Cory McCloskey has worked for FOX 10 Phoenix for thirteen years as the resident meteorologist. Energetic and entertaining, Cory’s perpetual exuberance impels people to tune in each morning. Before becoming a meteorologist, McCloskey acted, recorded jingles for national commercials, and modeled in New York City – all which helped him define his true passions and acted as stepping-stones for his goofy and loveable brand. He then made his news-casting debut on WGEM-TV in Quincy, Illinois, before he became a household Phoenix name.
Now, McCloskey isn’t just a local household name, but a national. Last month he was faced with a tricky situation on live TV, which then became an Internet sensation with a viral video attached. The numbers on his self-populated graphic map how’d Arizona temperatures in the thousands. Quick on his feet, Cory rolled with the error and the result was a YouTube video seen throughout the country.
Naturally, this pole-vaulted McCloskey into the public eye, thus leading to an abundance of exposure for this charismatic weatherman. When he’s not reporting, Cory sings in the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute band, December ’63. A performer on screen and off, Cory brightens a room when he walks in. The acclaimed weatherman sat down to chat with us about his career as a meteorologist, his band December ’63, and his infamous YouTube video.
AFM: How do you like your job? It seems to all viewers that you just love it.
Cory: I love it; it’s barely a job. The nice thing about this job is that everybody’s up. Ron, Rick, Kristen, Andrea and me, we know that once we get in here, everyone’s totally ready to go. That’s good because when we all show up, we’re ready to go.
AFM: Why do you like morning news, as opposed to any other type?
Cory: I like it because it’s so freewheeling. It’s loose. It’s, well, at least my portion is unscripted. Most of the show can be that way. It gives off the aroma of something that was assembled at gunpoint. It’s kind of just a rollicking thing. I love the Fox philosophy (coming from National) - whatever you’re good at, they let you do it. If you have skills at something, they just let you alone and it’s one less thing for them to worry about. So that’s what I like about our show is that, it’s got that sort of looseness. Plus, we all love each other.
AFM: Is it very much a family environment just like on TV?
Cory: Absolutely! The six of us, we enjoy each other’s company. When you look at the team, overall, we’ve been together a long time and viewers, they like that. They like knowing that when they tune in it’s the same people. If they like you, then it’s fun for them too. They groove on whatever your vibe is.
AFM: So we definitely want to talk a little bit about your very fun newscast that got a lot of good attention. Do you know what happened to the screen to change the numbers like that? Did you ever figure it out?
Cory: I have no idea! It has not been replicated. I did go back to that map about a half an hour later to see what it looked like and everything was fine, but that map populates itself. All those numbers come up on their own. I don’t ever have to touch it, and it’s never been a problem in thirteen years. So, I was surprised, to say the least. But we don’t know what happened.
AFM: Well, you’re definitely good on your feet. What were you first thinking when you saw the screen; were you surprised?
Cory: I was surprised to see it, but I knew that it would be fine. When the first map came up, which was the one where I said, “Oh, Gila Bend’s at seven-hundred fifty degrees”, I had already pressed the button to move on to the next map, and so inside I was thinking, “Aw, that really would have been fun to play around with, Gila Bend at seven-hundred fifty degrees.” Then the next map showed up, and there they all were. It was like a gold field. I was very excited, because that’s the kind of nonsense and improvisation that is really fun for me. I knew there was nothing that could really be done, and frankly, I didn’t know what was going to be on the next image.” I certainly never expected that it would become what it became but that’s super fun too. It still makes me laugh when I look at it.
AFM: Millions of people have seen this video; it’s gotten a lot of play. Do you find that your fame is more widespread? Do people stop you in the streets and say, “Hey, you’re that guy!”
Cory: I’ve had a lot of that lately. Around here, there are lots of people who kind of look at me and say they don’t know why. Something’s clicking with them because I’m on the show, and have been for such a long time. But now it’s become very concentrated. I was out at the Phoenix Open on Saturday and it was so fun. People were so nice. One person said “hey, are you that temperature guy?” and then somebody heard that and so pretty soon there was a little crowd. They were all very complimentary. I’m not; obviously I’m not embarrassed by it or anything. There are so many things that just take off on the Internet when you know that the subject of the thing is thinking, “if only I could take that back.” I can’t imagine being on the other end of something like that, having done something awful and then all of a sudden fifteen million people, I think that’s about where we are on YouTube and Facebook, are piling on top of you. It would be a downer, to say the least.
AFM: You also are in a band, December ’63. How do you think it differs performing live in front of an audience as opposed to performing here in the studio?
Cory: It’s pretty similar for me because almost everything that I do is live. That’s what I really love about it. It’s kind of the same thing that I enjoy about performing, singing, or acting. I think most of those kinds of performances are scripted in one way or another. You can’t make up your own lyrics or improvise a whole script but that feel you get from the audience, you know every actor says it, is super fun. The other nice thing about this team, the morning show team, is that someone’s almost always in the studio so I’m playing with them, as well as all of those people on the other end of the camera.
AFM: Tell us a little bit about December ‘63
Cory: It is a tribute band to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The name of the group plays off of one of their big hits, “Oh What A Night.” The real title of that song is “December ‘63.” I kind of grew up with a second surge of that band. They were very popular in the early to mid-sixties and then had a bit of a lull, but then came back strong again in the mid seventies, which was when I was a teenager. I knew a lot of their music, and I liked their old stuff too, just because I’m a tenor voice so I always loved hearing Frankie Valli sing those high notes. I’m one of the Four Seasons, so to speak. It’s such a fun group. That music, it’s so recognized. I think what I really like about singing with that band, and I do a lot of performing, but singing with that group, I love looking out in a crowd and seeing all these memories sort of percolating above everyone’s heads because often times the crowd is in their sixties, or older. That’s the music they were listening to in high school, so the memories, I’m sure, are very powerful. It’s fun to be able to evoke that in someone. The sound is pretty true, so it’s a joy to do that music.
AFM: What has been your favorite memory with the band so far?
Cory: I would say that playing at the Sun Bowl was one of our most enjoyable nights. There were like six thousand people out there. They were grooving on that concert so much and the whole front was filed up with people dancing. For me, whether it’s broadcasting or doing this show in the morning, or doing that, I hope that whatever my work legacy is, it’s that it gave people a good feeling. Whatever I’ve been doing, every once in a while someone says, “I was having a crummy day and that really made me feel good,” or “what a fun night that was; I was down before I got to the concert but I walked away singing along.” After the viral video, I wanted to read some of the comments and see what people were saying about it. Especially on my own Facebook page and the Fox 10 Facebook page, there were several people who said things like, “I was having a terrible day, but that just turned me around,” because it was funny, and you could watch it six times and still enjoy it.
Story by Casey Fraser and Christina Tetreault