Weather Watch: Time Changes Everything

Weather Watch

This summer I celebrated my 20th anniversary with THV 11. Thank you all for trusting me for your daily forecast and especially when the weather gets ugly. As I think back about my time here, memories come rushing back and I am reminded about the many changes we’ve seen in weathercasting through the years.

Changes in technology are part of most any type of career, especially those in science or medicine, and can happen quickly or very slowly over time. Allow me a minute to take a look back in amazement at how my job has morphed and how I’ve learned to adapt to changes.

Obviously the creation of the Internet has affected my job the most. In 1996 we were just starting to implement the World Wide Web at the TV station as typewriters still sat in the old newsroom. Before the Internet, forecast maps came down twice a day from a huge dot matrix printer called a Difax. I would rip the pages off the printer, cut and tape them together and lay it out on a desk 6 feet long to analyze and develop my forecast from the data

Now weather products are instant over the web and there is a tremendous amount of information out there to review. This advancement certainly saves steps and time.

Computer hardware and software enhancements have also changed over the last 20 years. In 1996, the weather graphic computer used to make maps for my broadcast was considered state of the art. With that system, it took 45 minutes to render a 7-day map. Now there is no rendering and the same graphic is generated as quickly as I can type the temperatures into the appropriate spot and hit “save.” This, of course, frees up time as well.

In addition to providing instantaneous information, the Internet and the use of social media has changed the way I am able to connect with THV11 viewers. Back in the day, the only way to communicate was by phone. I received many phone calls a day and although I tried to return every call, there was simply not enough hours in the day.

Thanks to the advancements I mentioned, viewers can now contact me through email, social media or through THV11’s web site. I am so happy to be able to talk to Arkansans this way and be a part of their lives as they plan their day, prepare for approaching severe weather or let everyone know about an event or initiative to help others. There is a lot of interaction now; it’s so great!

Changes in technology have allowed me to do more in the same amount of time. My day no longer consists solely of analyzing data, developing a forecast and putting together the broadcast. There’s so much more to it.

With advancements in the industry, I also deliver the forecast via radio stations Big 94.9, The Edge 100.3, The Wolf 105.1, and KSSN 96. On the web, you’ll find the forecast on our own website and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter which are recorded and uploaded via my smartphone. In addition to TV, this is also where you can go as severe weather hounds the state.

As I was cutting and taping paper together, who would have thought that in 20 short years, I would be able to receive and communicate information instantly and I would have the opportunity to talk to you guys every day. What a blessing!

I can’t wait to see what happens over the next 20 years. Before long, I may be a hologram in your own living room!