AMS Broadcasters Conference

June 22, 2009

ams_logoI spent most of today at the 37th Annual AMS Broadcasters Conference with other TV weather people from around the country.  Generally there is one of these conferences each year and usually they are held in late June.  This one will continue through Thursday.  This is also the first year that the conference has come to Portland.  About 6 years ago Seattle hosted the conference, but usually it’s much farther away.  That’s for good reason;  the vast majority of TV stations are east of the Rockies.  Television markets to the east are generally smaller so there are more of them.  The most obvious thing today was the light attendance.  Less than 100 meteorologists when the usual total is around 200-300!  The economy is mainly to blame.  TV companies are making cutbacks just like others.

I always get a bit fired up after several days of sessions because we get to learn about all sorts of new things at these conferences.  For example, today we learned that the new GOES-R satellite (not coming for a few more years) will have an optical lightning detector.  So 24 hours a day over oceans and land all lightning strikes will be detectable, including cloud to cloud.  That should be fun to see.  Gene Norman from Houston talked about Ike’s arrival and the ensuing mess down there last September.   I can’t imaging being without power down there for two weeks during the summer heat/humidity!

This Portland conference was fun today since quite a few local TV (and ex-TV) folks showed up.  Matt Zaffino, Bruce Sussman, and I gave the opening “Welcome to Portland” presentations about our local climate.  Rod Hill, Dave Salesky, Rhonda Shelby, Drew Jackson, Stephanie Kralevich, Dave Sweeney & Stephanie Ortmann were there as well.   Imagine getting a big hug from Salesky and Shelby in the same day!   Good times just keep on rolling, I almost had tears in my eyes…okay, to be serious I didn’t.  But it REALLY is nice that just about all the weather people in the Portland Television Market get along so well when we see each other.  It’s a friendly group of people.

These sessions are not open to the general public, but the LOCAL Oregon Chapter of the AMS has a meeting on Tuesday evening in the same location.  I can’t make it because I’ll be working, but I do recommend trying to get there if you can.  Details are here:  http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon/OR-AMS_meeting_June23-2009.pdf

Mark Nelsen