Andrew Freiden (Hall of Fame Winner)
Second place: Megan Wise, NBC-12
Third place: Nikki-Dee Ray, CBS-6
Honorable mention: Jim Duncan, NBC-12
“What did I win, most handsome or best-looking?” jokes Andrew Freiden after Style tells him that our readers once again voted him best meteorologist. Considering this is Freiden’s 20th year on the job at WWBT NBC-12 (on July 10, to be exact) the honor comes at an appropriately reflective time.
Freiden has experienced many changes to his profession over the past two decades: namely more content, more weather apps and more fully automated newscasts. Viewership numbers remain consistent, but the digital side continues to show potential for growth, he says. “We’re producing way more than 20 years ago,” he says. “We have to be where people are, so we put a ton of effort into the NBC-12 weather app.”
Born in Blacksburg and raised in Reston, Freiden graduated with a degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia and worked in Roanoke before coming here. One of his hallmarks is to find new and creative ways to sneak snippets of science into his morning segments. He’s also happy that the science behind human-caused global warming has become more accepted, even if people are spinning the information. “Even the most vociferous deniers have shifted to ‘Yes that’s true, but it may be beneficial,’” he says. “Examples of us changing the climate are everywhere.”
Yet another reason why weather-related jobs are becoming more important as repercussions such as intense hurricanes and coastal flooding happen more often. Looking ahead, Freiden wouldn’t be surprised to see local news becoming close to 24-hour operations, based simply on the economics.
“I like the weather, it always changes so that’s exciting,” he says. “And I just enjoy the fun moments that can come up. Like all of your intraoffice chatter being caught on TV. We get to entertain a little bit. Start your day with a smile and all the weather info you need.”