Anyone with a smartphone knows what the weather will be like at a glance. A quick swipe of the finger, and you’ve got the five-day forecast — or even a seven-day depending on the app. Convenience aside, you must admit that there’s nothing like hearing the weather from an expert, and news channels just wouldn’t be the same with the weather report. In many news organizations, the weathercaster is paid well for her time, even more than sports anchors and news reporters.
As of 2011, reporters and correspondent earned an average of $43,640 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But being an average, high salaries skew this number. A better representation of earning potential is median wage — or the “midpoint” of all salaries for this occupation. This figure is $34,870 a year for weathercasters, but still accounts for all reporters and correspondents, regardless of news coverage.
A survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association determined that a weathercaster earns an average of $70,500 a year — almost twice as much as the average reporter. The median wage for this occupation is also better, with at least half of all weathercasters earning $60,000 or more a year. The highest salary reported was an astounding $575,000 a year.
Market of News Organization
Market affects the earning potential of a weathercaster. In the top 25 markets, which are usually metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth, weathercasters tend to make the most, earning a median wage of $111,800 a year. The next 25 markets are slightly smaller but still metropolitan to some degree like Baltimore, San Diego, Nashville and Cincinnati. Weathercasters in these markets earn a median wage of $95,000 a year. Those working for smaller markets in more rural areas earn a median wage of $35,000 a year.
Size of the News Organization
On top of market, the size of the news organization has a direct impact on salaries. The larger the staff, the more money reporters, correspondents and other news professionals tend to make. A weathercaster at a fairly small station of fewer than 10 employees makes a median wage of $24,000 a year. At a station with 10 to 20 employees, a weatherperson earns $37,000 a year. With 50 or more employees, the number rises to $109,900 a year.
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.