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Echoes of the Mellish Meter at WXIA-TV and WGCL-TV

mm_7_sBoth WGCL-TV and WXIA-TV recently started measuring the weather each day using a single numerical scale. For instance, both stations ranked today a 7.

On August 30, the CBS affiliate WGCL began what news director Steve Schwaid calls a “clean” and “straightforward” one-to-ten scale. “Ours,” he said, “is handled in a very professional, classy, high-end manner.”

In contrast, the NBC affiliate WXIA this past Tuesday cheekily debuted its Wiz-o-meter - as in the Weather Information Zone. This is the same station which has a “Commuter Dude” and an investigative team dubbed the C.I.A. (Center for Investigative Action.). And like “This is Spinal Tap,” their scale goes to 11. Paul Ossman in this video explains:

WXIA news director Ellen Crooke acknowledges the cutesy nature of “Wiz” in the name. “It makes people laugh,” she said. “It’s kind of funny. It’s memorable. In my 24 years in the business, I’ve never seen people react this way” to a weather presentation. She also said the new iPhone app version of the Wiz is doing really well. She also said the station also provides plenty of in-depth weather coverage as well.

This measurement system is nothing new in Atlanta.

Condace Pressley, assistant program director at AM 750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB, said the station has been doing the Mellish Meter for at least 12 years. “Maybe they’ve only now discovered us on FM,” Pressley joked.

Kirk Melhuish, the WSB Radio meteorologist, said the Mellish Meter was not his idea but he’s unclear who actually came up with it.

“Funny thing is I’ve heard at least three people given (or taking) credit for it. LOL,” he wrote in an email.

“I do get to decide the number so that’s something!” he added. “And yes, I am surprised it took this long to get a copy cat. Imitation and flattery as they say.  Too funny!”

Melhuish is aware the limitations of spouting a single number. “I have to take into account an entire day and an entire area,” he said in a follow-up phone interview. He gets phone calls and emails all the time complaining that his number is too high or too low.

And he says he rarely gives out a one or a 10. (If it’s anywhere close to a one, he said that probably means a tornado or major storm so he doesn’t use the meter then. “I drop the cutesy,” he noted.)

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36 comments Add your comment


September 10th, 2010
5:51 pm

HUGE mistake, WXIA. By oversimplifying the weather — and boiling it down to a single, completely subjective number, you have undermined the science that underlies meteorology. My 10 might be your 5 (I like cool, even rainy weather).

You are now UNDERPLAYING the facts — give me the conditions and forecast and let me decide for myself whether I like the day or not. The graphics downplay everything but the giant subjective number and provide less information than we deserve.

This is an extremely bad move that puts branding before science and has already undermined the station’s weather credibility with this viewer.

Chief Wiggum

September 10th, 2010
7:44 pm

I remember, in the old days, (I lived somewhere else) and the sun was still considered a good thing. In the summer, they’d have the “tanning index”, and it was awesome when it was a 10…it meant people would be out at pools everywhere. Now, it’s a burn index, and they scare people inside, or to slather themselves with sunscreen and clothing, and to limit outdoor exposure.

So..number are all relative, and what is considered good by one, is bad by another person. Overly simplistic for weather.


September 10th, 2010
7:48 pm

paul’s got the personality to pull off this silly weather thing 11’s got going

cbsATL please don’t put jennifer valdez on during prime time news. i’d prefer justin locke. he’s much easier on the eyes

and wsbAM made the radio move of the year by taking over the 95.5 fm freq.


September 10th, 2010
9:29 pm

I don’t know where Ellen Crooke comes up with the comment about providing plenty of in depth coverage. The other night on the 11ALIVE weather block they showed one map for total of 8 seconds. That was it. If that is in depth coverage, then I’m Donald Trump. I want to see what the weather is going to be and not seeing some arbitrary number telling me what the weather is going to be. Sure, you can have fun with the weather, but don’t turn the whole weather segment into a joke, which is what 11ALIVE has turned it into.

