OBITS

Weather Channel Pioneer Dies

Today is a rainy day indeed. The man who satisfied the primordial human need to know whether to wear a sweater or bring a raincoat has died at age 82. The Wall Street Journal reports that Frank Batten, founder of the Weather Channel, felt his programming served "basic human needs rather than trendy interests." Batten started out in newspapers, eventually owning several and acquiring television stations. In 1982 he founded the Weather Channel, which began as the brainchild of Good Morning America's weatherman John Coleman. Initially, the channel faltered as it failed to generate advertiser interest, but finally, cable operators agreed to pay a monthly fee of three to five cents per viewer to prevent the channel from going bankrupt and scuttling interest rates for operators. Battan retired in 1990, and went on to give multimillion-dollar endowments to the University of Virginia, Virginia Wesleyan College, and Old Dominion.