Don’t start with jokes. Amy Freeze has heard any punchline you can throw at her before, even from her own family.
“My nieces and nephews call me Auntie Freeze,” said the former Brigham Young University cheerleader who will help launch Fox News’ new weather service next week.
A meteorologist who already has fans on both coasts, Freeze says his memorable last name played a role in his career path and became a response to “Jeopardy!” twice.
She was working as an entertainment reporter in Portland when asked to do the weather forecast for a coworker who was on sick leave, in part because her name was so perfect. She loved it and went back to school to get degrees in geoscience and environmental science.
Since then, she has worked in four cities and gained dedicated fans with halftime weather reports from Soldier Field in Chicago (she used to advise the Chicago Bears on game day conditions) and segments featuring viewers’ pets (Super Cat Saturday and Big Day Sunday).
Here’s a look at Freeze’s life and career, and what she brings to Fox, when the company launches the new service on Monday.
What’s in a name?
Freeze, 47, says she was a “BYU baby” with a mother from Provo and a father from Indiana who went to Brigham Young University to play football. (That would be Bill Freeze, also known as “Mr. Freeze,” unrelated to the villain of the “Batman” universe.)
The family moved to Indiana when Amy was only 6 weeks old; four more girls would follow. Unlike her sisters, Amy wouldn’t play basketball. “I’m only 5 feet 4 inches tall so I have to wear heels to get up to their level,” she said. But she became a cheerleader when she dated Weber State for a year, after which she transferred to BYU and was a cheerleader when Tom Young (Steve Young’s brother) was quarterback. -back. “I had a great time at BYU, and my first husband was (the BYU mascot). We got married in college and spent about 15 years together and had four children.
Her first job as a meteorologist was in Portland, Oregon, and from there she traveled to Denver, Philadelphia, and Chicago, where she served as the first female chief meteorologist in Windy City. Then she moved to New York, where she spent 10 years with WABC before signing with Fox.
“It’s pretty cool to be part of a whole new brand, under the umbrella of Fox.”
No pun intended, for a change.
“I always find it fascinating, when people find out that I’m a meteorologist and Freeze is my last name, they want to talk about acronyms and nominative determinism and how your name determines your profession. And it happened to me, ”Freeze said.
When she was 20, she moved to Portland with the intention of working at a newspaper to help her husband get to school, but instead ended up becoming a writer working several behind-the-scenes jobs at a TV station. “I wanted to write about the factional foreign wars and the European Union,” she said, but instead was assigned to cover entertainment until she was asked to temporarily do the weather during that a colleague was on leave.
“I said, ‘I don’t know the weather,’ and they said we would help you reduce the pros and cons. She also quickly signed up for an entry-level meteorology course at the University of Portland, “and when I did that it made all the difference in my career.”
The weather forecast, she says, suits her because “I’m a very curious person by nature, and the weather is different every day. … Finding these puzzle pieces suited me perfectly.
Fox’s entry into weather comes at a time when there is growing interest in weather information and a declining appetite – at least temporarily – for political coverage, according to the New York Times. The average audience for major cable news networks declined in the first half of 2021, but increased by 7% on The Weather Channel, the newspaper reported.
“What’s cool about the app is that it literally puts me on people’s phones,” Freeze said. “It puts meteorologists and weather at the fingertips of people like they’ve never had before. I have half a dozen favorite weather apps that I use on my phone, but this weather app is going to show up, ”she said. “You’re going to be able to look at the radar, use your fingertips to zoom in on it, and then create a 3D image of the radar as well. What that means to you as a user is that you can see how intense a thunderstorm is right there. … It’s exciting for people to be able to touch technology.
Users can configure the app to give them forecasts at 10 different locations. The app will also allow users to access technology used to make long-range forecasts to help plan vacations or other events.
“Everyone wants to know the weather forecast for tomorrow, the weekend and their birthday, even if it’s 6 months away,” Freeze said. “It will be a way to meet some of those needs with a little bit of science behind it.”
For starters, Freeze will run live from 4:00 am to 10:00 am Mountain Time on weekends; other appearances will be coming. And, yes, she’s hoping she can incorporate a pet feature into her Fox predictions. She also loves animals, with a rescued Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever who has her own Instagram account (@thesunnyfreeze).
As for those “Jeopardy! Questions, Freeze said, “Somewhere in the ‘Jeopardy!’ the writing staff is someone who is fascinated by nominative determinism.
“Both times I was an answer or a question, they used my name. And it’s been a thrill of a lifetime to be on what’s the longest-running game show in history, to come out like a name and see people calling me from grade school and saying: “No way, I just saw your name on ‘Peril!'”
One response was, “Amy Freeze and Dallas Raines are in this business. (The question: What is meteorology?) The other was, “Amy Freeze became a meteorologist in Chicago at this age, which is also the freezing point. (The answer, if you’re confused, is “What is 32?”)
“I have a friend on the ‘Jeopardy!’ personal, and I don’t know who it is, but it’s pretty awesome, ”she said.
Given the Fox brand’s notoriously conservative leanings, some people wonder if Fox Weather, too, will lean to the right. Asked about it, Freeze said she was one of about 40 meteorologists Fox Weather has hired, and any discussion of politically charged topics, like climate change, is best left to others. Meteorologists, she said, are only there to report the weather.
“They (Fox Weather) literally took the opportunity to take that brand and find the best people available to broadcast weather information. This is a new platform, but there is definitely an appetite for people interested in Fox as everyone wants to know the weather.