Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Verizon Is Canceling Telephone Weather and Time Services

If you call the Verizon weather line, 202-936-1212 today, the first thing you will hear, before the weather report begins, is the announcement that this free service will be discontinued on June 1, 2011. Verizon and its predecessors have been delivering pre-recorded, free weather forecasts by telephone since – get this – 1939. An era is coming to a close. The DC metro area weather line had some very distinctive meteorologists, most notably Neal Pizzano, who always began his morning weather announcement with the bounciest, cheeriest “Good Morning!” you could possibly imagine, and then after the weather, he would tell you about the day’s “holidays”: “It’s National No Socks Day,” or “It’s Rhubarb Pie Day.” Neal Pizzano was so popular that he became something of a local celebrity, the subject of a profile in the Washington Post on April 14, 2009.

The free time announcement (“At the tone the time will be ….”) is similarly being ended.

Want to protest? You can email verizonweatherofdc @ verizon.net.

Looking for a substitute for the morning weather forecast? There's are numerous great weather resources for Washington, DC online including Capital Weather Gang, ABC7 WeatherAll Life Is Local, Weather Underground, and NBC4 (to name just a few). You can get weather on your smartphone, by email, and by IM. It's hard to check the weather on your phone or online while you're getting dressed or brushing your teeth, which is how many people used Verizon's weather line. And it’s not the same as having someone with a familiar voice announce the weather over the phone and then end with “Have a really great day!” 

40 comments:

  1. I was stunned into silence when I called Verizon weather at 5:30 this morning (Mar 8, 2011); the announcement stated that as of June 1, 2011, Verizon will no longer offer weather or time! No more Neil Pizzano?!? No more of the un-named grouchy guy, or Howard Phoebus, or Rob Luchessy, or Mark Ricards, or Charles Crump???? It is true, that I can get the weather anywhere, but these guys are like distant reatives I never see, but speak with on the phone. Happy Birthday Rodney!

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  2. I feel the same way: They are like old friends. As for "unnamed grouchy guy" -- I actually have spoken to him. A few years ago Verizon was soliciting listener views about its weather line. I replied to say that I loved everything about it, except for one thing: I wished that the unnamed weatherman with the gravelly voice (as I characterized it) would say his name at the end of the weather report. Mr. Gravelly Voice called me and told me that his name is Keith Allen, and that the reason he doesn't identify himself is that he's not a meteorologist. He's the director of the weather line service, and he reads the weather only when one of the meteorologists isn't available. I hope he isn't out of a job once Verizon pulls the plug!

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  3. A few years back, I also emailed Verizon to express my views about their service for providing the weather. I commented that the one man with the very deep voice sounded very grouchy and angry at the world and unpleasant. I did not intend to get him in trouble. After my complaint, I noticed that while he never identified himself, he certainly sounded much more cheerful and friendly.

    I will also miss Neil Pizzano. He inspired me with his facts every morning. He was amusing and very pleasant.

    Howard Phoebus was also direct and sincere. I wish that Verizon would not cancel the weather line. I enjoyed it. Channel 9 has one...202-364-9872.

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  4. What about Senior Citizens who are don't go online, and who rely on daily services that help them stay alive. Some snooze during the day, awake and can't figure out what day it is, the time or what's happening with the weather. Baby Boomers arise! Verizon cannot escape the silent onslaught of Senior/handicap/orphan/widower-widow/protests.

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  5. I was stunned to hear this. I am 53, and it’s been “WE6-1212″ and “TI4-2525″ for weather and time since I knew how to make a phone call. (To find out that the service has been in place since 1939, though, did surprise me.)

    This site was a cultural phenomenon. Like others in DC, I followed the apparent full-life makeover of Mr. Gravelly Voice (I called him Jabba the Hutt at first, and imagined him being fed by pitchfork through a floor grate). From a cellar-dwelling alien, he became a friendly, cheery guy. (Albeit, thank God, still gravelly-voiced.) His development has been nothing short of amazing, and is an inspiration to anyone faced with moving out of the comfort zone into something completely new.

