Weather forecaster McGinnis leaving WDJT CBS 58
After 19 years in television, and most recently a good deal of that time at WDJT-TV CBS 58, chief meteorologist Mark McGinnis is signing off the air.
"I want to thank everyone that has watched, listened or interacted with me over the years. It has been a wonderful journey and privilege to be invited into your home every day," he posted on Facebook.
In a conversation with him this week we talked about a common thread that hits many in the media world, the schedule puts a strain on relationships.
"I've missed funerals, weddings, days with my family and having the kids grow up," McGinnis said. "I knew I needed to transition to doing something else."
Because of sweeps ratings periods, there are about six to seven months that are blocked out from taking time off. This is where staffers – especially the ones on the news team that are on the main evening newscasts – are locked into place to get higher viewership and make connections with the audience.
Also, it is a second shift, usually starting around 1 p.m. and going to 11:30 p.m., which means missing a number of after school activities. Many in media can make a go of it for a while, but it comes at a heavy sacrifice.
"TV is not a very family-friendly profession. My family has had to sacrifice much. Years ago I decided that my life path differs greatly from the TV career path and change must happen," McGinnis said.
After some heavy research, McGinnis started his own weather consulting business that can work with communities, schools, large employers to create action plans for dealing with severe weather specifically detailed for wherever the client is located.
"The great part of what I put together is compliant with NOAA's StormReady and FEMA's WeatherReady Nation," he said. "After hurricane Katrina, FEMA wanted to streamline the process. They would come in with money and support and it makes the process quicker if a city has a plan that follows their guidelines in place."
McGinnis, when he would attend the national meteorology conferences, would ask other weather anchors, and people who work outside of TV if his business idea was a good one.
"And they all agreed with me. Many said there's work you could get now," he said.
Fair Skies Consulting is an LLC that McGinnis created about two years ago, and the work has grown to where he can focus on it full time. That allowed him to make the decision to leave the studio now.
He informed Mark Strachota, the GM at the station, about leaving television in December.
"(Strachota) asked me to stay on a bit longer and I was happy to do it," McGinnis said.
That extra time, I'm sure, helped the station managers to figure out the next moves, including who will be the person who takes the chief job and be the main anchor on weekday evenings.
McGinnis did say he will miss the friends he has gotten to know though working at WDJT, and encourages people to keep watching.
Feb. 26 will be his last day on his schedule, but, most likely, it won't be the last time you see McGinnis on the air.
"I will be available, and I plan on filling in from time-to-time," he said.
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