At first this may seem like a major announcement, but it's really not. This August I will complete a 3 year Broadcast Meteorology Program I began in 2010, and I plan on obtaining the proper seals of approval for a broadcast meteorologist.
Important notes right off the bat:
1) I have no plans to quit doing what I'm doing! I love doing fun live shots every morning and I love the relationship I have with you guys and everybody I work with! I'm a lucky guy.
2) Channel 2 has no plans to make any changes in its weather team! Not only do we have tenured forecasters like Kevin O'Connell and Maria Genero, but meteorologists Andy Parker, Jennifer Stanonis, and MaryBeth Wrobel make 5 awesome and reliable weather professionals. I happily take my place at the end of the depth chart.
Some may remember: I actually have already done the weather on TV locally. I was on the noon news 16 years ago doing live shots on location. Then I would go through the weather maps and give out meteorologist Chuck Gurney's forecast. Way back then I thought about getting a meteorology degree. I schedule my own live shots, so I am always looking at forecasts to plan accordingly. (you never see me get rained on or in a windstorm do you?)
So for the last three years, I have been enrolled in a Broadcast Meteorology Program through Mississippi State University. This is no "blow-off", easy program. This is the same intense training that over 1,500 broadcast meteorologists all over the country have been through. Local meteorologists past and present have used this program. CNN, Weather Channel, etc all rely on grads from this thorough, arduous school. I start my 9th and final semester next week. This August, I will travel to Mississippi State for final exams and certification. (they need to make sure it wasn't Andy taking these classes for me all along LOL)
1) I have NO plans to quit doing morning live shots
2) No changes in our weather team of any kind
Over the last 7 years at WGRZ, I've learned to shoot video, edit, and write packages. I host "It's Academic" now. I'm always looking to challenge myself and evolve as much as possible within the industry. Essentially, the more skills you have, the more employable you are.
I'll still be doing my morning live shots as long as they'll let me. Just know that if I'm reporting on a storm on location, or filling in as a weatherman sometime down the road, and you hear Meteorologist Kevin O'Neill, just know it is not a term I'm taking lightly!
It was the result of 3 years of continuous schooling and lots of homework!
I like to go for the laugh, and I always will. Just know that you can trust me when I put my weather cap on. And trust is something I will work to maintain. Ask anybody that knows me, I'm annoyingly competitive. We don't mess around with weather around these here parts, do we?
So that's it. Just a guy pursuing a passion. I'll take pics and do Facebook updates about my progress. Until then, I have some great locations lined up for next week. Have a great weekend!