WBAL gets new weather truck — but opts out of any fancy branding

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Hearst Television’s WBAL has taken delivery of a mobile weather vehicle from Accelerated Media Technologies.

Accelerated offers businesses, including TV stations, a wide variety of highly customized, specially outfitted vehicles that can aid in newsgathering and weather forecasting, including the recently launched CBS News Detroit Next Weather Tracker.

For Baltimore, the company used a Ford Expedition SSV and converted it to what it calls the Vision Series Storm Chaser with CNG Platform, according to an announcement. 

The truck includes a DriveLive POV Camera System, a host of weather instruments and is fitted with our exclusive LiFePO4 equipped MVP-E power system.

The vehicle includes bonded cellular transmission capabilities via TVU Networks with switching via Blackmagic Design’s Smart Videohub CleanSwitch. 

Although the vehicle is designed for weather tracking, the livery imagery posted on Accelerated’s site showcase the vehicle as having just the station’s standard WBAL branding and does not appear to reference it specifically as a weather truck. 

In an industry that loves giving catchy names to everything from a camera mounted on a tower to mobile weather lab, it’s a bit surprising that the station didn’t give the vehicle a name along the lines of “Thunder Truck,” “Storm Ranger” or “Beasts.”

The exact equipment on mobile weather vehicles varies, with some including everything from a full portable radar while others are little more than a standard news vehicle with a camera or mobile device feeding video back via cellular signals — but they often are referred to with a catchy name on-air and with an accompanying logo.

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Of course, there’s always time for that to be introduced.

It’s always possible WBAL management didn’t feel the need to brand the vehicle or it could be referred to on air with a variety of different names, depending on what type of weather it’s being used for that day.

The lack of weather branding on the outside also gives a bit more flexibility to use the truck for non-weather stories as well without having to worry about the printed graphics on the outside matching the assignment (which may not matter in many cases).

WBAL’s vehicle is also a significantly less dramatic design than others delivered by Accelerated. Many recent weather vehicles are being done in full vehicle wraps with imagery of stormy clouds, lightning bolts and radar scans along with bold, dramatic typography. 

This vehicle appears to stick more to standard decal-style markings that have traditionally been used on news trucks, vans and cars.

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