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Tonight's weather...with weather sounds.

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Eddie Mair | 17:09 UK time, Wednesday, 16 September 2009

What do you think?

Let us know by clicking on comments.

You can catch up with all the other weather comments here.

And as a result of all this interest, this Saturday's iPM (the programme that starts with its listeners) will be a weather special! You'll be able to hear all the versions we've done and will do...and much more (as they say in trailers).

Join me at 5.30pm on Saturday for much more...or if you want to catch up with it later, get the podcast...remember you don't need a pod!


  • 1. At 5:53pm on 16 Sep 2009, Happyhomeworker wrote:

    I enjoyed tonight's weather! Got in from blackberrying part way through PM (sorry) and the wind was already cold, so the sound effect was very accurate!

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  • 2. At 5:54pm on 16 Sep 2009, BrianW1961 wrote:

    I liked tonight's forecast a lot - I can actually remember a lot of detail from it - windy in teh south, frost in the north, fog in Scotland, windy tommorrow on the South Coast.


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  • 3. At 5:58pm on 16 Sep 2009, HilaryE13 wrote:

    This is the best one yet! The sound effects are really helpful. Hope this can be used for real.

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  • 4. At 6:00pm on 16 Sep 2009, artela wrote:

    How horribly distracting - I was so busy hearing all the sound effects I totally missed the actual forecast!

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  • 5. At 6:01pm on 16 Sep 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    I did wonder what sunshine would sound like.

    Your sound man must know what he was talking about (note to SMs, or whoever do that job now - they always have done.)

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  • 6. At 6:08pm on 16 Sep 2009, normanmugabe wrote:

    As a sailor in a previous life, we used to experience what was called, "light airs".
    Sound effects for that then.

    (If you click on "YOU", you will see "YOU", is not "YOU", but "ME". The system has a glitch but tellng them is like entering a plot from a Kafka novel.)

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  • 7. At 6:09pm on 16 Sep 2009, checkski wrote:

    Have you all gone mad? Why can't you just read the bloody thing? Why on earth does the forecast have to be regarded as a branch of the entertainment industry? Most of the forecasters gabble, and seem to think it should be chatty, and laced with banal opinions about 'nice' and 'bad' weather. For goodness sake, just give it to the newsreader, and let him/her read it, area by area, in their impeccably neutral, beautifully enunciated style.

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  • 8. At 6:13pm on 16 Sep 2009, bm7847 wrote:

    Love your programe. And the weather forcasts
    Who was it that had a heart attack snorting coke off a hookers ass in Vagas? Way to go!

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  • 9. At 6:13pm on 16 Sep 2009, Phillarty wrote:

    It is bad enough that most TV programmes are completely spoilt by the inclusion of so called mood music, but the notion of adding background sound to the weather forecasts on radio is absolutely bonkers.

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  • 10. At 6:14pm on 16 Sep 2009, tso617 wrote:

    Just listened to the weather with the sound effects, it was brilliant and you should stick with it...bring it onto the TV too!

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  • 11. At 6:14pm on 16 Sep 2009, davisonpeter wrote:

    I confess I did not enjoy either of the forecasts with sound effects. I found them distracting, and a bit annoying. The Shipping Forecast style, on the other hand, was excellent. The information was clear and concise, and easy to understand, with the regions given before the weather. It might even benefit from being even more sparse. In my opinion, the fewer words the better. Sorry to the weathermen if they find it boring, but it really helps us listeners.

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  • 12. At 6:15pm on 16 Sep 2009, Pansophist wrote:

    You've done it again. Taken a reasonable idea and got it all confused - were seagull noises supposed to represent the English channel, coastal areas, sunshine, fog or sea-breezes?
    The shipping forecast version was marginally better, though depressingly unmemorable and littered with adjectives, unspecified locations and excuses. Why not try ditching all the shoulds and maybes and use the time to hand out information instead?
    A weather forecast should give you a fighting chance of choosing the right hat to wear. Anything less is a waste of everybody's time.