    What’s going to happen to my personal favorite, Gary Partika (spelling?, shoot, I’m guessing with all of them!) and his detailed forecasts of ominous fronts approaching from Arkansas and his signature “Havagoodnight”? That always made me feel comfortable and cozy…even if I were outside in the elements. What’s going to happen to Charles Crump and his Official Reports from the Front Lines of Weather? What’s going to happen to “this *is* Howard Phoebus”? These guys (there was a gal or two in there, but they have been rare) created a world all the more fun to enter because one never saw it on a screen.

    What would we do if Dan Snyder decided to dissolve the Redskins? Are they his? This doesn’t belong to Verizon; it’s a local tradition. There are costs of doing business. This is one.

    In this our high-distraction (you can call it "information") age, the easiest way to get the forecast when I need it is to put my cell phone on speaker while I'm dressing for the day - that's when you need to know! - and let one button dial WE6-1212 for me. (My cell has indeed made the time recording obsolete. For me.)

    It’s a sad day. An era ending, indeed.

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  6. I've started a Facebook page to protest Verizon's decision and persuade them to reverse it. Please "Like" my page and leave comments on the Wall! Thanks.
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-the-Verizon-DC-Weather-Line-936-1212/131510960254073

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  7. I cannot believe Verizon would do this!!! Every morning we dial the weather to see what the day will be like - and when the power goes out how in the world would we know what time it is!!! It really is a sad day - I sure hope enough people protest and we can change their minds - some things in life should not change, this is not progress!!!

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  8. When I heard that Verizon would no longer have the weather or time on the phone I was in disbelief!!!! Please, please, please, please don't discontinue this service - it is so nice to get the weather or time in a very quick call - I wouldn't think it would be that difficult or expensive to continue - hope a ton of people protest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. Thanks for posting this. I, too, found out by accident on Mar 9th when I called the Weather. I'm gonna miss this service and have been using it (also) since I could dial the phone!! Farewell after 35+ years! :( I LOVED hearing Neal Pizzano!!

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  10. I agree with all the opposition to this weather and time services ending. Surely Verizon can afford to continue these services. I too wake up at 5:30 every morning and was disappointed to hear the news this week. Charles Crump was like the Barry White of Weather. And Neil Pizzano amazed me with how many celebrations could occur in the same day (Today is National Hot Dog Day, International Hair Day, AND Christmas EVE!!!)

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  11. I was quite disappointed yesterday when I made my morning call to the weather line only to hear that as of June 1, the weather line will be discontinued. I will miss this service that I have relied on for 40 years - since I was old enough to dial the phone on my own (yes - DIAL the phone, not just punch numbers). I still repeat in my head "WE6-1212".

    My daughter and I rely on this every single day. We call every morning from my bedroom to determine what to expect for the day and know what to wear. The bonus is Neil Pizzano! No matter what the day is going to bring - he will bring a smile to my face.

    I can't imagine what my mornings are going to be like starting June 1. I'm already sad just thinking about it. I will just hope and pray Verizon will change their mind.

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  12. I have called every morning for 30 years. It's how I get dressed - it takes 10 seconds - I don't have to wait for a connection or download and I love my friends who give the weather report. Isn't there somebody out there who can pick this up - I will gladly change phone service if they do!!!

    Ready to cancel Verizon

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  13. Verizon is being penny wise and dollar foolish. This is how large corporations get the reputations that they have and deserve.

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  14. There are web alternatives, but the whole point is that in an unusual weather event - power down, time change (don't get me started on how idiotic that is twice a year), etc. the phone numbers were there to check time immediately. And it's quick accessible weather, not having to wait through the news or take time to log on. This is another example of the declining service in America.
    Jim

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  15. Should not have been allowed by the DC Commission. They had the alternative to vote on it and stop it and were too lazy and ineffectual to do so.

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  16. Write about it! The PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 1333 H Street, N.W., 6th Floor, East Tower,
    Washington, D.C. 20005
    202-626-5120
    www.dcpsc.org
    This organization approved the termination proposed by Verizon. They could have stopped it.

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  17. I concur with every one of the other posters.

    1. I love hearing Neal Pizzano's always cheerful voice the first thing in the morning and his stories about what day it is.

