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Aaron Barnhart

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Posted on Fri, Dec. 24, 2004

Something special on Weather Channel

“The Christmas Tree Ship: A Holiday Storm Story” (7 tonight, Weather Channel). No, I don't understand why the Weather Channel is doing documentaries instead of, well, giving us the weather forecast 24 hours a day.

I thought that's what it was there for. But then, silly me, I thought the purpose of Headline News was to give us news headlines. Now I read that it's going to start doing talk shows. Wow, there's a differentiator. You just don't see those on cable, do you?

And look what “McEnroe” did for CNBC's ratings. There were a few nights when the tennis great actually scored the Nielsen equivalent of “love.” And they say Headline News ratings have nowhere to go but up!

Nevertheless, this special edition of “Storm Stories,” which I saw over Thanksgiving in Florida (watching The Weather Channel is virtually required by law there), is pretty neat. It tells the story of the schooner captain who started the annual tradition more than a century ago of bringing Christmas trees across Lake Michigan for the people of Chicago.

“Back on the Mississippi” (5 p.m. Sunday, KCPT). Part of Channel 19's successful schedule overhaul in November included moving two long-running regional TV shows to Sundays: “Sunflower Journeys,” the terrific Kansas travelogue from Topeka's KTWU, at 6 and “Missouri Outdoors” at 6:30 from the fine people who also bring you Missouri Conservationist magazine.

This weekend, tune in an hour early for this whimsical special — part travelogue, part history, part “Rare Visions” silliness — about America's river, featuring Chuck Strinz.

I'm at (816) 234-4790. Or visit

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