “Three Coins in the Fountain” was one of the hit movies of the year. Because of its popularity it was held over for encore presentations at the Strand Theatre. The song, by the same title, also stayed at the top of the charts for several weeks. The “Four Aces,” with Al Alberts, had the most popular recording of that song
Claude Peacock was appointed by the Governor as one of three barbers to serve on the county board that regulated barber trades and practices.
Phil Sokol, former editor of the “Mobile Press Register,” was hired as editor and manager by Atmore Advance owner Martin Ritchie. Sokol had also worked as news editor for Jimmy Faulkner and “The Baldwin Times” newspaper in Bay Minette.
Well, the big Southeastern Conference Football Championship Game will be played in Atlanta next week, and here is the way I see it.
I see Florida playing with a disadvantage.
The Gators, who are favored to win, will be considered a “road team,” in my opinion. I say this because every Alabama and Georgia fan will be cheering loudly for the Tide. Georgia, as you know, is in the same SEC Eastern Division as Florida and they are arch rivals. There is already much “bad blood” between the Dogs and Gators. So crowd noise will go against Florida.
Next, Saban will stop the often used Tebow third down and two and fourth down and two. The Gators have had a high percentage of success with these two situations. But Alabama, which will use big, quick, speedy players, will match up to a tee against the Florida big play, finesse team. In fact, look for Florida to attempt more field goals than they normally do. I see the Tide playing Florida in the very same manner as Oklahoma played the finesse Texas Tech team last Saturday.
Now, I may be all wrong. Florida is a very good football team and I certainly am not trying to belittle them. But all the national pundits, especially the ESPN crew predict the Gators will walk all over the Tide.
Well, what do you think? Who do you think will win?
We will know for sure that Saturday.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox