NOAA Weather Radio is a way, perhaps at present the only way, for the government to communicate warnings against surprise disaster directly to people, with no corporate go-between (not even a TV station’s editorial control), freeing end-users from any subscription dependency (e.g., cable or Internet or landline or cellphone) or any reliance on any private corporation whatsoever for life-saving government bulletins.
NOAA Weather is direct communication, from Weather Service to the people, the only way the government can literally wake you from a sound sleep (short of a bullhorn in the street or a knock on your door) to announce approaching danger.
To me, this is a prime purpose and function of government, and the government-owned NOAA Weather Radio network enables this mission distinctly. It is a system, too, of some interest to various communities of the disabled because the alarm feature can be wired to bed shakers and strobe lights for benefit of the sight- or hearing-impaired.
Weather Radio’s distinction is its autonomy from the corporatocracy: it is a direct, government-owned and controlled service to the people, rendered free of charge (after the one-time $30 expense of a radio receiver unit), with no connection to any subscription or obligation to any corporation.
This is a political matter. There are those who would like to see all things weather privatized, and our tornado warnings contingent on a monthly tribute paid to some private entity.
–William. Clifton N