AI in weather forecasting, prediction and communication
Tuning into viewers’ needs
The Louisville area of Kentucky can be an eventful place, from a weather perspective. With hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters, conditions can range from heavy snowfall to occasional drought—not to mention the seven major tornadoes (and dozens of minor ones) that have hit the region in the past 10 years.
As a result, it’s no surprise that all year round, weather is an important topic of conversation for Louisville citizens—or that the region’s TV stations regard weather broadcasting as a key part of their schedule. As Barry Fulmer, Director of News at WDRB, Kentucky’s largest Fox affiliate, comments: “There’s nothing more important to a news station than weather.”
He elaborates: “We see weather as a public service; it’s about keeping people safe. We don’t sensationalize our weather coverage, because it’s important that people trust our forecasts—if we cry wolf, then viewers might start ignoring our advice, which potentially puts them at risk when the real bad weather hits. So, we hire very talented meteorologists, we do our own forecasting in-house, and we take pride in the accuracy of the weather information we provide.”
At the same time, WDRB’s weather broadcasts need to be more than just informative—to get their message across to the largest number of Louisville citizens, they need to be engaging too. The station’s commitment to accurate and responsible weather reporting means that sensationalism is not an option, so it needs to find more creative methods to attract and retain audience share.
Barry Fulmer says: “The way we compete is through constant innovation—we’re always looking for ways to become better storytellers and help our viewers engage with those stories in new ways, whether on-air or online. Technology plays a leading role in our quest for innovation, and that’s why we work with The Weather Company.”