Where Have All the Meteorologists Gone?
By Gary Brown
CEO, Owner of Talent Dynamics
What will 2023 be known for in TV news? The year of the weather openings.
In the first half of 2023, the biggest search need has been for meteorologists. So far this year, we at Talent Dynamics have conducted over thirty — that is right — thirty searches for weather people and/or meteorologists for TV stations and networks. By the time you read this, that number will likely be even higher. This is a crucial gap that needs to be filled — weather is important.
Research over the years consistently showed weather coverage is a defining factor for viewer loyalty. Win weather; you can win the ratings. It is the one thing viewers still want from us, and keeping people safe in times of severe weather is also a public service that TV stations are supposed to do.
So we’re talking about the biggest content driver for local TV stations and an inability to find enough qualified people to fill the open roles … How can this be? Well, there are several reasons.
Many meteorologists have decided to take their talents out of TV news and into other lines of work. Some are doing PR, while others are focused on research behind the scenes. There are even some folks who are pitching themselves to be freelance remote weather anchors for stations. This makes sense, as we proved the weather center can be in someone’s kitchen during the pandemic. What also is at work here is something that’s affected virtually all job classes in TV news: People don’t want to move unless it is the perfect job.
The other reality is that the jobs are not paying enough in some cases to get people to leave their current situation. To top it off, we aren’t seeing the same amount of people graduating from schools with a desire to do weather or with a meteorology degree. So, what’s the takeaway here? This means that if you want to move up fast in the TV industry, LEARN WEATHER!
Many universities offer remote learning like Mississippi State University and Penn State University to name a couple. Some companies may even cover some of your education expenses to learn weather. Check with your company to see if they will help you. Some stations are adjusting their requirements for experience depending on the opening. Others might be adjusting their compensation to get the right person.
Most searches are staying active longer until the station finds the right person. Are you that person? Most people get into this business to tell stories and make a difference, right wrongs and hold the powerful accountable. Tell me a bigger difference one can make than helping people stay safe from bad weather, from a hurricane making landfall or a tornado on the ground. “We save lives.” It’s not some tired promotional line. It’s the truth. And maybe it’s something you can do as your career moves forward.
Gary Brown is the CEO and Owner of Talent Dynamics, home of the TV news industry’s largest video database for on-air and off-air talent. He can be reached at Brown@talentdynamics.com and their website is www.talentdynamics.com.