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  • 13. At 6:17pm on 16 Sep 2009, credhead wrote:

    The real problem is that the weather forecast is given in a different format everyday. This results from the fact that the weather for each region is usually grouped by the nature of the weather e.g. Scotland and Northern Ireland raining, South West England and Wales sunny, Central and Southern England overcast. These geographical groupings vary from day-to-day making it difficult to remember the what the weather that is relevant to you (generally one does not want to remember the weather for the whole country, but where you are or are going to be). What I would suggest is that the country forecast takes more of the form of the shipping forecast - simple, perhaps, lyrical, but always in a consistent and easily remembered form and order. After all, I suspect that's why the shipping forecast is given that way!

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  • 14. At 6:17pm on 16 Sep 2009, SirStarryKnight wrote:

    Not at all sure about the idea of having weather forecasts supported by sound effects. But I wonder how the idea might work as a backdrop to the news itself being read .. might certainly be memorable.

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  • 15. At 6:17pm on 16 Sep 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Norman @ 6, is that the silly 'you' thing that NewBlog does? Irritating.

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  • 16. At 6:32pm on 16 Sep 2009, Froggersfroat wrote:

    If the weathers bad, could you not just chuck a bucket of rainwater , ice, snow etc... over Charlotte or Phillip. If the weathers good, hot and summery then give whoever reads the forecast two large jugs of P*mms to drink 45 minutes before they broadcast to produce a suitable 'mellow' laid back acoustic.

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  • 17. At 6:33pm on 16 Sep 2009, howlingmike wrote:

    I'm pleased this weather issue has been taken up again, as I remember a few years back when the same 'drifting off' was addressed. I even lost concentration during the little weather test a few weeks back. However, the sounds today actually worked!!! I followed it all! What's needed now is regional accents for the different areas discussed and I'll actually take in the whole forecast - though Cornish weather is never the same as the 'Southwest' forecast anyway!

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  • 18. At 6:55pm on 16 Sep 2009, pmfans wrote:

    I do believe that we should be spared this new gimmick and get the Met office to give an ACCURATE and concise report.

    Drop this new fad and get the Met office in on why their Forecasts are often way to vague and inaccurate.

    They should also be told that the listeners or viewers do not need a nanny approach and stop the comments such as remember the brolly if raining or put that extra duvet on because of falling temperatures.

    A simple accurate and concise weather report is all that is required and updated when it is not exactly correct and appologise when grossly out. People may then take it in and perhaps take the climate change argument more seriously.

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  • 19. At 6:55pm on 16 Sep 2009, JohnSreply wrote:

    The "shipping forcast" is the best style so far.

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  • 20. At 6:55pm on 16 Sep 2009, petervirgilcollis wrote:

    weather forecasts with added background sounds deeply annoying, therefore they worked, awakened me to respond. The answer is to go back in time,remember WWll? "this is the BBC news with Alvar Liddell reading it". I am not joking. Keep to a small number of forecasters, do not keep changing them, allow them to develop a responsive relationship with their listeners,give them more time, discourage 'gabbling'[ there is a lot of it about], decrease the power or rather interference from your 'prods';if you want to see how weather forecasting has gone horribly wrong then watch BBC TV!

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  • 21. At 7:10pm on 16 Sep 2009, ppaprika wrote:

    BRILLIANT!!!! I loved it! Laughed out loud, it was real British humour!!!
    Living in France one of the things I miss here!!!
    I suppose it could get a bit monotonous, but tonight 'twas a TREAT!!!
    THANK YOU!!!!

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  • 22. At 7:32pm on 16 Sep 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    I'm with everyone who says the 'shipping forecast' version is by far the best to date. My son commented that the 'background sound' version tonight was pretentious. I found it distracting and a little bit silly. As someone queried above, what does sunshine sound like?

    This 'investigation' has been most interesting. I had not realised just how many other people were flummoxed/bored with the weather forecast and how universal a need for change is. Brilliant of PM to have highlighted this and I very much look forward to the programme pioneering a new approach which, I'm sure, every sensible radio listener will tune into at the appropriate time each evening.

    Now all that's required is a witty name for it. How about 'the flipping forecast'?

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  • 23. At 7:46pm on 16 Sep 2009, vlendank wrote:

    if the weather presenter making the broadcast speaks clearly and sounds interested in the material being broadcast the listeners are more likely to pay attention and to remember what is said than if those simple( and fairly obvious ) rules are not followed. There should be no need for additional aids.
    Some local BBC radio weather forecasts take the form of interviews with
    the weather forecaster and are interrupted by facetious and annoying comments from the BBC host .

