FOX Weather, a high-tech streaming service, launches Monday with trailblazing features that are expected to change the way Americans consume weather news and analysis.
“It’s live programing right there on your phone,” meteorologist Nick Kosir told Fox News Digital. “It’s so cool.”
The free service will take a state-of-the-art approach to forecasting, using multiple radar systems to inform its audience of all-things weather. FOX Weather has hired meteorologists, anchors, and reporters from across the country, bringing perspective and expertise from every weather scenario Americans can face.
“Viewers can expect to see a friendly, welcoming face bring them their weather forecast. We are going to take weather and science, which can be complicated, and make it easy to understand. Our FOX Weather community will get their forecast in the palm of their hand, making weather very personal and helpful,” meteorologist Britta Merwin, who was a popular local weather personality in Houston before joining FOX Weather, told Fox News Digital.
The FOX Weather app features a cutting-edge 3D radar and the unprecedented FOX FutureView, a tool that allows users to plan several months ahead by keeping track of advanced weather forecasts.
“If you’re thinking about having Thanksgiving with grandma in Miami, within the app you’ll be able to put in Miami and the date for Thanksgiving, and we will automatically send you updates on the forecast for Miami and what’s going to happen for Thanksgiving. Nobody else is doing that,” Jason Frazer, who came to FOX Weather from WKYC in Cleveland, told Fox News Digital.
FOX Weather also uses new technology to deliver severe weather alerts for tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding, and other weather conditions that will help keep users safe and informed. The ad-supported service is completely free for users.
Ian Oliver, a sports-nut meteorologist who will cover weather conditions around big games in addition to other duties, is excited that FOX Weather is anchored by actual meteorologists. Typically, the weather is quickly covered on local, broadcast news stations when an anchor tosses it to a weatherperson for a brief segment.
While industry icons such as Fox News’ Janice Dean and NBC’s Al Roker are often used in other capacities, local and up-and-coming meteorologists traditionally play a bit part. FOX Weather is breaking the status quo and putting weather experts in the anchor chair.
“Everybody is a meteorologist,” Oliver told Fox News Digital.
“It allows us time kind of just to geek out, we can track the weather, and we have an open-ended platform. We can decide what’s important, what’s breaking weather, what’s impactful, weather across the country and then we can really dive into it,” Oliver continued. “It’s not a scenario where a journalist or a news anchor is tossing and then you have a finite amount of time to explain what’s going on. We have this blank space, like it’s an open platform for us to track the weather across the country.”
The state-of-the-art studio features a color-coordinated set design that already has FOX Weather personalities buzzing.
“It’s beautiful and the colors are beautiful, I feel like they’re just so appealing to the eye,” five-time local Emmy-award-winning meteorologist Craig Herrera told Fox News Digital. “They change based on the time of day, so brighter colors for the earlier shows and, as you progress through the day, the color changes, then you go into the evening and you get into the different light, the blues and the darker colors to represent more of the evening hours and if we go into severe weather mode, then it can turn red.”
“And lots of great screens, lots of touch screens,” Herrera added. “They’ve really gone out to make sure we have all the best tools ready to go.”
Oliver called the studio “legitimately otherworldly” and feels it’s the best studio in the industry.
“I’m not saying that in hyperbole,” Oliver said. “They’ve spared no expense. It’s visually an incredible studio and the capabilities that it will give us to present the weather in a unique and exciting way is unmatched.”
FOX Weather meteorologists are an eclectic group from all across the nation. Industry veterans like Amy Freeze, a five-time Emmy award winner, are mixed with a team of younger meteorologists who quickly became household names in smaller markets. Despite their differences, everyone at FOX Weather seems to have one specific thing in common: Nobody had any reservations about walking away from traditional TV for a streaming service.
“Streaming is the future,” Frazer said before correcting himself. “The shift from linear television to streaming has already happened… the future is now.”
Meteorologist Brigit Mahoney, who relocated from KTVI in St. Louis for the position, decided to join FOX Weather specifically because it’s a streaming service.
“I think what’s so great about FOX Weather is we’re moving forward and not only with the weather and how it’s changing over time but also with our platform,” Mahoney told Fox News Digital.
Kosir, who is also known as “The Dancing Weatherman” and has more than five million followers on social media, expects users to “dig the fact that it’s not appointment television” but will quickly come to rely on the FOX Weather team.