    2. I also complained about Keith Allen's voice a few years ago, and the transformation of his voice is truly amazing. I even spoke with him about it. He was very friendly, gave me his cell phone number, and said I could call him any time if I had a question about the weather. I still remember a joke he made one day when it had been raining for a week and finally the sun came out. He said something like, "That bright yellow disk you see in the sky isn't a UFO, it's the sun." Who else remembers that?

    3. I also enjoy hearing all the meteorologists' distinctive voices and they are indeed like family to me even though I don't know what they look like.

    4. I have been phoning the time and weather since I was a child in the '50s. I have the weather on speed dial and it is convenient to put the phone on speakerphone and listen to the weather report while getting dressed in the morning.

    I hope Verizon changes "their" mind and continues the time and weather reporting services.

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  18. Typical Verizon. What a sham for it to be licensed as a public utility. Now they are going to discontinue one of the few public services they have provided their whole existence. And if you waste 20 or more minutes trying to call Verizon, they refuse to even accept your comments to pass them on to the management who decided this. The FCC should just revoke their license.

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  19. AT&T would be a good candidate to resume this service after June 1, 2011.

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  20. I'm very disappointed about the cancellation of time and weather. I'm thinking about cancelling my Verizone service now.

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  21. As a Verizon customer for both computer link-up and phone, I will really miss the telephone weather service. So quick and convenient. Do we have to get on line for everything?

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  22. Every morning I call the weather line and hear Neal Pizzano or someone else tell me the weather for the day. What are we going to do if there is a power outage and we want to know the correct time when the power comes up? This is an emergency situation.

    I AM 53 AND I KNOW MY PARENTS AND OTHER SENIOR CITIZENS WANT TO CALL THE WEATHER AND TIME LINES WHEN THEY FEEL LIKE IT. BOTH OF MY PARENTS HAVE VERIZON SERVICE FOR THEIR HOUSE PHONES AND IF YOU DISCONTNUE THIS SERVICE THEY WILL PROBABLY DISCONTINUE THEIR VERIZON ACCOUNTS AND GO WITH ANOTHER COMPANY FOR THE HOUSE PHONE.

    Please DO NOT DISCONTINUE THE WEATHER OF TIME LINES??

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  23. Cutting off what can be the only working communication during and after storms is bad planning and increases the populations' vulnerability due to lack of weather information.

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  24. I have been using this service since 1985 and love it. I'm extremely sad that it will no longer exist! I have programmed the phone # on the phone!

    I don't have an Iphone / Internet access on my phone. I generally don't have time to boot up my laptop just to look up the weather...like many, I call the # while getting dressed or making coffee/etc.

    Now, I would have to look up weather the night before....I don't know if I can count on myself to do that....I always counted on the Verizon team to provide that....it has been wonderful...

    I'll most likely be unprepared to face the weather forecasts from this point forward.

    Verizon, please reconsider this diastoursly decision!

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  25. Please Verizon do not cancel the daily weather report and time services-every day I call weather and when I need to the time -Please don't cancel! Sid Secular, Neal Pizzano, Charles Crump,Neal Pizzano-you felt you knew them !

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  26. OH no; please, pretty please Verizon, don't do this to us. My Mother is rolling over in her grave. As soon as she got out of the bed in the mornings, she would call you to see if it was going to be a bad hair day. The humidity makes all the difference and that was what she wanted to know. Was she going to wear a hat, pull her hair back or wear curls? We females really depend on your weather reports. We want to know if we will be able to breathe comfortably or just stay in the house. Also, how will we know if the time is really correct? What will we set our clocks by? Again, please, please, don't do this to us. I grew up with you; I really need you. Please reconsider. What do we need to do to keep you? Please keep in mind that everyone does not have a computer in their home. They want to know the weather before leaving the house. We plan our day by your reports. All do not have cable to get the weather when they want to know. News only give the report doing news time, not all day. Your leaving is probably worst than a divorce. Don't leave me; please don't go. However, I want you to know that you have really made my life easier; I have enjoyed over 45 years with you and knew that I could depend on you for being there for me every day. Yes, you will be missed and I wonder if you realize how many of us will be lost without you. As the Dells would say, "Stay".

