CHICAGO — You could have a healthy debate about who was the greatest TV weatherperson in Chicago broadcast history. Tom Skilling, Harry Volkman, Jim Tilmon and John Coleman would likely make the list for many viewers.
But when it comes to who had the best name, Amy Freeze would be the winner.
Freeze — yes, that’s her real name — worked at Fox 32 Chicago from 2007 to 2011 before leaving for ABC7 in New York, where she has been a weekend weathercaster for the past decade. Starting this week, the Utah-born, Indiana-raised Freeze, 47, is going nationwide as an anchor at the new 24/7 Fox Weather streaming network.
Fox Weather is hoping Freeze will provide some name recognition in Chicago for the ad-supported network, a would-be digital rival to the Weather Channel. The service features live video weathercasts through a free mobile app and on internet-connected TVs via Fox Now, the Fox News app and Tubi.
The network has a team of 120 meteorologists — including local weathercasters at Fox-owned TV stations such as WFLD in Chicago — to produce round-the-clock weather content.
Freeze, who will host afternoons on Fox Weather, was a relative blip on Chicago’s TV radar, but Fox is banking on the city’s long love affair with its weathercasters — past and present — to stimulate local interest in the network.
“I do hope people will remember me and will rekindle some of those connections,” Freeze said. “I had a great time in Chicago.”
The first female chief meteorologist at a Chicago TV station, Freeze appeared on the perennially low-rated Fox 32 late evening local newscasts for four years. She also delivered Bears game day weather reports from Soldier Field, live on air and supersized on the stadium’s Jumbotron.
Freeze developed a devoted Chicago fan base, while her descriptive name brought her national recognition, including a spot on the “Jeopardy!” TV game board during a June 2008 broadcast.
The clue: “Appropriately, Amy Freeze was this age when she became a meteorologist for WFLD in January 2007.”