LOUISVILLE, Ky.—As severe weather events become more important in news coverage, Climavision is hoping to democratize and reduce the cost of high quality weather radar systems by offering real-time radar data feeds to local stations as a monthly service.
“Weather is the number one driver of local news and information consumption on the TV screen and other screens as well,” explained Climavision co-founder and CEO Chris Goode. “But historically speaking, to get the benefits of the radar service we are going to be providing, you had to go out and spend seven figures on a radar system. We are going to be able to offer that at a fraction of the cost on a monthly subscription basis.”
Goode also stressed that the radar information they’ll be providing will fill in gaps in the radar coverage offered by the National Weather Service. “There are literally hundreds of these gaps,” he said.
While the maps of the NWS Radar coverage overlap, the curvature of the earth and the fact that the radar dishes are angled slightly up, creates gaps that don’t show weather below 10,000 feet in some areas, he said.
“There is a lot of very bad weather, tornadoes, rain, snow that can happen below that level,” Goode said. “The idea here is to essentially fill those holes and provide a TV station with the means to warn their viewers when tornadoes or other severe weather is coming.”
While the idea of radar as a service is particularly attractive to smaller and mid-sized stations that haven’t been able to buy radar systems in the past, Climavision is also betting that its service will be attractive for larger stations or station groups that face hefty maintenance costs for the radar systems they own. “They will have real time information but without the typical overheads associated with having their own radar system,” he said.
In the first phase of the rollout of the radar system, they will be targeting areas that have the most severe weather.
The data feeds will be delivered into the stations in ways that will be easily integrated into existing weather or newsroom systems. “It will be really plug and play for the stations,” he said.
Goode said they had already signed up clients for the service, which they expect to go live in the last quarter of 2021. He declined, however, to name any stations because the broadcasters didn’t want to notify potential competitors of their plans.
To help fund the company, TPG’s global impact investing platform, The Rise Fund, made a $100 million strategic investment in Climavision in June of 2021.
Climavision was formed out of Enterprise Electronics Corporation (EEC), the world’s largest privately held commercial supplier of weather radar systems.
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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