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  • 24. At 7:47pm on 16 Sep 2009, 198kHz wrote:

    "Sonificaton of weather data"? The description is almost as bad as the realisation.

    Please stop being silly and just institute the 'shipping' style.

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  • 25. At 7:50pm on 16 Sep 2009, Domain Rider wrote:

    I enjoyed the 'sonified' weather forecast, and, with a bit of tweaking, it might help those (such as the elderly who have difficulty following and remembering the details).

    However, I'm with those who feel that the 'shipping forecast' version is the ideal - it should be simple, clear, and consistent. If you can introduce appropriate, non-distracting sounds, then well and good.

    But please, no more 'sunshine good, rain bad, dress-up warm' forecasts. I don't need a weather person to tell me what to think of the weather, only to tell me what it's likely to be.

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  • 26. At 9:03pm on 16 Sep 2009, Humph wrote:

    I must say that I do not know what 11C sounds like. I do not know what 16C or 28C sound like, either. I probably would not be able to distinguish the different sounds for the different temperatures and, apart from dry/wet, I think that temperature is the most important thing to learn from the forecast for "what do I need for the day?" decisions. I also do not know what the sound of me blowing my nose has to do with "Fog".


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  • 27. At 10:11pm on 16 Sep 2009, scherb wrote:

    The BBC already has the clearest form of weather communication in the shipping forecast so why not copy the formula. Split the UK into a number of areas, give them memorable names, then always give the weather in the same order and the same format, eg. temperature, rain or not, cloudy or clear. Put the areas on the website and pretty soon everyone will know which weather area they live in and will listen for it during the forecast. Simples!

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  • 28. At 08:21am on 17 Sep 2009, jofromblackheath wrote:

    I have been boring my family for months by complaining that both radio and television weather forecasts have become incomprehensible. So HURRAH for the shipping forecast style weather forecast - clear, concise and, best of all, I ended up knowing what the forecast for my area was. Yes, it may be boring for the presenter, but the weather forecast is supposed to inform, not entertain. How much more sensible to announce 'strong winds' than the fact that it will be 'a bit breezy'. Please make this a regular feature on pm. Any chance you could persuade the TV to reintroduce proper Michael Fish style weather maps instead of that weird floaty thing that tells you nothing other than that the UK is, apparently, mostly brown?

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  • 29. At 09:05am on 17 Sep 2009, shppingforecastfan wrote:

    Yes, I live in the south east and I remembered the forecast broadcast on PM yesterday. It said "It is not going to rain" and "The wind is going to be lighter". All I needed to know.

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  • 30. At 09:06am on 17 Sep 2009, David_McNickle wrote:


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  • 31. At 09:45am on 17 Sep 2009, philip_01 wrote:

    I think that the shipping forecast model was brilliant. Easy to understand, focussed on the important aspects and no verbosity.
    It should be used for television too; no more nausea-inducing moving maps. The TV forecast seems to have developed into a "how clever are we!" Met Office exercise.

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  • 32. At 10:53am on 17 Sep 2009, GrahamInBath wrote:

    I don't think the shipping forecast worked as well as the real shipping forecast because no-one thinks of themselves as a member of a region. If you're at sea, in for example Rockall, then when you hear the word 'Rockall', you pay attention. Similarly, if I were listening in Bath (which I do) and I heard something like 'Bristol Bath and Swindon', I would snap out of standby mode and listen attentively. Perhaps you should use towns, or perhaps counties, as a way of grabbing listeners attention and inferring that what is coming up is pertinent to them.

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  • 33. At 12:21pm on 17 Sep 2009, hughesjp wrote:

    I was listening last night and heard the version with the underlying sound effects. Initially I was captivated - then I thought it was so close but missing the one vital point - we want to be alerted to our own geographic area. So - bring back the old regionally constructed Radio 4 theme music - add a few more local tunes to make it more specific - there are plenty to choose from. It wouldn't matter if they were not imediately associated as we would subconsciously build a link over time. Play that as an underlying theme and I know it would work for me. Glad I live in Worcestershire - you can use Elgar.

