'Weather World' turns 35

David Kubarek
September 04, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science’s television program “Weather World” is turning 35.

Penn State weather forecasts were first broadcast by Charles Hosler, professor emeritus of meteorology, in the 1950s, but “Weather World” launched in its current 15-minute format in 1983 with the help of Hosler, who was then dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

The show continued in various formats, featuring weather pioneers such as Dick Hallgren, who became director of the National Weather Service and the American Meteorological Society, and Joel Myers, founder and president of AccuWeather. Myers’ time on the show lasted for more than two decades, ending shortly before the show launched in its current format.

Jon Nese, teaching professor of meteorology and a host and writer for “Weather World,” said the show has remained true to its roots planted by Hosler by giving as much attention to the “how” and the “why” of weather forecasting as to the “what” and “when.”

Nese said it’s a chance for both students and viewers to learn.

“The show features prominent scientists, educational segments, and several entertaining experimental forecasts where we hold ourselves accountable to our viewers by keeping a scorecard,” Nese said. “Students play a pivotal role in the show, directing, producing, drawing graphics, giving time cues in the studio, and eventually, if they want, being on-air. It’s great job experience both behind and in front of the camera, and many 'Weather World' alums are now doing television weather somewhere in the U.S. or working behind-the-scenes at national networks.”

As a graduate student, Nese appeared on “Weather World” in the 1980s and said he’s thrilled to again be associated with the show, carrying on a tradition started by Penn State legends such as Hosler and John Cahir, professor emeritus of meteorology, and strengthened by forecasters such as Paul Knight, former Pennsylvania State Climatologist, and Fred Gadomski, assistant research professor in meteorology.

Karl Schneider, a sophomore majoring in meteorology and atmospheric science, said the celebration is a chance to meet some of the region’s best on-air weather personalities while chatting with weather enthusiasts.

Schneider isn’t planning a career in broadcast meteorology but still sought out the program to gain experience.

“Being involved with ‘Weather World’ allows students to get real-world experience in broadcast meteorology, as well as TV production,” Schneider said. “Much of what students do is what weather content producers would do at large stations. For those students who are able to appear on air, it’s very much like doing the weather forecast for a TV station, as the program is recorded live with specific time constraints on the forecast.”

Laura Shedd, a junior majoring in meteorology and atmospheric science, knows she wants her career to be off-camera, but she participates in the show as a way to gain experience of the communications side of meteorology.

“‘Weather World’ has given me further exposure to the world of broadcast without putting me in front of the camera,” Shedd said. “I’m more familiar with the technology that TV stations use and have seen how good graphics can help in the communication process. It’s also allowed me to get to know more faculty in the department, as they are the ones on the show and guiding us through this work. It's been a fun thing to do and a way to gain experience in my field.”

To learn more about the show, visit the “Weather World” website.

  • Fred Gadomski, assistant research professor in meteorology, participates in an early edition of “Weather World.”

    Fred Gadomski, assistant research professor in meteorology, participates in an early edition of “Weather World.”

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • “Weather World” is on the air as seen through the studio control room.

    “Weather World” is on the air as seen through the studio control room.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Ben Reppert, Marisa Ferger, Fred Gadomski, and Jon Nese, of the “Weather World” team, are seen at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in 2017.

    From left, Ben Reppert, Marisa Ferger, Fred Gadomski and Jon Nese, of the “Weather World” team, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in 2017.

    IMAGE: Penn State
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Last Updated September 21, 2018