AMS / NWA / RESUME TAPE EVALUATION
Below is various advice for improving the on-air presentation for the AMS, NWA or resume tape evaluation.
1- Make sure the satellite and radar loops have some city labels on them.
2- Make sure you either SAY how many hours the satellite and radar loops are OR make sure it is time
stamped on your loop.
3- Make sure the layout of your presentation works well. Do not jump back and forth between local
and national maps.
4- Move around and don't stand in one place. Do not cover up portions of the graphics for too long.
5- Make sure you use climatology if possible. Explain how the weather relates to the typical weather
this time of year. Climate is what we expect and weather is what we get.
6- Make sure that you do an explainer graphic or two in each show. Examples include: wind shear, sea
breeze formation, a mesoscale wind, lake-effect snow, cold front and fog.
7- Use jetstream maps if you can and explain how it influences the weather at the surface.
8- Show energy and make sure they know you're enjoying being there.
9- Give each day's forecast page the time it deserves and don't rush through them. Allow the viewer to absorb
the information given on each map.
10- Explain EVERYTHING... don't let a cold front go by without mentioning how the wind shift will dry things
out and cool them down, don't forget to talk about how High Pressure has a clockwise flow and Low
Pressure a counter-clockwise flow, these are all things that we get SO bored of saying, but they
want to see it on these tapes.
11- Avoid saying every temperature that is given on a map. Give a few temperatures while explaining
why the temperatures are the value that they are.
12- A text graphic toward the start of the show can be used to list the important aspects of the weather
over the next several days. Toward the end of the show conclude verbally by summarizing these
highlights on the extended forecast page.
13- Don't use text or verbally say slight, moderate or high risk of severe thunderstorms. Use the
phrase "enhanced risk for severe weather" instead of moderate or high risk. Use the
phrase "risk for severe weather" instead of slight risk.
14- When showing clouds on the satellite give the basic cloud type(s) (i.e. convective, stratiform shield,
low clouds, high clouds) and what is causing their formation (i.e. low pressure, WAA, surface
heating thunderstorms, front).
15- Use good transitions between each graphic. Never give the appearance that you are unsure which graphic
will come up next.
16- Try to avoid the overuse of "filler" words such as into, toward, upon, over toward, down to, up in, now
I'll take you to, as you can see, seems like, kind of, well.
17- Try not to use "nice" to describe the weather. Instead of nice explain the characteristics that
make the weather nice such as pleasant temperature, lack of rain, or sunny.
18- On all maps give the viewers a way to find the local forecast area such as with a symbol.
19- Define any term that most viewers will be unsure of.
20- If the weather is windy explain the cause of the windiness.
21- If any type of watch box is shown you need to explain why the watch box is located in that position
and explain meteorological processes that are leading to the watch box.
22- Try to avoid admitting or talking about something you do not know for sure on air. Only talk about
what you know about. Don't use words that lead to doubts of what you are talking about such as: could be,
might be, seems like, maybe, unknown, guessing it to be, kind of.
23- When on the croma key never stand half on and half off the camera's view.
24- Let your news anchors know you will be using the show for evaluation. Plan it out to have a good
toss back and forth between you and the news anchor.
25- Avoid using the words farther or further since it is easy to incorrectly use one term for the
other. If you do use them, make sure they are used correctly.
26- You should avoid jewelry that can take away the viewer's attention.
27- Do not play with the clicker during the presentation. The viewer's attention should not be
drawn to the clicker.
28- When there are weather warning, first give the specific locations under warning before
29- Explain the weather as it is and not with human qualities because human qualities are
subjective. For example, rather than describing the weather as good, nice, happy, mad, or mean
describe it as wet, stormy, dry, clear, warm, cold, etc.
30- Make sure to verbally use local and national geographical references during the weathercast.
31- Make more than one set of tapes. For example, if three consecutive weathercasts are required, make
3 sets of tapes with 3 consecutive weathercasts. Next, pick the set that you and others think is the best. It
is a good idea to pick the best weathercasts possible especially since the tape evaluation process by the
AMS and NWA takes a long time. You want to do everything you can to pass the first time.
32- Try not to use days with active weather such as severe weather in the local area. You are less
likely to make mistakes and you will likely look more comfortable in your presentation on days
with clear weather.
33- Follow all instructions given by the AMS or NWA carefully. Any rule that can not be followed must
be explained to them when you send in the tapes. It saves a ton of time if you do not have to appeal a
decision based on not being able to following the instructions.
34- Throw in a few well timed smiles.
35- Reserve the term "showers" only for scattered areas of rain in which no thunderstorms are present. Do not
use the term "thundershowers" but rather use "thunderstorms".
36- Do not use the term "mixed bag" but rather give the specific precipitation types that will occur.
37- Only point with the hand that is closest to the croma key. Use fluid motions.
38- Emphasize mesoscale temperature and precipitation differences across the viewing area when needed. This is
particularly important in regions with significant elevation changes, urban/rural changes and for
large viewing areas. This can be accomplished through zone forecast graphics.
39- Make sure pace of presentation flows at an even rate. This can be particularly difficult when there
is a short time restraint and rushing to finish at the end is required.
40- Make sure glasses are as non-reflective as possible.
41- Be able to take fairly deep breaths through your nose when talking since this will help prevent you from running
out of breath and prevent you from making gasping for air noises.
42- Have good eye contact with the camera.
43- Know your material. Rehearse before the show "out-loud" to familiarize yourself with the sequence
of graphics. You can also get a sense of whether you have enough time for all your graphics---and you
can also catch any typos or errors.
44- Do not pick days where a tropical system will impact the forecast region. Do not pick big severe weather
events. There are too many variables that impact the forecast in these situations. It is best to pick
typical type days.
45- Have others watch your shows before you do the final cuts for the resume tape. Others can
catch "mistakes" in your broadcast that you missed.
46- Your station will have rules that conflict with what the tape evaluator wants to see. The tape
evaluator can not hold it against you if you explain your situation to them. You can also try
to have your station manager approve of changes you want on days you are filming for the tape
evaluator. Example of conflicts includes: order of graphics, length of show, what can and can not
be on graphics, etc.
47- If you have well more than the minimum number of years of required experience to get
a particular seal then make sure to
emphasize that on your paper resume. Those that apply for the seals with less than 4 years of on-air
experience can possibly be at a disadvantage because you may be viewed as lacking experience compared
to those with 5 of more years of experience. Any kind of rookie mistake made on-air by those with not
as much experience can be viewed as someone lacking sufficient experience to gain the seal. If you only
have around the minimum number of years of experience and you apply for the seal your work
will need to be very impressive.
48- Try to work it in your contract to gain a salary promotion after you earn a seal.
49- Try to work it in your contract to have the station pay for expenses required for
applying for the seal, membership expenses and seal renewal expenses.
50- Make sure the quality of the filming tape is the best possible. You do not want any kind of
snow, blurring or imperfections to be on the tape. This can distract the tape evaluator from
51- Attend NWA and AMS meetings as they relate to tape swaps and weather education. It will look
good on the resume and it shows you have an initiative to be a part of the NWA and AMS.
52- If satellite data is missing on the edge of a satellite map make sure to crop that off so viewers
do not see it.
53- Make it look like you are looking at what is being pointed to when turning to the side. You may need to
step back some from the green wall so that it looks like your eyes are looking directly at what you
are pointing at. Practice this skill at your set until it is perfected.
54- Have a good almanac
55- Avoid including an excessive amount of observations on a map and other situations where there
is information overload.
56- Always look at the viewers or to the side and not into space.
57- Put a dot where your station location is at on all maps so the viewers know exactly where the
local area is at all times.