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Fox Decides Weather Is the New Politics

As cable news ratings fall, streaming weather channels will try to pick up the slack
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2021 1:38 PM CDT
Fox Prepares to Launch Streaming Weather Channel
Storm clouds form last month in Mississippi, which was bracing for Tropical Storm Claudette.   (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

(Newser) – The news can slow down at times—over a holiday weekend, for example. And with the presidential election over, national demand for political news has eased, too, with ratings for the major cable news channels all down this year. But weather is hotter than ever. So Fox Weather, a 24/7 streaming service, will launch this year to take advantage, the New York Times reports. "All the networks are ramping up for this," said Jay Sures of United Talent Agency. "It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that climate change and the environment will be the story of the next decade." Fox is investing in a new studio at its New York headquarters and hiring meteorologists from stations around the country. The pioneering Weather Channel, whose ratings have risen in 2021, plans to compete with its own streaming site, Weather Channel Plus.

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The bickering between the two operations has begun, but not between the bosses. Byron Allen, whose company owns the Weather Channel, said Rupert Murdoch's entry will be good for everyone. "Now the world will understand how big of a business the weather business is and how important it is," Allen said. A Weather Channel executive mentioned a less-than-accurate headline about a past tropical storm—the complaint was that Fox over-hyped a relatively modest one as posing a "massive" threat—while a Fox spokeswoman accused the Weather Channel of "trolling" Fox. One question raised by critics on social media is how a broadcaster whose commentators mock climate change can cover the issue. Climate change is "too important to politicize, and if they do that, they will be doing Americans a disservice," says the Weather Channel's chief content officer, Nora Zimmett. (Read more Fox News stories.)

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