Monday, April 27, 2009

Everything you wanted to know about being a meteorologist

(this is my college buddy, Mike Seidel, who does a heck-of-a good job on the Weather Channel. He's on the road a lot, covering breaking storms. He's one of the main "go-to" guys that has to hop a jet and get to ground zero of a likely major storm, only to have to stand outside and suffer the elements, describing Mother Nature's blow by blow turn for the worse. While everyone else is trying to get away from bad weather - Mike is racing in the opposite direction, and he's not alone. Ask any meteorologist and he or she will (privately) admit that a big storm of some sort probably got them interested in meteorology, a close encounter of the wild kind, and that their heart skips a few beats when a "big one", in meteorological parlance, a "BOMB" is brewing. The holy grail? Capturing the birth of a tornado (preferably the ONLY ONE with the money shot). Or flying into the eye of a hurricane onboard the NHC Hurricane Hunter aircraft. Or witnessing a major blizzard, flood, Dodge-ball size hail, all of the above will leave a would-be meteorologist short of breath, panting with delirium? Sick? Maybe, but it's probably more along the line of what Helen Hunt's character was trying to relive in "Twister", trying to really understand the storm that had terrified (and mesmerized) them many years back - at the beginning.

Scott Sistek at KOMO-TV in Seattle has done a VERY good job of putting together an overview, a primer, on the meteorology business, what you need to know before you consider weather as a career. TV is still an option, but the glory days are over, the days of fat, six-figure salaries are gone (don't I know!) Not complaining, it is what it is - TV news is rapidly going the way of AM radio (which is still around, still listened to, but a shadow of its former self in many ways). There will always be entry-level positions at TV stations around the USA, and you'll still be able to make a pretty good living in the TV-biz, but increasingly jobs will be more entreprenurial, starting up new companies or joining small start-ups with a new take, a new strategy centered around weather (more accurate, or more convenient, more personalized, etc). There has never been a better time to start a new business - the Internet has leveled the playing field to a large degree. You don't need a family name or truckloads of cash. What you do need is a great idea, people surrounding you who continue to crank out great ideas, and tenacity. Nothing good ever comes easy - that much IS true. But in the end there is nothing more satisfying that taking an idea, molding it, perfecting it, finding smart people who believe your idea, getting them stoked about your concept, and then getting out of the way while they execute and turn the vision into a reality. That's as good as it gets. But I digress....

The complete article is right here.

1 comment:

  1. Mike Seidel is good... but this wasn't one of his better days: All in a day's work.