“We’ll just be right there in your pocket,” Kosir said. “It’s always good to have a meteorologist break down the weather forecast. Every single app can be accurate when you talk about current temperatures, but where the discrepancy comes from is long-range forecasts. You can’t necessarily rely on other apps for accurate, long-range forecasts. You need that human interpretation and we’re going to be there 24/7 to give you that human interpretation.”
The FOX Weather team has spent the past few weeks rehearsing in its New York City headquarters that shares a building with Fox News Channel, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. As the network celebrated the milestone, original personalities such as Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy and Brit Hume shared stories about Fox News’ rise in a series of vignettes that have been playing in the building’s elevators. The building’s newest occupants, FOX Weather meteorologists, have taken notice and hope to mirror the path of their corporate sibling.
“I saw a lot of those videos that were put together, and it’s really cool to see, you know, the bond that they have and then just the stories that they tell. I love to be a part of something that’s absolutely brand new,” meteorologist Jane Minar, who will host overnight coverage, told Fox News Digital.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see how it will evolve over time,” Minar said. “There’s an energy between everybody… this is going to be really cool and everybody’s so dedicated to it.”
Stephen Morgan, a FOX Weather meteorologist who moved from Houston, where he was beloved, to New York City for the gig, agrees with Minar’s assessment.
“The timing has been perfect, watching everyone here at Fox celebrate 25 years,” Morgan told Fox News Digital.
“I can tell you, we’ve already started building that rapport, the camaraderie, really the chemistry that we all sort of naturally have with one another because our passions precede us,” Morgan continued. “I mean, all of us have degrees in meteorology, and we’ve had experience at local stations, to be able to harness all of our experience together in one place, I guess for lack of a better word, it’s electric.”
FOX Weather president Sharri Berg was a founding member of the Fox News Channel launch team and remains with the company and filed one of the commemorative messages. Herrera said he couldn’t stop smiling when he first saw the vignettes celebrating Fox News’ anniversary, knowing that he could one day be in a similar boat as Fox News icons who built the network from the ground up.
“I’m super excited about that being a part of something from the ground up that will, I believe, set the bar for the next level as far as over-the-top and technology and web-based 24 hour, seven-day-a-week streaming services. This is just so exciting to be a part of something from the ground up,” Herrera said.
“I just want to ride this wave until they have to push me out the door, when they’re like, ‘All right, Craig, you can barely walk. We need to get you out of here,’” he joked. “I want to stay here until I can’t even walk anymore. I just want to go and go and go.”
Herrera isn’t the only member of the inaugural FOX Weather team who plans to stick around a while.
“I plan to be here 20, 25 years. I want to be, you know, one of the originals. I want to look back on this 25 years from now and I want people to say, ‘Yeah, I remember when you guys just flipped on the switch,’” Frazer said. “Who knows at that point whether it’ll be maybe virtual reality, you know?”
“I saw the videos of everyone reminiscing… it gave me a really good perspective of what’s to come, and it got me really excited because I just know that this is going to be a success. I know people are going to love it,” Mahoney said. “So it’s really cool to think about the future, and I hope that I’m still here in 25 years.”
Freeze appreciates that she has a chance to be part of something that’s both completely new, but also backed by a company with a proven record of success.
“Those are two of the main reasons why I decided to take this opportunity,” Freeze told Fox News Digital. “There is an appetite [for weather content] out there that the Fox platform is going to deliver to people, and that’s very exciting. To be a part of that from the beginning, what an opportunity.”
Freeze, a longtime meteorologist who has worked at five of the top 40 television markets, including Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, has noticed the FOX Weather team has been sharp during rehearsals.
“We’re kind of all bringing the best of the best to the table,” Freeze said. “I think that’s kind of what it was like in the beginning for Fox News. They came together, they brought their best elements knowing there was an appetite out there.”
While Fox News is also on pace to finish 2021 as the most-watched network across all of basic cable for the sixth straight year, Freeze knows it will take hard work for FOX Weather to follow in its footsteps.
“You’ve got to earn it,” she said. “You’ve got to do all the work to make it happen.”
FOX Weather is available at foxweather.com and through the FOX Weather app for iOS and Android. FOX Weather is also available on Internet-connected TVs via FOX NOW and the FOX News app.