I’ve been following the drama of Congressman Anthony Weiner this week, and a local news story reported how he originally went to college to become a broadcast meteorologist. Its funny because SUNY Plattsburgh, where he went to college, doesn’t even have a meteorology program, but this sort of thing happens a lot more than you think. Kids grow up watching the local TV weather person doing their nightly three minute presentation and think about how cool that must be. I certainly felt that way. Starry-eyed high school Seniors apply to college with dreams of doing the same, but run into a world of pain Freshmen year when they start taking the comprehensive menu of required classes for a meteorology degree. Students who came into broadcast meteorology to be ‘stars’ quickly find out that there is a lot more to it.
Maybe in Anthony Weiner’s days back in the 80s, a person could get a TV weather job without a meteorology degree. I think those days have long past. And while I might not be plotting my Skew-T diagrams in here the weather office anymore, you need to get that degree in order to start out in the business.
At Lyndon State College where I teach broadcast performance to met majors, I usually don’t start working with students till Junior year. By then, they are committed to the program and most of the wannabes have been weeded out. Its a very tough major, and when you through in all the broadcasting that goes into the Junior and Senior year, it gets even more challenging. If you have the passion for it, the willingness to work hard, and the ability to push through a generous load of calculus and physics, its a worthwhile career.