has gained a considerable following during his
more than a decade as a meteorologist in the Baltimore region.
That following has grown in recent years, as Berk
quickly learned how to reach out to an ever-expanding audience via social media.
It was the desire to explore social- media opportunities more that eventually led Berk
to walk away last January from WMAR-TV, where he
had forecasted since 2003.
"The face of media is changing," Berk
"Those in old media are now adjusting to how to best utilize new media at a time when people expect their news and weather instantaneously, many through their smartphones."
spent the first part of last year working out a plan on how to move his
This included working on the schematics for several smartphone apps.
However, the idea he
eventually moved forward with didn't come from him; it came from his
6-year-old son, Brendan, who suggested a weather app designed specifically for kids.
This led to the recent release of the Kid Weather App
"I had some idea of what I wanted to do with an app, but I realized that Brendan [was] onto something special," Berk
"I come from a family of educators, and it was important to me that I develop something that people could learn from.
A weather app for kids, designed by kids - I think accomplished just that."
said the app has something to offer children from toddlers to preteens.
Along with weather for local communities, the app also features trivia, safety tips, temperature graphing and a Fahrenheit-to-Celsius calculator.
There are also several avatars people can choose, and users can "dress" them based on the weather.
"Weather is something that interests people of all ages," Berk
already has had several thousands of people pay $1.99 to download it.
said Miller and Sibel Thomas learned of the app, like most who have purchased it, via social media.
Most of Berk's
marketing is done on Facebook
, where he
has more than 23,000 followers.
More than half of those started to follow Berk
"This huge following really opened my eyes to the impact of social media," Berk
"I get instant feedback on everything from the weather forecast to what people do and don't like about the app.
The key moving forward is learning how to best leverage that audience."
said developing the app has been an amazing learning experience.
It is the centerpiece of his
company, Just In Weather LLC, which also has Berk offering metrological consulting work for several businesses.
Berk, a 1995 Cornell graduate, also continues to teach meteorology classes at Stevenson University.
"The response has been tremendous," Berk
"What has made this even more special is that I got to go on this journey with my son."
added that the lesson he
taught Brendan through this process went far beyond the weather.
"Getting this app off the ground was not an easy process," Berk
and son Brandon developed an app that teaches kids about the weather. (Provided)