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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

KDLT Beats KELO and KSFY on Weather Blog

Everybody talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it...

I was Googling around our local media sites and happened to find KDLT's Weather Blog. It jumped out at me first because, unlike KELO and KSFY, KDLT does their weather blog on the cheap, using Blogger instead of an in-house installation. The KDLT weather crew of Aaron Shaffer, half-marathoner Cody Matz, and marathoner Jesse Ritka have been banging away at blog since last October.

Believe it or not, in weather blogging, KDLT may have finally found something it does better than KELO and KSFY. Why would I suggest KDLT's weather blog adds more value to their business than do the similar endeavors of their competitors?
  1. Regular posting: Since October, the KDLT weather bloggers appear to have posted more than daily. KELO's weather blog is more irregular: posting once or twice a week, sometimes zilch for a couple weeks, sometimes a flurry of posts at storm time. KSFY's blog front pages lack date stamping, so I have to click on every single post to find out how frequently they check in (annoying!). KSFY's Phil Schreck and Derrick Fabert appear to post once or twice a week, but Shawn Cable, who has a demonstrated ability to generate all sorts of Google juice, hasn't updated since February.
  2. Content: As I scroll down through the KDLT archive, I find almost every post is related to the forecast. They mix in the occasional interesting piece from elsewhere (like this video of huge hail in Texas), but for the most part, the KDLT weather blog focuses on local weather. KSFY's "weather" blogs are simply blogs for their weather people, who discuss a wide range of topics, weather-related and otherwise (e.g., NASCAR, Festival of Trees, organ donation). That's fine for marketing and "fleshing out" the on-air personalities. But if you're looking for weather info, you can learn more about what's happening from KDLT's weather blog than from KELO's and KSFY's combined.
  3. Graphics: Pixel for pixel, the KDLT weather blog delivers more meteorological value here, too. They've got isobars and wind barbs and maps galore to thrill every true weather addict. Almost every post has a supporting graphic. KDLT also embeds videos from YouTube, Blogger, wherever. KELO includes some cool videos, but they almost always are embedded in the custom KELO player, which means if you want to link or embed them on your own site, you'll always be doing some marketing for KELO. (From a marketing perspective, KELO is doing the right thing, using the blog to promote the brand. From an information-sharing/Web perspective, KDLT is more fun and less intrusive on our mindspace.) Over at KSFY, you'll find an occasional weather graphic, but mostly just photos and not much in the way of weather maps.
KDLT catches heck for being the lowest rung of our short local media ladder. But when it comes to weather blogs, KDLT is actually setting the pace.

Now if they'd just hire that Epp guy back to do some weekend webcasts, they'd be set!

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