|BROADCAST METEOROLOGY CHALLENGES
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
As with any job, broadcast meteorology has its unique challenges. It is a job for the most part that requires the applicant to be flexible
about where to work since there are several positions in each state throughout the United Stated. To advance, it typically requires
making moves throughout the country over several years. With only certain positions open at any one time, it can be difficult to
work in a favorite market. One important component to try to work into a contract is to have the ability to take a position in a high
or higher market station if a position comes open while under contract. Generally, weather broadcasting positions require signing an
employment contract. It is common to try to limit this contract to 2 years when getting an entry level position so that there is the
flexibility to make a move after 2 years of experience.
The hours worked during the day can be challenging since they are worked at times most other people are off work. The morning shift
requires arriving to work at 2 or 3 in the morning and the afternoon/evening shift requires working during the evening hours. This
can make it difficult to have family time during the day and the sleep schedule will be different from other family members. Broadcast
weather is not the typical 9 to 5 job.
Another challenge is dealing with the common feedback that results when a forecast is missed. Some of this feedback can be unreasonable
and negative, thus the weather broadcaster needs to be able to handle criticism and negativity in as positive of a way as possible.
Time management is an important skill. There is only a limited amount of time to look over weather data and put a forecast together. With
experience, less time will be required to look through the wealth of weather data to put a forecast together. Along with the forecast,
time needs to be budgeted in producing weather graphics, posting on social media and on online pages, and preparing to go live on TV.
Being a weather broadcaster requires public exposure. Thus a person has to be very comfortable with public speaking, being seen in public
and being talked about on social media. Communication skills are critical to having a successful career in broadcast meteorology.
School visits, reporting and public appearance are a common part of the job.
Additional challenges to keep in mind include having to fill-in for another weather broadcaster in the case of sickness or vacation
since the number of weather broadcasters is limited at a station, making the weather broadcast interesting on relatively
boring weather days, having very effective broadcasts when severe weather strikes, describing the weather in understandable
terms and preparing the public well for the weather ahead.