Lightning Fast Format Changes And Back Again

Todd Glickman
Mon Oct 26 12:54:55 EDT 2009

I can't comment on the situation at WBZ, but I can comment on the word  
"meteorologist," that can be very difficult to say!  I have trouble  
sometimes myself... and I've been saying it for 30+ years on the same  
radio station in my very best native New York accent.  One trick some  
people use is to break it into two words, and say them fast:  meaty- 
urologist.  Just don't think about what you're saying :-)

That being said, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) has been  
working for a long time to elevate the stature of those of us in the  
profession who work in broadcasting.  (There are about 20,000  
meteorologists in the US, approximately 1/3 work in goverment; 1/3 in  
research/academia, and 1/3 in the private sector.  Fewer than 1,000  
are in broadcasting.)  It turns out because there is no national nor  
state licensing, anyone can call him/herself a meteorologist.    
Developed in the 1960s, the AMS had a peer-reviewed "Seal of Approval"  
program for radio and TV, but the entry bar was pretty low.  Two years  
ago, the AMS's program was relaunched and strengthened as the  
"Certified Broadcast Meteorologist" (CBM) program.  (Those who have  
the Seal of Approval may continue to use it until retirement, but no  
new ones are being awarded.  Those who have the Seal and are eligible  
for the CBM are encouraged to upgrade.)  There are four hurdles to be  
awarded the CBM:
(1)  A bachelor's degree in atmospheric sciences or equivalent
(2)  A closed-book exam that includes questions from basic and applied  
meteorology, new observing and analysis systems, and also related  
sciences (hydrology, seismology, etc.)  Here's the study guide index:
(3)  A peer review of your broadcasts
(4)  Continuing education that is tracked and monitored.
You can read more about the program here:

The CBM closed-book exam is pretty tough.  I had to study for it,  
despite having been practicing meteorology and being on-air  
continuously since the 70s, and keeping up with new technologies and  
systems through my work first in the private sector, then on AMS  
staff, and subsequently at MIT.  Currently, I serve as Chair of the  
Appeals Committee, that reviews appeals from those who do not pass the  
peer review, and I can say with confidence that the peer review bar is  
set very high.

Why would you want a degreed, certified meteorologist as your weather  
reporter on TV or radio?  For 95% of the situations, it probably  
doesn't matter -- and doing a rip/read of the NWS generic zones  
forecasts would be fine.  But during severe weather, conflicting  
computer model runs, emergencies, etc., having a trained expert is  
important.  It's just like medicine -- most of the time the diagnosis  
is easy, but for the tough cases, you want a doctor who is well  
schooled, has good experience, and a deep understanding of what's  
going on.

Remember, meteorology is an exact science.  But predicting the future  
is not!


Todd Glickman
Certified Broadcast Meteorologist
WCBS Newsradio-880
New York City, NY

Todd Glickman '77
Associate Director, Office of Corporate Relations
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, W98-400
600 Memorial Drive, 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone:	(617) 452-2457

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