Fox Weather, a free, ad-supported, 24/7 weather platform, has launched. Jason Frazer and Britta Merwin kicked things off at 6 a.m. ET. Live programming will consist of morning, afternoon and evening shows, hosted by meteorologists.
Sharri Berg is the Fox Weather president. She said the idea for the platform came from Suzanne Scott, Fox News Media CEO, around two years ago. The thinking was, “Fox News has dominated in severe weather coverage in terms of cable networks, but we always felt like we were leaving something on the table,” Berg said. “We started looking at what our audience wanted that we didn’t have a platform for.”
Fox Weather talent includes Amy Freeze, Marissa Torres, Nick Kosir, Kiyana Lewis and Ian Oliver, among many others. Reporting also comes from Fox Television Stations, which owns 28 stations in 17 markets. “It’s everything weather,” said Freeze. “It’s weather around the clock, at your fingertips.”
Fox News Media is intent on expanding its reach through varied platforms. Besides Fox News Channel, which turned 25 earlier this month, there is Fox Business Network, Fox News International, streaming platform Fox Nation, podcast platform Fox News Audio, publisher Fox News Books, and now Fox Weather. “Each compliments the other without cannibalizing,” said Berg.
The weather space, which includes The Weather Channel and AccuWeather, is highly competitive. Berg mentioned a “very intense consumer research project” that revealed, among other things, how Fox Weather could set itself apart by offering users a more personalized experience. “We looked into the marketplace and saw an opportunity that would create one comprehensive place to get all your weather coverage,” she said.
Freeze mentions 3D radar and enhanced customization, which allows the user to track weather in their neighborhood, through a Plan tab, several months into the future. “You can personalize the app to your needs,” she said. “It combines the best of all the app opportunities out there.”
Fox Weather offers live forecasts and, under a Read tab, weather-related news stories, such as one about an earthquake in Los Angeles Oct. 24, and another about a tornado threat in the Pacific Northwest the same day.
Political punditry is a cornerstone of the Fox News operation, but Berg said politics will not come up on Fox Weather. “We are focused on weather,” she said.
Berg mentioned an “endless appetite” among users for weather information, a craving that seems to increase with each new hurricane, wildfire or tornado. “People want to understand why something is happening, and if it is going to happen again,” said Freeze. “We can’t control the weather but we can help people understand it better.”
Over 40 meteorologists at Fox Weather, referred to on the app as America’s Weather Team, will serve up weather stories all day long. “Every meteorologist we hired brings something unique to the table,” Berg said.
Berg believes the weather talent will help Fox Weather stand out in a crowded marketplace. “It’s a comprehensive weather experience all in one place,” she said. “You don’t need to go anywhere else.”
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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