In a message dated Sat, 15 Oct 2005 14:51:50 +0100, Paul Coxwell
> Try (212) 976-2828. You need to listen through the lotto results
> before getting to the weather forecast though!
> I remember in the early 1980s NYC was using 936-1212 for weather and
> 936-1616 for time. I can't remember when they changed to 976 numbers,
> possibly late 1980s?
> When WE6 was still in use there was also the "Big Apple Report" on
> 999-1111. Was 999 a general exchange serving part of NYC at that
> time, or was that a special prefix?
> WE6-1212 will still get you the weather forecast for Boston (617),
> Milwaukee (414), and Washington D.C. (202).
In Oklahoma City, the weather used to be provided by the Weather
Bureau/National Weather Service. The time number was sponsored (had
an advertising message you had to listen to before getting the time).
The Audiovox machine used to sit on the main banking floor of the
First National Bank and Trust Company, a grand art-deco space, with a
handset you could pick up to listen directly and lights showing what
lines were in use by incoming calls.
Later, with the growth in volume, the number 3-0561, later Regent
6-0561, overloaded too often, and the machine was placed in a telco
C.O. and a bus was extended to each office with the time announcement
on it continuously. The prefix 599 was reserved for this service, and
when that prefix was dialed it connected to the bus in the office
where the call originated. (The listed number was 599-1234.)
With the prohibition on Bell companies providing customer equipment
and information services, this all had to be ripped out and the
machine placed in some customers' premises.
This also caused a proliferation of such services with different
sponsors, many of them adding the weather forecast along with their
message and the time. There are probably six or eight now available
in Oklahoma City, not counting those with sponsors in suburbs that are
also local calls.
Probably this same progression has taken place in all flat-rate
cities, which are most of the country, since there is no revenue for
the telco in message rate charges.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: According to Illinois Bell, the Chicago
area telco on the way out the door (to Ameritech) at the time of
divestiture, those devices (along with 'Enterphone' [the apartment
building front door security system] and a couple other oddball
services) were 'grandfathered'; those who had them could continue to
keep them and use them through the auspices of the telephone company;
any new installations had to come from elsewhere. I know I had only a
year or so prior to that gotten rid of my recorded message newsline on
which a couple dozen telco-style 'intercept machines' were wired in
series through a couple dozen telephone lines in rotary hunt. The company
I sold the service to when I got out of the business later told me
they had been approached by Ameritech in 1982-83 or thereabouts and
told Ameritech had set up a small subsidiary company mainly just to
handle the several dozen 'odd' customers they had in circumstances
like that and 'keep it legal' where divestiture was concerned. I think
Ameritech put their alarm company in that category also. PAT]