Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Exclusive interview with Steve Jerve

Steve Jerve, the chief meteorologist of Tampa Bay's Newschannel 8, is a book full of fascinating and captivating life chapters. This Minnesota native played basketball while he was majoring in Speech. After graduating, he decided to begin a new journey: this time, in meteorology. His first job as a weather anchor was in Minnesota, where as at one point, he simultaneously also worked as a reporter, photographer, producer, and editor. Subsequently , he kept growing within this competitive field throughout Orlando and St. Louis, where he won an Emmy Award in 1996 for weathercasting in the Mid American region. Steve is a full member of the American Meteorological Society.  The AMS was founded in 1919 and has over 14,00 members. He is also proud to be a Certified Boadcast Meteorologist. The program in charge of certifying candidates do not make this mission an easy one for them. Aplicants need to go through very extensive and rigurous testing. In addition to that, they have to prove that they have already a Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology while all their current work is reviewed to assess their level of competence.

1. How did you go from speech communication to meteorology and when did your interest for this fascinating career begin? It was largely a job opportunity that led me into weather.  I was working as a news reporter/anchor at my first station in Austin , MN (Home of Spam, the canned meat) and I used to fill in for the weather person…and the sports person…etc.  I had some meteorology for my core course in a liberal arts degree and they were pretty good courses, so I did know something about the science.  The guy that hired me in the business moved to Jackson MS and offered me a full time job in weather and I took it because it paid more and was a good opportunity to learn something new and see if I liked it.  I went back to school at Jackson State U. for meteorology and continued my education at Mississippi State University . Plus, forecasting weather for 25 plus years, you pick up a few things.

2. I was actually living in Puerto Rico when the island got hit by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and I still remember that it was one of the most destructive hurricanes to ever hit us. Where were you at at the time and how was your experience covering this hurricane?  I was working at WFTV in Orlando and was at the National Hurricane Center in Miami reporting on Hugo for my station.  I was one of many members of the media there covering the storm.  So, I watched it from afar.  I also did the same thing for category 5 Andrew in 1992 and got stuck in the storm as it came through South Florida.

3. Standing in front of the cameras to talk about the weather requires a lot of confidence, skills, and knowledge. What are all the tools that you use when you get prepared for  each weathercast segment?
All of above in your question.  This job requires a unique blend of science, communication and knowledge and skill with graphics.  I’m not saying I do any of it well, but I try.  We use computer models to forecast the weather, then work on putting that forecast into graphics that you see on air to explain to viewers the weather situation.  I love this job because it is so challenging in so many areas.
More below the video...

4. What did it take for you to become a certified broadcast meteorologist?
Ive been an AMS seal holder since 1992, and that required a lot of college credit coursework.  The CBM seal was added in the mid 2000s and it requires a 100 question test administered by the AMS.  It was a tough test and I’m proud to have earned it.  I got it in 2006.
5. How do you describe the dynamic that exists between you and your colleagues in the studio?
It’s an excellent dynamic.  We’re a big professional family, those behind and in front of the camera.  We all work together to try and do the best newscast possible, there are some real professionals here.  My on air colleagues are my friends and it works best that way.  People can detect if youre not genuine on camera.  Just be yourself, it’s not that hard.


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