Most meteorologists start out the same way. We get hooked into weather as a kid and it never lets go. We become drawn to the power of nature and grow up watching the evening local weather forecast. Continue reading
Tim Studebaker has my dream job. He is a weather producer in Boston. Tim graduated from Lyndon State College in 2010 and has worked the morning weather producer spot at WHDH for the past two years. Not many stations have a weather producer, but the lucky ones that do get to work with a front row seat to the biggest local stations in the country. I had the chance to talk to Tim about what it’s like to be a weather producer and what his job is like as a master of weather graphics.
How did you end up as a weather producer in Boston?
After graduation, I continued my ongoing job search. I maintained a membership with a job listing website specific to the broadcasting job market. Like others from my graduating class, I was looking for an on-camera meteorologist position. However, a few months after graduation, I spotted a Weather Producer job in Boston. I hadn’t really thought of the idea of producing before this. Seeing as I am from the Boston area, and was living here again after college, I decided to apply. It seemed like a great opportunity to stay local and work on my broadcasting skills off-camera.
What is your day like? What kinds of things do you do? Continue reading
People wonder how I have the guts be on live television every night. I tell them at least I’m not a stand-up comic. Compared to those guys, I think I’ve got it pretty easy. Recently I had a chance to talk to Colin Ryan, who knows all about being in front of large crowds. Not only is he a talented stand-up comic by night, but he spends his days visiting schools talking to groups of students about money management. Please check out Colin’s excellent site, A Stand Up Life to see all the great things he is doing. The more we talked, the more I realized how much our careers had in common, and I ended up learning quite a bit on how to be a better broadcaster.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Comics have to get used to failing. It’s not that they want to, but in the pursuit of making people laugh, not every joke is a gut-buster. Most comics are constantly coming up with new material and there are so many variables in making someone laugh. Some jokes just won’t stick, but that’s okay. Comics are used to it. As broadcast meteorologists, the daily weather forecast provides the majority of the content, but it’s up to us to make it interesting and meaningful. We need to be aware of who is watching, and how we are delivering all this information. We should always be working on something new, and not be afraid to change things up once in a while to become better at what we do.
I’m constantly surprised by the search engine terms people use to find their way to Broadcastmet.com. They often give me ideas for new things to write about, but most times there just isn’t enough to fill an entire blog post. So to have a little fun, I thought I’d pull out some actual search engine terms that have I’ve seen used, and try to answer what I think people were looking for.
1. what college should i attend if i want to be a broadcasting meterologist
I’m clearly bias, since I teach there, but I feel that Lyndon State College has a competitive broadcast meteorology program. If you are interested in the broadcasting side of meteorology, just be sure that the college you are going to has live, daily newscasts and a WSI or Weather Central weather graphics computer. The more experience you get in college, the easier it is to get a job after college. There are several other very good broadcast meteorology schools out there.
If you talk to a broadcast meteorologist, they’ll probably tell you that they were interested in weather at a very early age. It grabs us, and we’re hooked for life. In high school, we take a special interest in earth science, mathematics and computer science. What you don’t see as much is a pursuit in skills on the broadcasting side. Maybe students don’t know right away that they want to work in television, perhaps they don’t realize the opportunities they have to build those skills, or maybe its just scary.
It was scary for me. Not only did I wait till college to get into broadcasting, I waited till senior year. By then, there just wasn’t enough time to get myself to a level of comfort that had me ready for a local television job. I went back to college and picked up a second degree in broadcasting, and even after that nerves still got the best of me for the first few months of my first broadcast meteorology job.
I know I’m not alone. I see students all the time that battle with nerves, first in the classroom, and then on live campus television. Its something that can take a while to stamp out, and leads to a whole host of other problems. You can work on talking slower, or stop fidgeting with your hands, or trying to smile more, but it likely all stems from a lack of being comfortable and confident. It’s also a challenge to teach out of a student because it’s usually something that just takes time. Just like jumping in a pool of cold water, it just takes time to get used to, and there is not a lot else you can do to speed up the process.