And second on the not having Jennifer Vladez moving into Dagmar’s position. This is an opportunity for WGCL to put somebody with actual credentials into the position. Jennifer got her degree from an online university.

Ron Mexico

September 10th, 2010
9:33 pm

If you want to see something horrible, go to and look at how the whizzinator takes up the entire page.

U Gotta B Kiddin'

September 10th, 2010
9:40 pm

Makes me want to go to the bathroom whenever I hear it.

Walter Cronkite

September 10th, 2010
9:55 pm

I just don’t know what to say about the Wiz-O-Meter. I am not altogether surprised that it is served up by the stations that “helps me”. That’s just what I need, “help” from the local TV station. I need something salty after watching Ted for 10 minutes. What’s that, Val. If I cut out a coupon and take it to the store I can save money? Thank you, thank you to the station that “actually helps me”.

Now we have the Wiz-O-Meter. I guess this is what we should come to expect from our celebrity-obsessed, lazy, apathetic society.

McNews: Silly News for Lazy People.


September 10th, 2010
10:31 pm

He’s been doing the Mellish Meter for 12 years? It seems like forever.


September 11th, 2010
12:09 am

I agree the WHIZ OMETER is a silly dumbing down gimmick at 11 Alive. One good thing about the weather department there is that I saw Cheryl Lemke filling in a week ago. I really missed her when she left The Weather Channel. She always did a great professional job. Glad to hear she landed a job here in Atanta. I hope to see her more on channel 11.

Freakshow blue

September 11th, 2010
12:43 am

If 11 Alive is smart they’ll make sure the next weather girl gives me a ten on my stiffometer, you know what I mean, nudge nudge wink wink


September 11th, 2010
8:38 am

Bring back Cheryl Jones. Half the US map was blocked out.

WizOMeter or Izzy?

September 11th, 2010
9:03 am

WizOMeter being constantly mentioned is making many of us sick of it. Reminds anyone of Izzy from ‘96?

11Alive mimicks NBC Today show with their constant self-promotion to the point of you may have liked the personalities before, but now you’re sick of hearing how great they are and you’ve had enough. Like a relative who has overstayed a visit.

Jeff and Val was a refreshing change the other morning. Finally professional demeanor with humor thrown in, without the constant silliness. Also, they didn’t look like they had been dressed by someone from Ringling Bros.


September 11th, 2010
6:22 pm

Agree about Jeff and Val. I like Jeff H. anchoring 11 Alive. Let’s see him everyday anchoring


September 11th, 2010
7:13 pm

What’s with this horrid Piss-O-Meter stunt at Channel 11? And that amateurish wall of big bezel TV screens used to display the confusing spreadsheet-style of temperatures – Sheesh. They didn’t even get the screens lined up -jagged thick black lines don’t work when you are trying to create a unified image. Somebody needs to be fired the that idea!


September 12th, 2010
9:02 am

Whizz-O-Meter- FAIL!


September 12th, 2010
11:41 am

Love the Piss-O-Meter. Great name.

Instead of numbers

A bad day = pissing into the wind

A mediocre day = pissed off

A good day = you’ve pissed off the boss


September 12th, 2010
2:24 pm

Make sure to wash your hands after using your wiz 0 meter !


September 12th, 2010
6:49 pm

I feel sorry for the meteorologists at 11Alive who have spent their career being professional and reporting the weather in a proper manner. Now, they get to be the butt of jokes and look like imbicilic fools because somebody came up with this lame and pathetic idea. Imagine using this stuff when applying for your next weather job. Geez.. and we all thought WGCL sucked because they had a weather reader named Dagmar instead of a creditable meteorologist. This Whizometer stuff makes Dagmar look like she should get a weather emmy.


September 12th, 2010
7:24 pm

Dagmar’s gone. Now’s the cha ce for us to have a team of all meteorologists. You can bet it will happen. As a long timer who has lived through clear news and all the other crap it’s heartening to see that many people see us equal to or better than wxia.

