Joe Pennington, local broadcast meteorologist and 2005 Ozarks alumnus, returned to campus October 1 to share his knowledge of the science behind weather forecasting and the realities of life at a television station.
Pennington, originally from Altus, Ark., earned a degree in marketing from Ozarks in 2005 before deciding to return to college at Mississippi State University in 2007 to earn a degree in meteorology. For the past two years he has become a familiar face in the western part of Arkansas as a television meteorologist for KFSM-TV, a CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, Ark.
Because of his unique position as a broadcast meteorologist, Pennington spoke to two groups on campus, beginning with a presentation to Dr. Kim Van Scoy’s earth science class.
"I wanted to focus on the science behind weather forecasting. I walked them through the process of forecasting while at the same time talking about the medium-term climate drivers (el niño/arctic oscillation) and how they play into the forecast process," Pennington explained.
Afterward, Pennington met with a group of broadcasting students to discuss the behind-the-scenes aspects of broadcast meteorology.
"You have to remember that working at a television stations means creating and maintaining relationships," he said. "Everyone has a job to do, but sometimes you have to check your ego and rely on someone else to help you do yours."
Pennington also discussed some of the struggles of television markets in the current economy.
"With so much information available online, television stations have to work hard to stay relevant. We have to walk the fine line between utilizing new technology and giving our information away for free," Pennington explained.
Pennington’s advice for students interested in a career in television is to learn as much as possible.
"Never pass up the opportunity to learn more about the process of creating television," he said. "Learn how to be a reporter, study editing, learn how to do everything in the studio. I know how to set up the lights in the studio. I may never have to do that, but I can if I need to."
Joe Pennington, local broadcast meteorologist and 2005 Ozarks alumnus, recently returned to campus to talk with RTV students about the realities of life at a television station.