To help ride-out the COVID-19 pandemic, Accuweather applied for and received millions of dollars in forgivable loans from the U.S. Federal Government. According to public reports provided by ProPublica, the State College, Pennsylvania-based weather forecasting and reporting company was approved on April 5, 2020 for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in the amount of $5-10 million dollars through First National Bank of Pennsylvania. According to those records, 462 jobs were retained that would otherwise would have been cut due to COVID-19. Other public records show that Accuweather employees roughly 500 people.
The $659 billion funded under the Small Business Administration (SBA)—Business Loans Program Account is intended to provide loans to businesses to guarantee eight weeks of payroll and other costs to help those businesses remain viable and allow their workers to pay their bills. To qualify for PPP funds, companies must meet a size requirement of having 500 or fewer employees and must show that the business has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.
In AccuWeather’s case, the weather company certified that current economic uncertainty makes the loan request necessary to keep the business afloat.
Rhonda Seaton, Director, Marketing Communications for AccuWeather, told Pennsylvania television station WJAC-TV that “AccuWeather, classified as an essential business, was approved for and received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which, in its entirety was used for payroll, and to preserve jobs. In our case, the PPP loan worked as it was intended. Beyond that, as a non-public company, we do not disclose specific details.”
According to public records, AccuWeather was one of the top recipients of PPP money in the state of Pennsylvania.
AccuWeather was in the news last year as its CEO was nominated to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which would include leadership over the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center. Barry Meyers was nominated in October 2017 by President Trump to the post of NOAA Administrator. To avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, Meyers resigned from his position and divested his holdings in the weather forecasting and reporting company early last year. While his nomination remained in limbo, Meyers withdrew his nomination in November citing health concerns. Barry Meyers’ brother, Dr. Joel Meyers, remains at the helm of the company.
AccuWeather is one of the largest private weather forecasting and reporting companies in the world. Founded in 1962 by Dr. Joel Myers, the company has a variety of different types of clients ranging from energy corporations to radio and television networks that buy their insights and forecasts.