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  • 34. At 12:24pm on 17 Sep 2009, thebestTanya wrote:

    I heard the weather forecast with background sounds last night and hated it! After the forecast I could tell you a lot about the sounds that were heard but couldn't have told you what the actual forecast was! The sounds were much too distracting. Please, do not adopt this style

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  • 35. At 1:41pm on 17 Sep 2009, nardism wrote:

    It's a wonderful idea to sign post the weather forecasts with sounds to assit memory. Tuesday's bird calls was a particular highlight. Especially the duck, which was so absured, it was inspired.

    I've no idea what the forcaster said after that, as I disolved into uncontrolable laughter.

    Prehaps you could try it with ape calls? Keep up the good work

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  • 36. At 1:53pm on 17 Sep 2009, FoamingWhiteHorse wrote:

    I didn't think it was possible to dumb the weather reports down any further. I was wrong. Those ridiculous sounds are very distracting.

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  • 37. At 2:12pm on 17 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Talking of what sounds look like.. here is the Peter Jefferson 'blooper'.

    Caution 'strong' language, guidance etc. etc.


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  • 38. At 3:22pm on 17 Sep 2009, paulofsouthwold wrote:

    The BBC TV moving radar map is the only forecasting device that tells me when it is going to rain here, which as an outdoor person, is what I really want to know. I don't need a presenter, nor advice about sporting events (especially on another continent!) nor slow and boring close-ups of Scotland, nor innaccurate health advice just inform me of the weather and leave the rest to me.

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  • 39. At 3:42pm on 17 Sep 2009, radioactiveWillow wrote:

    Think the birdsong format is absolutely brilliant - especially as the south-east is/was the highly individual OWL. The weather sound effects were less distinctive. Please go with the birds!

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  • 40. At 3:55pm on 17 Sep 2009, Binder1 wrote:

    Weather sounds.

    Please no sounds in the background; it makes the forecast difficult to hear. Sound engineers get carried away and like to add in 'effects' which often make the words all but inaudible. Many plays and other programmes suffer from this blight.

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  • 41. At 5:57pm on 17 Sep 2009, pause111 wrote:

    The Shipping Forecast style is perfect - the only one that held my attention.

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  • 42. At 6:03pm on 17 Sep 2009, U14139199 wrote:

    Regional accents were good, but Yorkshire was subsumed into 'the NE' and I heard neither an accent nor the weather for my region.

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  • 43. At 6:06pm on 17 Sep 2009, artblog wrote:

    I was so distracted by the background noises, different presenters and regional accents, that I missed the weather forecast altogether.

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  • 44. At 6:22pm on 17 Sep 2009, Johnat111 wrote:

    Talking about the weather...the use of regional accents is a brilliant idea. We are on the Cumbrian / Lancashire border / Morecambe Bay.... which accent would be appropriate for us?
    So often the weather goes: South East/ South West/ Wales/ Ireland/ Scotland/ North East / East Anglia...but how often is the North West mentioned?

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  • 45. At 6:27pm on 17 Sep 2009, battybern wrote:

    Just a thought
    Have you ever thought of running PM as a news program rather than a "see who can come up with the silliest idea" one?

    probably not and you're probably right as the sort of people who listen to radio 4 must be in your opinion rather short on the little grey cells

    Sure you can get loads of listeners "joining in the fun" so it must be popular and upmarket, then again have you ever listen to late night phone in programs which seems to be where you're heading

    Oh by the way the side lines with news were very interesting and I hope you don't intend to get rid of them

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  • 46. At 7:07pm on 17 Sep 2009, JacquelineDiane wrote:

    `Twasn`t so much due to the different regional accents as the variety of voices which ensured that I didn`t fall into my usual state of reverie during this evening`s weather forecast. A drum roll would effect the same degree of concentration.

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  • 47. At 6:08pm on 18 Sep 2009, Merchybryn wrote:

    Tonight's Mozart was pleasant but unnecessary - we don't need gimmicks. The critical thing about the report was that the reader said clearly which part of the country he was talking about and then what would happen there, and nothing else. There was none of the verbal padding which is supposed to sound friendly but which merely gets in the way. The listener has to work to extract the information, especially when, as has become common, the weather is described before the location to which it is relevant. Please just stick to identifying an area and then saying what will happen there.

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  • 48. At 6:06pm on 14 Oct 2009, Mike6265 wrote:

    I am sorry to state the obvious but the place should be stated before the weather. i.e. Amersham - temperature 15 degrees.Not temperature 15 - in Amersham.

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