Since 1939, Verizon (and its predecessors) have provided free hot lines for people who need a quick read on the weather or current time.
The prerecorded D.C.-area weather reports are available at (202) 936-1212. The timeline is (202) 844-1212.
The service harkens back to a bygone era when payphones dotted most street corners, viewers had just three television channels from which to choose, and at the end of the programming day, the national anthem played under film of a flag waving in a strong breeze.
The hot lines, like payphones, are going the way of extinction. The service is coming to an end June 1, 2011. No longer will callers be treated to a daily weather forecast, played twice in a loop for anyone who missed a detail the first time around.
The story was first brought to our attention by the blog alllifeislocal, which also pointed out:
The DC metro area weather line had some very distinctive meteorologists, most notably Neal Pizzano, who always began his morning weather announcement with the bounciest, cheeriest “Good Morning!” you could possibly imagine, and then after the weather, he would tell you about the day’s “holidays”: “It’s National No Socks Day,” or “It’s Rhubarb Pie Day.” Neal Pizzano was so popular that he became something of a local celebrity, the subject of a profile in the Washington Post on April 14, 2009.
The public service is being discontinued because “… people can get time and weather information from radio, TV weather channels, online sites, wireless phones, PDAs and many landline phones,” Verizon spokeswoman Sandra Arnette told NBC Washington.
Perhaps fans of the service (and there are some) will be comforted by the knowledge that our area is the last to lose it.
“The District of Columbia and Maryland are two of only three markets where Verizon still provides these services," Arnette said. "In light of the wide availability of this information from many sources, Verizon has decided to discontinue providing these services in D.C. and Maryland effective June 1."
Massachusetts is the third market that retains either service, but weather has already fallen by the wayside there and time is the only service offered.