And please wxia, wash your hands often.


September 13th, 2010
8:50 am

I think Jennifer Valdez is Great!

And you’re wrong about her degree. She has a masters degree, not an on-line certificate. Do your homework. She knows her stuff!


September 13th, 2010
11:31 am

Local news just keeps getting dumber and dumber. I’d rather have a root canal than watch that drivel.

Nina Burns

September 13th, 2010
3:27 pm

Thank you! 11alive keeps saying how much people love the pissometer, and I thought I was the only one who hated it. disabled comments on the wizonator, so I had to do a search to see what people really think. I’ve told them twice to get rid of it. Not like they care, they made an app for it.


September 13th, 2010
3:47 pm

Wiz-o-meter: from the people that brought you “whatizit” as the 1996 Olympic Mascot?


September 13th, 2010
3:47 pm

Lord helpeth the masses-we are noteth as dumb as the media would like us to believe!!!! “Wizometer”, pahleeease!


September 13th, 2010
3:51 pm

This may not be the absolute worst marketing move I have seen in my time but is UP THERE!! CBS Atlanta News and 11 Alive-thank you for the laughs!


September 13th, 2010
8:29 pm

Kurt Mellish is a joke. This guy goes on vacation more than anyone Ive ever seen. (Maybe besides Jum Galloway – you write a BLOG for christsakes) I ve never once heard Mellish go into any detail about the weather.


September 14th, 2010
1:53 am

This is what happens when you take a desperate company (Gannett), a guy who would be equally content hosting a game show as doing weather (Paul), and a news operation that is slowly going down the toilet. Glub, glub, glub.


September 14th, 2010
7:35 am

…and the dumbing down of America continues.

Jimmy John

September 14th, 2010
3:06 pm

The next step of this will be doing the weather forecasts live in the urinal.


September 14th, 2010
5:53 pm

You have got to be kidding…a wizometer!!?? I can not believe that 11-Alive is really using something so dumb and childlike. With all the technology available, this is their new approach to forcasting the weather? If I was a meteorologist there…I’d be looking for a real job elsewhere. Fortunately as a viewer, I have a choice on what station I’ll watch to get my weather & news…and well, it won’t be 11-Alive with the wizometer.


September 15th, 2010
12:42 pm

11Alive has gone to hell since Bob Walker left. Wiz-o-meters and “Waking Up With Chesley” and Commuter Dude (who does a great job, but we don’t need the cutesy name). I love Jill and Karen in the morning but I’m rethinking the whole 11Alive news thing.


September 16th, 2010
1:18 am

My grades for who has the best local TV weather coverage…

WSB-TV 2: I give them an A-. 2’s weather presentation is okay, although not the absolute best.

FOX 5: I give them an A+. Ken Cook, JoAnne Feldman, Steve Milone, Jeff Hill, and Cheryl White seem like a strong weather team. They certainly don’t sugar-coat it.

11Alive: I give them a D. 11 trashing the “7-Day Forecast” and opting for “5-Day Forecast”. Not sure what to make of the WIZ-O-METER. I really don’t care for morning weather anchor Chesley McNeal, and the “Wake-Up with Chesley” show at 4:30AM. Chris Holcomb seems like the only good weather anchor.

CBS Atlanta: C. I liked 46’s weather used to be a lot better when Gene Norman was there… and I liked Laura Huckabee too. Dagmar’s weather presentation was good… my thoughts and prayers go out to her, after what she’s been through. Justin Lock’s weather presentation is good. Cris Martinez’s presentation is okay. I don’t particulary care for Jennifer Valdez.


September 16th, 2010
1:19 am

Furthermore, I agree with Rhonda about 11 going to (you know where) since Bob Walker’s departure.


September 16th, 2010
9:46 am

I give the Wiz-O-Meter… TWO thumbs DOWN!


September 16th, 2010
9:52 am

The Wiz-O-Meter sponsored by THE DUMP!

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