If it weren't for cable tv's insatiable need for content it never would have seen the light of day. But content is king and because of that on May 2, 1982 The Weather Channel made its debut in homes all over the country much to the underwhelmation (I made a new word!) of the general populace. Like nose hairs growing in the dark though this idea of showing blue screen weather maps 24/7/365 with people standing in front of them saying such hair raising things as "a small low pressure center over Des Moines shouldn't bring any significant precipitation to eastern Iowa over the weekend" gradually took root. Before you knew it TWC was on in the background in nearly every house or apartment you'd visit. People whose connection to the real world was already tenuous due to tv addiction began to meld with their furniture and mark out the passage of their lives to the beat of "local on the 8s".

Every once in a while an actual weather event would occur and TWC would go into full-fledged "release the horses and get everyone into the shelter" mode. It was never clear to me what was more pathetic; TWC's tendency to turn tropical breezes into the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know it or the public's (and I include myself here) willingness to tune into saturation coverage of end-of-the-world storms that never seemed to arrive.

But be that as it may it doesn't seem like TWC is going anywhere anytime soon. Though NBC bought it in 2008 and promptly canned all the original weather jockeys and started showing movies on Friday nights (they've subsequently stopped after enduring a perfect storm of protest from the multitude of blue screen weather map junkies) The Weather Channel enters its 4th decade firmly ensconced atop the meteorological tv pyramid.

Here's the first ever minute of programming from The Weather Channel back in 1982. Listen to the breathless enthusiasm in those voices!