“Sorry _______ approach, can you say that again? I missed your call while I was listening to the ATIS.” Or, worse, you hear “Aircraft N1234, third call, descend to 3000 and turn to 360 degrees.”
It is common for pilots to miss radio calls when they are trying to listen to ATIS, AWOS, and/or AWOS. Sometimes it is embarrassing and other it can become a problem if that missed call was ATC trying to get you to change course or altitude to avoid other traffic.
One reason that I have noticed that many pilots miss these calls when listening to weather is that they listen to the weather broadcast too loudly on their second radio while still trying to listen to their controller on their primary radio.
Pro-tip: Listen to weather broadcasts at a lower volume than the radio selected to the primary communications frequency.
Many aircraft have dual coms and with an audio panel allow the pilot to communicate and listen on one primary frequency while at the same time monitoring the second frequency. It’s a great feature when used properly.
When you are listening to a weather broadcast, turn the volume down to a minimum level you need to hear the information, but at a lower level than the ATC communications frequency, you have selected. This will allow ATC communications to drown out the weather broadcast when they are made and make it less likely that you will miss a call intended for you because the ATIS/AWOS/ASOS broadcasts have drowned out the ATC agency.
The downside? The ATC broadcasts may not all be for you and will drown out your receiving of the weather broadcasts. You will effectively be getting your information between ATC transmissions and it may take a couple cycles through the information for you to get it all. So, start early and plan ahead. Especially in busy ATC environments.