Music News

Weather Channel tunes into music business

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - It’s almost as familiar as the Weather Channel’s man-on-the-beach, Jim Cantore: the music that plays in the background six times per hour during the network’s signature “Local on the 8s.”

This fall, two packages of that music will be available to consumers when Nashville-based Midas Records releases “The Weather Channel Presents: Best of Smooth Jazz” and “Best of Instrumental Classic Rock.”

While licensing details and track listings are still being worked out, music played on the channel includes such acts as Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Nancy Wilson and Trey Anastasio.

Although the 25-year-old network has previously licensed items ranging from apparel to weather radios to umbrellas, this marks the first time it has entered the licensed-entertainment category. The CDs, tentatively scheduled for mid-September release, will be sold through traditional retailers as well as through some nontraditional outlets.

The music has long been a source of interest for viewers, says Shari Pace, VP of licensing and merchandising at the Weather Channel. “People have been writing in for years to ask where they can get the songs,” she adds, noting that the network publishes monthly playlists on its Web site.

The network, which reaches 93 million U.S. households, plans to release additional music packages in the future.