Joe’s Weather Blog: And now for something different… (FRI-3/1)
I know that sounds like an ominous title to the blog…but this is good news (for me at least and hopefully for you too). It actually has nothing to do with the actual weather…it’s more about my role at FOX 4. After doing weekend weather for almost 25 years…it’s time to try something else out for size. Starting on Monday, March 25th, I’ll be taking over the Monday through Friday evening weathercasts.
I’m excited about the new challenges that are being laid out in front of me. I’m thrilled to bring a different perspective to the “traditional” weathercast that you see nightly and I’m overjoyed about being able to bring my weather passion to our FOX 4 viewers on a daily basis.
The thing is…I’m really going to miss my former shift. I loved that shift and if the station had told me 6 weeks or so ago that they wanted me to remain on my weekend shift and do everything else that I did for another 10 years…I’d be very happy doing that too. The reality is that I’m extremely lucky. A TV station rarely keeps a weekend weather person in the same slot for almost 25 years…it’s VERY rare…maybe not unheard of but unique for sure. In the end I just like communicating weather information to our viewers and regardless of what day or time I’m on (although I don’t think I’d be very good at 4AM in the morning). The amazing thing is that I’m still making a living doing the only thing I’ve really cared about doing since the 3rd grade.
Yes the 3rd grade.
Growing up in southern New York…I distinctly remember falling in love with snow. As many of you know snow is still my favorite type of weather to try and predict. It can also be the toughest to get right for many reasons and the fact that we try to be so precise in predicting the amounts is even more challenging to me…but it all started with me liking snow and yes I know after the winter we’ve had so far some of you are rolling your eyes at me right now…I get it. I also want a few 70° afternoons (hopefully with very little wind).
Actually when I talk to my colleagues in TV, or pursuing other weather-related careers…this is not uncommon. For some…it’s severe weather…perhaps they saw a tornado when they were younger or were impacted by a significant weather occurrence growing up. For some it’s growing up and watching me or any of their favorite meteorologists do what they do every night…and just became fascinated by the job at hand. Yes I’m getting old enough now that some have gotten into the world of weather and are telling me that they remember growing up and watching me…whether it be here in KC or when I used to work in other cities.
In late 1994 when I came to KC (can you believe it’s been almost 25 years already)…I actually thought I would stay for about 3-5 years and then move along…as many in the TV world do. The thing is…between the Royals…the Chiefs…the concerts…the restaurants…the lack of terrible traffic (mostly)…the quality of life…and about a million other things…Kansas City has a way of holding on to you. When opportunities presented themselves over the years…it just didn’t “feel” right leaving…in time we just decided to stay here…there was no need to leave..KC offered my wife and I everything we could want. Did I think that I would maintain that weekend shift for almost 25 years…no…but then again I loved that shift…it “worked” for me. Somebody told me a couple of years ago that in the history of KC television…no one has consistently worked weekends as long as I have…certainly not in the history of TV weather in KC. I’m actually sort of sad that that streak will be coming to an end.
The one thing I’ve learned, if nothing else, as I’ve stuck around for so long, is that the grass may look greener on the other side…but often it isn’t…or it’s not what you think it would be like…and perhaps there’s nothing wrong with staying at a successful #1 TV station after all, where your co-workers treat you well…where you’re happy…where you’re respected…and where you’re listened too (and trust me I give my opinions from a forecasting aspect and other things too). Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with carving your niche…doing what you love…being a part of the community (about 1000 appearances over the years)…hopefully impacting your viewers in a positive way (regardless of the weather) and impacting your co-workers with more weather knowledge than they ever wanted to know in the first place…they’re eyes roll too at me sometimes when I’m getting into it. ( :) )
Our business is changing and will continue to change for the good, and perhaps not so great, over the next 10 to 20 years. Technology is advancing so quickly. In many cases these advancements will allow me to do my job better and different while communicating weather information to you. How those changes ripple though the rest of the industry I don’t know. I do know that as an weather industry we have to fundamentally change the way we do weathercasts to some extent. I’m not talking out of school on this subject…when I talk to groups of my colleagues at conferences I attend…to various organizations in the region that are kind enough to ask me to speak about TV weather and others on a one to one basis…this is one of my mantras.
We have to tell you, our customers, what you don’t know already. We have to tell you what you can’t find on your weather app on your phone…we have to tell you something that, in the end, you just may say to yourself…”I didn’t know that”. It can’t be JUST about temperatures on a map flashing across the screen…it has to be more. I will take this to my retirement (hopefully in 10-15 years)…YOU want to learn something…you want a “that’s pretty cool” moment. That’s my mantra with a weathercast and I try and do that each and every night. Sometimes more effectively than other times…but it’s my goal at least. Trust me, I think my bosses upstairs have heard this “mantra” from me about a dozen times already. It’s just a strong feeling I have deep to my core as a meteorologist.
