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  • Darren Dickens
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When the idea to completely overhaul Smith County Weather into what is now Upper Cumberland Weather came to me, I knew it would be a tremendous undertaking. We’re talking about going from covering one county with real-time, up-to-the-minute severe and winter weather updates to now 12 counties.

In order to pull off something so substantial, I knew I would have to create a means by which to receive revenue. At the time, I had been running Smith County Weather for nearly five years without any sort of compensation. I poured countless hours of my time and energy into keeping my community informed during virtually every severe weather event that occurred from September 2012 up until Upper Cumberland Weather launched this June. Weather is something I’m passionate about, and even though I wasn’t making any money, keeping my friends and family and neighbors informed during severe weather brought me great joy, and it still does to this day.

But since June, I have now been covering Smith County plus 11 other counties in the same fashion.

Thankfully, we haven’t had a whole lot in the way of severe weather since this summer, so day-to-day operations of Upper Cumberland Weather haven’t been too strenuous. And it’s for that reason that I haven’t really been all that aggressive with pursuing potential sponsors.

However, I’ve decided that perhaps sponsorship isn’t the best route to pursue right now. I have really big goals for Upper Cumberland Weather, and little by little, we’re beginning to achieve them. But for those who followed Smith County Weather for any length of time, you probably know I’m not a little-by-little kind of guy. I like doing big things. 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways was a big thing last year, and it’s something I hope to bring back this year! The introduction of Drone Force One was a big thing. Our daily live forecast video Cumberland Weather Today is a big thing. I’m always looking to do big things, and I have no plans to stop doing so. We have over 5,100 Facebook followers. That’s a lot, but it can be bigger. It can be a lot bigger, especially when you consider most of those followers are in Smith County from the Smith County Weather era. I want to grow more into Cookeville and Lafayette and Smithville and Livingston, and all these other towns and communities that comprise the Upper Cumberland. I want the proper software and technology to better deliver real-time storm coverage during severe weather. I want to begin establishing a skycam network throughout the Upper Cumberland that will let us see a live video stream of storms as they occur, and if one of those cameras happens to capture severe weather, whether it be flooding or even a tornado, I want you all to be able to see it so you can react and take the proper precautions to protect yourselves against it. Personally, I want more flexibility in my own schedule to where delivering real-time severe weather updates doesn’t interfere so much other stuff that sometimes presents a conflict of interest.

There have been many instances over the years where I have cancelled personal engagements or opted to miss work just so I could be here, ready to go in order to bring y’all uninterrupted severe storm coverage, because I know so many of you have come to rely upon it.

Ultimately, advertisers will be the backbone of keeping operations going here, but until some of the other pieces of the puzzle come into place, I have a different idea in mind in order to help with getting some of these other projects off the ground and allowing myself the flexibility to bring it all to you the way I want to.

I have created a Patreon for Upper Cumberland Weather. For over five years, much of which was spent doing Smith County Weather, I haven’t taken a dime for the service I’ve provided. I’ve incurred all costs, both financially and just the personal cost and sacrifice that comes along with doing this. As I said, I have poured no telling how much of my time into doing this over the years. I’m now pouring even more of my time into it. Even though we haven’t had much in the way of severe weather recently to cover, I’m still going live each morning with Cumberland Weather Today, and those broadcasts take time to prepare – everything you see has to be put together, all the way down to keying in each and every high and low temperature individually for all 12 county seats on our forecast maps. Financially, there are monthly costs associated with I take out extra data each month, both with a hotspot and on my phone to be able to provide severe weather updates wherever I may be. The live streaming software I use to bring you Cumberland Weather Today has a monthly fee attached to it. Those costs, along with the personal time I put into this, all add up and in a pretty big way.

Patreon will greatly help to offset those costs. For those who aren’t familiar with what Patreon is, it’s a crowdfunding website. If you wish, you can make a monthly contribution of whatever amount to Upper Cumberland Weather. Even as little as $5 a month, the price of a burger and Coke at Sonic, will help tremendously in helping with the costs of Upper Cumberland Weather and allow me to invest in the new technologies and cool features that will help considerably with the product I’m able to deliver.

I don’t ask that anyone feel obligated to contribute to Upper Cumberland Weather. However, any contribution will go a long ways in keeping Upper Cumberland Weather going. Think of it like an online tip jar of sorts. You tip your waiter for good service. You might place money in a tip jar when someone is up on a stage performing music you like. This is sort of the same thing. If you benefit from Upper Cumberland Weather — perhaps you benefited from Smith County Weather — then this can be your way of saying thanks and helping me to continue doing this and making it even better.

Regardless of whether you choose to donate or not, I want to thank each and every one of you who has supported my efforts through the years. Many of you know I am currently pursuing a career in broadcast meteorology. The way technology is changing and moving more and more online, Upper Cumberland Weather is in a position to become a major local weather enterprise, and you all are to thank for that.

The future looks very bright for Upper Cumberland Weather, and I’m excited to bring it to you!

Thank you!

Anthony Taylor