|BROADCAST METEOROLOGY WORKPLACE
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
There are many aspects to being a broadcast meteorologist that are not seen on TV. Many of these include graphics development, weather data
analysis, school visits, promotions, web postings, communication with the public, and appearance preparation. With experience, these become
routine but each day has its unique challenges!
A weather graphics system includes the graphical and weather displays that are seen on TV. These include items such as the current conditions,
forecast temperature/precipitation graphics, radar, satellite, pictures and weather maps. These maps are sequenced on the computer and the
weather broadcaster often clicks through each image while delivering the presentation. Generally there is a strict time limit that the
presentation must be completed in, thus the weather broadcaster decides how much time to put into each graphic in order to explain it
best. In some cases each graphic is preprogrammed to be displayed a certain amount of time before moving to the next graphic.
Many weather broadcasters do their own forecasting supplemented by weather data and other weather forecasts. What this typically involves
is the weather broadcaster looking over current weather charts, weather forecast models, satellite/radar data, and National Weather Service
(NWS) products. The NWS forecast is looked at as a guide. Tweaking or changes from the NWS are done as seen fit for the local area. It
may also be the judgment that the NWS forecast is good as is. It is not always the case that the NWS forecast needs to be studied but it
is a great starting place when developing a forecast or a good forecast to compare to after developing a forecast. When it comes to severe
weather, the structure is often the weather broadcaster relaying the NWS warnings to the public and adding explanatory value to the
warning such as where the severe weather is taking place while showing it on radar and explaining what to do in certain severe weather situations.
School visits, public appearances and promotional appearances are part of the job of being a broadcast meteorologist. These help develop
and add to having a following for the station and the weather broadcaster. The weather broadcast is sometimes done at a location other
than the station studio in order to promote an event or to have station exposure at an event.
Since the weather broadcaster is a public figure, it is important to look professional. A broadcast meteorologist will have a professional
wardrobe of clothing and use make-ups to maximize appearance on TV. This takes time to do before each show and is important for maintaining
a professional appearance. A professional appearance helps with confidence and helps in gaining respect from the viewers.
Communication with the public is also part of the job. This includes answering email, phone calls, social media postings and questions
while on school visits and promotional visits. Being able to remain professional in this aspect of the job is a challenge since
expectations from the public can be high and unreasonable at times. Being able to provide current and updated postings with viewers is
important for maintaining a strong following on social media.