Do you live in an area that's prone to severe weather? A weather radio is useful wherever you live, but if you live in a region that's prone to hurricanes, tornados or other extreme storms, a weather radio becomes almost essential.
What's the difference between a weather radio and an emergency radio? Both are important, but both serve different functions. A weather radio warns you -- hopefully well in advance -- of an impending situation. An emergency radio is designed to see you through a situation, especially situations where the power is out. If you live in an area that often sees extreme storms, having both on hand could be advisable.
Is SAME support really that important? For a weather radio, the answer is yes. With SAME, you can tailor the alerts you hear to ones that only pertain to your location. The best weather radios also let you filter out alerts that are of no interest -- such as a frost warning for someone who lives in the city. Cutting down on irrelevant alerts helps make sure that you pay attention to alerts that could directly affect you.
Emergency crank radios aren't the best weather radios, but they can be lifesavers. Crank radios can provide a lifeline when the electricity is out and batteries have run dry. Many also provide coverage of the weather bands. Although the majority lack SAME technology and aren't Public Alert certified, many will sound a warning when the weather broadcast station to which they're tuned issues an alert. Some can also charge a cell phone, a huge benefit for campers or outdoor enthusiasts who may otherwise have no way to contact help.
An external antenna jack is a good idea. Most weather and emergency radios have a built-in antenna, but a jack gives you the ability to add an external antenna in areas where receiving National Weather Service broadcasts can be a challenge.