The people, as they say, have spoken. And the title of America’s Most Favorite Weather Forecaster goes to … (drum roll) … Keith Marler, morning meteorologist at KMSP (Fox) in Minneapolis.
Out of 26,005 votes cast, Marler received 6,634, or just more than 25 percent. Marler outlasted Cincinnati’s Tim Hedrick, WKRC (CBS), whose late run of votes took him to within a thousand votes of Marler. Rockford, Illinois forecaster Eric Sorenson, WREX (NBC), came in third with a total of 1,833 votes.
A sampling of comments about Marler clearly reflect the affection felt by his followers:
"I wake up with Fox 9’s Keith Marler. He gives me the weather forecast as well as a case of the giggles!"
"Keith Marler does a very good job for us Minnesotans where the weather changes every two minutes."
"Keith makes watching the weather fun! He always puts a smile on my face. He’s the kind of guy you trust and feel like you could go have a beer with."
"Keith is funny, educational and has personality!"
Marler’s accuracy as part of the KMSP team is noteworthy as well. KMSP has consistently ranked at the top for accuracy among local television outlets in Minneapolis according to Weatherist standings.
“A huge thank you goes to all who voted for me, not just from our current Fox9 viewers across Minnesota & Wisconsin, but also to the folks from around the country that remember me from the ‘days of yore,’ says Marler, who emphasized the importance of an accurate, well-designed forecast. “No matter how friendly, off-beat, family-oriented or community-committed we are, if the foundation of weather-trust wasn’t solid there would be nothing to build upon.”
Marler also noted the importance of social media in creating a connection with viewers. “Social media has allowed us to constantly keep folks updated – allowing for forecast variations and being able to tell a more in-depth story to those who need it. Facebook and Twitter have really let folks see the ‘real’ us – warts and all, triumph and tragedy – and come along for the ride. Our viewers/followers/friends appreciate that and enjoy that glimpse of normalcy and dimension.”
Although the greatest participation in the America’s Most Favorite Weather Forecaster contest came from Minnesota, where weather is a near obsession in the local culture, voter activity came from all parts of the U.S. and 30 countries. Local forecasters received votes from Miami to Boston to Los Angeles and all points in between. Votes were even received for forecasters on nontraditional weather sources such as opensnow.com.
The intense relationship between viewers and their favorite forecasters – call it a lovefest – as well as the popularity of the contest was reflected in the magnitude of social media activity. The contest engendered thousands of tweets, more than 1200 shares on Facebook and 428 comments on Weatherist.
The top ten favorite forecasters were as follows:
- 1. Keith Marler, Minneapolis, KMSP (Fox)
- 2. Tim Hedrick, Cincinnati, WKRC (CBS)
- 3. Eric Sorenson, Rockford, IL, WREX (NBC)
- 4. Ben Jones, Macon, WMAZ (CBS)
- 5. Ian Leonard, Minneapolis, KMSP (Fox)
- 6. Cheryl Scott, Chicago, WMAQ (NBC)
- 7. Mitch Keegan, Mankato, Minn., KEYC (CBS)
- 8. Vivian Gonzalez, Miami, WSVN (Fox)
- 9. Ericka Pino, Los Angeles, KVEA (NBC)
- 10. Joel Gratz, Opensnow.com
Some representative comments for the runners up included:
"Tim Hedrick is fun and professional. It’s wonderful to turn on the tube and experience his enthusiasm. He makes the effort to communicate weather information so that viewers can understand the information he’s sharing."
"Eric Sorenson not only provides accurate weather, he educates the community and has a passion for sharing his knowledge of meteorology with kids too!"
"Ben Jones is informative, interesting, humorous (at the right time), caring in the event of a bad weather event, correct (most of the time) and always speaks to the community members when he is out and about in the area."
We thank all who took the time to vote and to express their feelings about the people who bring them the weather. It’s clear that viewers value their professionalism, their humor and, most of all, their accuracy. To see who the most accurate forecaster is in your city check out the Weatherist leaderboard and The Most Probable Forecast.
Click here to download a press release of this announcement.
Bill Stein is a freelance writer and weather enthusiast based in Minneapolis. He’s also the editor of minnesotaforecaster.com, a website devoted to the critique of Minneapolis-area forecasters and to general discussion of Minnesota weather.