For 26 years, (closer to 27 if you’re a slow reader) I forecast the weather on WTNH/WCTX–News8 in Connecticut. Now I forecast the weather and report science and technology at FoxCT (WTIC-TV) in Hartford.
Two jobs in nearly 30 years! In a business built on swift career moves that’s more than a little stable. On the other hand if this were a major crime I’d have been out on probation long ago!
For me it all started in high school back in a small farming community in the Midwest (OK, I grew up in Flushing, Queens – but who would admit to that?). Back then the New York City Board of Education ran its own radio station producing among other things radio shows for use in the classroom. I became a radio actor; one of the many now-worthless skills acquired over the years.
By the time I was in college (Emerson College, where I had a double major taking up both time and space) I still hadn’t figured out how to keep away from radio and got my first real paying on-the-air job at WSAR in Fall River, MA (“Ahoy there matey, it’s 14-80″).
After a career in radio featuring enough jobs in enough cities to qualify for a U-Haul Gold Card I decided to try my luck in television. I had started shaving a few times a week. To me that said TV.
It was off to Western New York as the host of PM Magazine/Buffalo. The show was great, but there were downsides. As it turned out Buffalo is in a sun-free zone from sometime in late October until May. And then there’s that snow thing. PM Magazine was an on-location show and driving… or rather sliding… from location-to-location quickly lost its luster.
I desperately wanted to work inside a warm building. Luckily there was a weekend weather job opening up so I went to the news director to apply for the job and sheepishly added, “I don’t know anything about the weather.” Thankfully that wasn’t one of the requirements and a new career was born.
So many people who do what I do grew up loving the weather and followed their dream. It wasn’t until I started following the weather that I realized how fascinating it was. I quickly realized someone “doing the weather” should actually know something about the weather.
I bought every book I could find. I read and studied. I hung out with meteorologists.
I don’t know if you realize how wild and exciting meteorologists are? You never see the true meteorologist until he is relaxed and lets his pocket protector down.
Math and science had been my strong subjects in school so I quickly took to meteorology especially as high powered computers and intricate numerical modeling improved the accuracy of forecasting. The more I learned the more I realized how deeply I was drawn to the science behind it all.
In May 1984 the news director at a competing station made a call to his friend at WTNH. He wanted me out of the market!
He told my soon-to-be boss, “I don’t know what it is, but when he’s on I can’t turn the set off.”
A few weeks later I was on my way to Connecticut and WTNH!
In more than two decades here I’ve done everything from forecasting hurricanes (Gloria and Bob) to flying through them (twice). I’ve also flown an F/A-18 with the Blue Angels, experienced Mt. Washington in mid-January with 100+ mph winds and sailed under Long Island Sound in a Groton based Los Angeles class Fast Attack submarine.
I’ve been honored with 7 Emmys, SPJ and AP Awards, “Best of” awards from Connecticut Magazine and the New Haven Advocate, and dozens of awards from community organizations across the state. Theodore Roosevelt’s concept of the “bully pulpit” has greatly affected me and so I’ve devoted many hours to charity, including long standing commitments to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, March of Dimes, Friends of Yale/New Haven Children’s Hospital, Gateway Community College Foundation and many others.
With the advent of digital photography I became a fan then an obsessed expert. I have written numerous articles on digital photography techniques for PC Magazine.
In the summer of 2005 I completed the Broadcast Meteorology Program (with recognition for superior academic achievment) from the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University. I am a full member of the American Meteorological Society and have received the AMS Broadcast Seal of Approval.
It is scary to have adults with their children in tow walk up to me and tell me how I visited their middle school class. I’m not old enough for that!
I live in Hamden, Connecticut with my wife Helaine. We embrace the holy trinity of Connecticut country living: well water, septic system and oil heat.
Our daughter Stefanie is a graduate of the School of Communication at Hofstra University and now lives in Southern California strictly to make me jealous.
A plum tree planted fifteen years ago produced fruit for the first time this year. I’m that kind of outdoorsman!
My spare time is spent at one of three computers I’ve built, working on photography, web and multimedia applications (like this handcoded website), providing tech support for friends and family and muttering curse words in the general direction of Bill Gates’ house.