ATLANTA: Before the first white flake hit the ground and paralyzed the East Coast, the Weather Channel's weather swat team sprang into action.
While the network's meteorologists took to the airwaves, its PR team also began its aggressive outreach, aided by AOR Stanton Crenshaw. As the skies unleashed their fury, the Weather Channel was also unleashing its meteorologists upon a variety of media outlets, from the morning and evening news shows, to CNBC and ESPN.
"Over the past few years, we've developed this weather swat team," said Stanton Crenshaw senior account executive Helen Medvedovsky. "It's been a process developing a relationship with these outlets. At first they saw the Weather Channel as competition. But now they want the on-air meteorologists on their programs."
Such exposure on a variety of news programs, along with what some are calling "the storm of the century," helped generate some of the Weather Channel's highest ratings, along with similarly high traffic for its website.
"What we want to do is inform, and explain what will be happening," said Kathy Lane, the Weather Channel's director of PR. "Often it's not so much about the weather, but how it will impact people's lives."
Meteorologists' appearances aren't limited to discussions about the current weather, but about how people should prepare for extreme weather.
"I remember a few years ago offering to put our people on Nightline as guests," said Lane. "At first they were nonplussed, because they saw us as competition. But they want to have experts on, and that's what we are.
So they agreed, and it's a win-win. It's value added for them, and it positions the Weather Channel as an authority."
But the media storm hasn't subsided yet. With such high audience numbers, Stanton Crenshaw is focusing on the business press.
"Now we are touting the Weather Channel's success," said Medvedovsky.
"This is our chance to tell the business story behind the channel's success."