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  27. I have been calling the your weather phone line for the past 50 years. It is a ritual with me as soon as I get out the bed in the morning and before going to bed at night. No radio station on the "8" or computer, IPone or anything else can be as "ready" and thorough as calling your weather phone line. PLEASE DON'T STOP HAVING IT AVAILABLE BECAUSE WE NEED IT AND DEPEND ON IT. I don't think you really realize what a negative impact this will have on so many. PLEASE, PLEASE RECONSIDER.
    Thanking you in advance.

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  28. It is June 5th and the service is still on, after the regular announcement of the cut-off. I am enjoying every day and I am hoping it will continue in the future. It would be such a tremendous loss. The computer will never replace the cheerful, distinct voices along with those special little details. Please keep it going.

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  29. Just want to make sure that you've seen the updated article about the reprieve for the weather line: http://bit.ly/kcDvj6. So there's still time to urge Verizon to keep the service alive. You can send them an email showing your support at Verizonweatherofdc@verizon.net.

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  30. Yes to all above! I start my day with the weather guys...I love them all...especially Mr. Anonymous Grump. Fabulous! I LOVE HIM. Do not change. And Neil, you are da' weather BOMB!

    Verizon, are you mad?? This is the stuff of Legends are made of - for $800 a months, it's a bargain. It's not to late to sound a retreat and be the GOOD CORPORATE NEIGHBOR you know you want to be.

    Linda in Fairfax

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  31. The play's the thing: So, shut down the "free" weather/time reports; lay-off the announcers and meteorologists; wait a month while you reprogram the auto-broadcast (mix of computer-generated with human voicing) to reduce payroll; introduce polling question with keypress response; introduce keypress redirect for latest offers from Giant, Comcast, etc.

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  32. Did you think of EVERYONE when you cut the free weather and time service that has been in existence since 1939? Many seniors rely on hearing the weather daily. Keith Allen, former veteran, is one of the most accurate weather forecasters we have today. Further, he is one of the most compassionate men living in our community today. He spends most of his free time at local nursing homes such as The Washington Home and Manor Care visiting and bringing his booming voice to seniors who are mostly shut-in. They absolutely love him. Neil is a super weather pro as are the others....
    why, Verizon? WHY? MB

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  33. Maybe It's a little known secret but if you just stay on the line after the announcement that the service has ended you still can get the latest weather report by Keith Allen Mr Gravelly voice himself.

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  34. Yes, I figured out the delayed announcement thing, but now all you get is a discontinued phone line message.

    I don't have a "smart phone", and certainly don't want to boot up my Mac just to get weather. Please bring back this service.

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  35. My Dad used to say we should dial ME7-1234 (for Meridian 7), to get the exact time, to set our watches, clocks, etc.

    Now we need to call a # in Colorado (gov't recording of the time (ignore the time zone, unless you live in the Colorado area). 303-499-7111....

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  36. What day is today?? Ice Cream Cone Day? Kiss Your Dog Day? Miss Our Weather Report Day... yes indeed! I am going through withdrawal. :(

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  37. My wonderful, 31 year old daughter just lost this invaluable tool (time and weather). Because she was born with Down Syndrome and hasn't the logic to easily weave her way through the labyrinth of options on the web . Does any one know another work around? Perhaps something for the blind?

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  38. The free weather line is back, but at a new number: (202) 589-1212

    It features meteorologists from D.C. Weather Services, the same company that provided forecasts for the previous line. The Council of Governments and Clean Air Partners are now sponsoring it.

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  39. I really really miss Neal Pizzano. I called Verizon weather every morning just to hear what he had to say. Sometimes he was so funny and made me laugh. And the weather report was always dead on, I counted on it. I used this service for years and it was not a good idea to drop it. If Neal gets on to another network I will use that just to hear him.

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  40. For those of you who missed the post from April 24, 2012, it's true—the new number is (202) 589-1212.

    I just called the number and Neal Pizzano is on board right now!! All the others you have missed are also regulars. I've been using the new number since the 2012 post.

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