Twin Cities, Boston stations using ‘Next Weather’ branding

CBS owned stations in the Twin Cities and Boston have rebranded its weather forecasts under a unique name — “Next Weather.”

Update: This story has been updated to include WBZ in Boston using the branding.

As its name implies, WCCO’s Next Weather is focused on telling viewers what’s next in terms of the weather. 

“Next Weather is basically what it sounds like,” WCCO Meteorologist Riley O’Connor said in a package the station aired introducing the concept. “It’s what’s coming up next. It’s us looking ahead for the viewer so they can plan and prepare their daily lives.”

Next Weather could mean the next three minutes, the next three hours or the next three days, the station added.

In addition to debuting the “Next Weather” name, the station is also planning a feature called “Next Weather Alert” that will be used to help get the word out about severe weather that could impact viewers’ safety — but plans also call for it to be used for “good” weather as well.

“Like when is our first day that we’re going to get to wear the shorts, that’s going to be an alert day,” O’Connor said.

This practice is similar to the growing trend of stations using words such as “alert” to brand days of severe weather, though WCCO’s use of having it apply to pleasant weather is unique.

Advertisement

The Next Weather name is unique in that it hasn’t been prominently used on a TV station as of yet — unlike names such as “First Alert,” “Storm Team,” “Stormtracker,” “Accuweather.”

The phrase “next weather” (in lowercase letters) is found commonly in both text-based weather stories and what TV forecasters say on air in the form of “our next weather event” or “our next weather maker.”

For a brand logo, WCCO created a look that’s a bit of a departure from the rest of the station’s look — featuring a stylized version of the word “Next” with a dramatic slash for one arm of the “X” that extends to the top and bottom of the rectangle that encloses it. While most of the letters feature sharp corners, the “E” has distinct rounded corners on the upper and lower left.

The word “weather,” meanwhile, is set in a wide sans serif below that appears to be inspired by the typography displaying the station’s call letters in its primary logo.

The accompanying graphics shown on-set on the debut day draw on the angle of the “X” in the form of yellow-green arrow elements that match a grass motif that peeks through arrow-shaped windows in the white backgrounds.

In other variations, the arrow shaped opening is sub-divided into four additional wedge-like segments with a variety of nature imagery that appears tied to the current season.

The station continues to use similar weather graphics as other CBS-owned stations that started appearing in 2019 and removed the white, yellow and blue curved motif that is still present in many of the stations’ opens and fullscreens, while they also continue to use the lower third design that was introduced at the same time in the mid-2010s. 

It does, however, add the Next Weather logo on top of the primary title bar on most weather graphics, including the use of a yellow-green arrow element. This is similar to how other stations in the group add their weather branding, though it’s typically more in line with the rest of the on-screen typography and look. 

On the seven-day board, a red version of the Next Weather logo can be inserted on “alert” days — which also turns the entire column representing that day red (weekends are distinguished with blue header bars with white text as opposed to black text on white for weekdays).

WCCO is one of a handful of CBS-owned stations that doesn’t use the so-called “CBS mandate” to brand as “CBS (Channel Number)” and “CBS (Channel Number) News” – it’s known as “WCCO Channel 4” and “WCCO 4 News.”

Advertisement

Like other markets in this situation, this is at least partially because the station’s call letters are widely recognized locally (WCCO is also one of the few stations west of the Mississippi River whose calls do not start with a “K”).

The ‘First Alert Weather’ logo used by WBBM in Chicago, which switched from ‘Realtime Weather’ branding to this one in January 2022.

Meanwhile, other CBS-owned stations have been busy rebranding weather recently as well, but they’ve been mostly switching to the “First Alert” name in markets where that name isn’t used by another station.

In Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, the home of WCCO, no other station is using the “First Alert” branding.

NBC affiliate KARE uses “KARE 11 Weather,” Fox-owned KMSP is known as “Fox 9 Weather” and CBS affiliate KSTP uses “Minnesota’s Weather Authority.”

Fellow CBS owned station WBZ in Boston has also been using the branding – though has a conflict with NBC owned WBTS in that market that uses the “First Alert” banner.

“Next Weather” is distinct from “Nexrad,” which is short of “Next-Generation Radar,” a network of 160 S-band doppler weather radar towers operated by the National Weather Service. 

The name “Nexrad” sometimes appears on local TV newscasts because, as a federal government owned resource, TV stations can access the data and scans from the system at no cost.

Searching for the term “Next Weather” in Google notably appears to be interpreted as if the user is looking for the “next weather” — as in “what’s the weather coming up” and showing a local forecast graphic at the top of the search results sourced from The Weather Channel, which has a partnership with CBS.

Several articles about WCCO’s new branding also appear below when this search was performed April 21, 2022.

Sign up for NewscastStudio's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest broadcast industry news to your inbox including new debuts, case studies, thought leadership and broadcast gear updates.