If your wondering about how this affects other aspects of what I’ve been doing at FOX 4 for almost 25 years…the good news is it really doesn’t change things too much. A few alterations here and there.
The weather blog won’t change at all. Actually it may get posted even earlier in the day…preferably by 9-10AM or so on most weekdays. It’s part of who I am (regular blog readers know that). It’s an extension of me…my passion…and my desire to bring weather information to those who want a deeper dive (some might say too deep ;) ). The blogs on quiet weekend days may get a bit more infrequent…if the weather is quiet…if not…if something important is coming…they will be there as usual. I can’t tell you the satisfaction of so many of you who have stopped me to tell me about your love of the blog. I’m humbled by the fact that the weather blog is often the #1 requested item on fox4kc.com during active weather scenarios. Snowstorms or the threat of snowstorms is a big driver in that regard. If you stop after the forecast…great…if you read into the discussion (the deeper dive part)…fabulous. I just want my readers to be just a little bit smarter at the end of the day. It really is amazing to me how many of you spend at least part of your day reading my thoughts. I’m truly humbled by that…a darn weather blog!
My popular weather segment “What Your Weather App Can’t Tell You” will remain as well for the reasons above.
Joe’s Golf Tournaments…no changes there. This unique program that helps local charities, has just been fired up again for the new golf season (assuming it warms up). If you run a charitable golf tournament go to fox4kc.com/joesgolf and submit your information on the form…I will get it into the calendar and try and promote your tournament as much as possible about 4-6 weeks before the tournament date. I can only get to so many tournaments on the air…and each year over 200 send in their information. This program is the only one of it’s kind in the country and it’s my way of giving back to the community and to the sport of golf…a game I love dearly (and makes me look so foolish).
Finally a word(s) of thanks…
To my wife who puts up with my weather obsession day in and day out. Who watches me hover over my computer morning, noon and night as the new model data comes in, especially if there is “something” happening.
To my mom and dad (now deceased) who allowed me back in high school to get on a train every weekend and take it into NYC to intern at WCBS-TV (in their weather department) for several years and learn more about what I wanted to do. Aside from the weather aspect of things I also learned how to treat my co-workers, whether on screen or behind the camera as equals-hey it’s a team effort). I’ll never forget when I told my dad that I was going to make $200/week back in the mid 80s (before taxes) after I got my first job in TV a month before college graduation. I had to ask him for $1000 dollars or so so I could afford to get some new suits for my new career.
To all my friends and colleagues at the station. So many of them came and told me of their support…I can’t list them all but thank you for all the kind words over the last few months. There are a few people at the station who perhaps were my “bigger”supporters and while I won’t embarrass them…I just want them to know how much I appreciate the honest and candidness of the journey we were going on for the last few months. I also heard from quite a few folks who are connected to KC television, one way or the other, voicing their opinions and for that I’m humbled as well.
After calling my mom and telling her the “weather” news awhile back…the next person who I wanted to let know about these changes was Mike Thompson. I called him about 3 weeks ago to let him in on the news before it got out via social media or whatever. I wanted to give him an update about what was happening and we had a great chat. No need to get into details but many of you may remember the blog I wrote when he left…and those words stand today as well. He’s doing well and is working on a new website now. Through the years Mike was a big supporter of mine as well.
Finally thanks to the 100s of you who got in touch with me via FB or other social media while the station went through this process. I appreciated your thoughts and well wishes tremendously!
Now the most important part of this at the end of the day…
Rest assured that Karli, Michelle and I will continue to guide you through the good weather days and the bad weather days. We won’t change our philosophy in any sort of manner. We won’t hype a weather event needlessly. We’ll allow Mother Nature to do the talking for us. Will we be perfect every day? Nope. We’ll do our best though as we try to predict things that often don’t exist. We do have another teammate who will be joining us at the end of the month..he’s a KC native and I’ve known him for several years…we’ve had some great talks over those years over a few beers…and I think you’ll enjoy what he’ll bring to the weekend newscasts down the road. More on that in a weather blog in a few weeks.
All these changes will start the week of March 25th. So bear with us for a few more weeks while we work through some vacations and shift changes. I’ll be on vacation next week.
I had no idea what to use for a feature picture for this “different” entry. There was no way I was going to use a picture of myself…that isn’t what this was all about…so I decided to use a picture of a sunrise from Tami Camlin…here’s to new beginnings.