Fox Weather Gets Baptism By Fire With Recent Tornadoes

The new streaming service was created to save lives, said Sharri Berg, president of Fox Weather. And during the recent storms in Kentucky, “it was all hands on deck. We went commercial-free for four hours. We covered every single alert and warning and demonstrated it and gave context” while also reporting on the devastating aftermath. Above (l-r): TVNewsCheck’s Michael Depp and Fox Weather’s Sharri Berg, Amy Freeze and Craig Herrera (photo by Jack Pagano).

As tornadoes devastated Kentucky over the weekend, users of the new Fox Weather app received potentially life-saving alerts and information on conditions from a livestream.

Fox spent 10 months developing Fox Weather in an effort to create a service that could save lives during big weather events. Launched seven weeks ago, it combines tools, technology and meteorological expertise with an app and an in-app network to keep people up to date on weather and weather-related stories, Fox panelists said during the “A Change In Weather: Behind Fox’s New Streaming Channel” keynote interview for TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum conference on Tuesday.

The whole point of creating the service was to save lives, said Sharri Berg, president of Fox Weather. And during the storms in Kentucky, “it was all hands on deck. We went commercial-free for four hours,” Berg said. “We covered every single alert and warning and demonstrated it and gave context” while also reporting on known damage.

She said people in the area reported that they were able to get new information from the Fox Weather livestream between alerts.

“We gave people 10 or 11 minutes to prepare,” said Amy Freeze, meteorologist at Fox Weather. “It may not seem like a long time when your home is about to be wiped off its foundation, but it was enough time to get to a safe location.”

Berg said creating Fox Weather “seemed like a natural extension of the Fox ecosystem” and is something that can be used as a standalone service.


Fox announced the creation of Fox Weather earlier this year and the first full-time employee started in February. More than 100 people have joined Fox Weather, with almost 40 of them relocating to do so, Berg said.

“We built the dream team,” she said, hiring some people away from competitors and getting some from within the company. Fox Weather is giving its meteorologists “the opportunity to work on a complete startup from scratch backed by a company like Fox, who is going to support and invest in it and create a platform that was really geared to the consumer.”

As Fox researched the existing weather marketplace, Berg said, they found people often went to multiple places for weather information.

Freeze said, “People are hungry for information on weather.”

Fox designed Fox Weather to be “one comprehensive weather experience which does not exist elsewhere,” Berg said.

The mobile app has a network within it. “When you’re building something new, you have to look at where the audience is, but you have to be consumer-obsessed,” Berg said, as opposed to the tendency to simply build on existing resources that could be expanded or extended.

The primary distribution point for Fox Weather is the mobile app, Berg said, but Fox Weather is also available on TubiTV. Berg said there are plans to enter the diginet space in January, and she said announcements regarding availability on connected TV are expected soon.

She said once a user enters the app, they remain because of stories about weather and weather-adjacent content about earth, space and lifestyle.

“We have people all over the county writing great articles,” said Craig Herrera, meteorologist at Fox Weather.

Some stories will be about climate change, Berg said, and the “effect of weather and climate, telling it through human eyes as opposed to issues and debate.”

The beauty of streaming, Herrera said, is that the network isn’t pressed for time, so people affected by climate change can “tell their story, letting them explain how it affects all of us.”

In the app, users can control the radar, create location cards for checking weather in multiple locations, view the 24/7 livestream, and even check out weather forecasts for a specific day 10 months out, Herrera said.

Fox Weather has also teamed up with FlightAware and WeatherSTEM. FlightAware has access to Fox Weather’s real-time weather data, which can be used to avoid storms.

“I was like a kid in a candy store when this debuted,” Herrera said.

He cited a recent plane en route to Miami that was flying toward a major storm but due to the Fox Weather data was able to divert around it. Fox Weather viewers could see the “top of the storm and lighting” on the livestream and those monitoring the flight’s progress on FlightAware were able to see the real-time flight diversion, he said.

WeatherSTEM has a large footprint of sensors that can detect temperatures, wind speed and lighting in fields and stadiums, Berg said. The partnership provides access to more detailed information about on-field conditions, she said. “There can be a big difference [in conditions] on the field kicking a field goal than standing in the parking lot.”

Currently Fox Weather isn’t set up for user-generated content, although that is expected down the line.

“But if there’s ever a platform built for interactive UGC, weather is,” Berg said. “We talk about the weather. We talk about the majesty of it, the gloom of it.”

For more from NewsTECHForum 2021, click here.

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Northov Henderson says:

December 15, 2021 at 5:04 pm

Yes indeed, Fox Weather was wall-to-wall with their live coverage of the storms in Kentucky and other hard hit states. Meanwhile, The Weather Channel was airing their regularly scheduled “World’s Deadliest Weather” instead of covering deadly tornadic weather happening in real time in the Midwest. Not so sure that TWC is “The Weather Authority” anymore.