CONTACT: Tip | COMMENT: Respond | FOLLOW: | EMAIL: Newsletter


101 KLOL documentary Runaway Radio Houston screening
WATCH: Mike McGuff's "Runaway Radio" 101 KLOL documentary - now streaming!

Friday, March 29, 2024

Tim Heller is training TV meteorologists as far as Africa

This week, we have been looking at former Houston TV talents who are thriving in a post on-air life, and Tim Heller fits that bill as he is now training the next generation of broadcast meteorologists worldwide!

Case in point, take a look at Science Nigeria to learn that the former abc13 KTRK Houston chief meteorologist is now training the Nigerian Meteorological Agency's (NiMet) "weather presenters on the fundamentals of effective weather communication, forecasting, production, and delivery." 

After leaving Channel 13 and the on-air TV side of the job in 2019, Heller founded HellerWeather to coach broadcast meteorologists around the United States.  Now we can call him an international TV weather talent coach/trainer!

Heller started the coaching company because traditional news consultants have a background in news departments and don’t know how to speak clearly about covering the weather. As a former on-air meteorologist, Heller understands the challenges of juggling six jobs simultaneously.

His background and experience help fill the HellerWeather schedule. He is currently watching and coaching 37 broadcast meteorologists, representing 11 television stations owned by CBS, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, and Morgan Murphy Media.

Mike McGuff: How does it feel that HellerWeather is now helping meteorologists outside of the United States with their weather presentation?

Tim Heller: Honestly, it’s a little surreal and entirely unexpected. A friend of mine pointed out that I’m shaping how an entire country gets their weather information. No pressure! Seriously, I’m excited to be working with the on-air meteorologists at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and helping them learn how to communicate more effectively.

MM: Will you travel to Nigeria, or will the training be done virtually? 

TH: Like some of the US-based television stations I support, the coaching will be entirely virtual, involving a combination of interactive webinars and one-on-one coaching sessions.

Virtual coaching is a cost-effective solution that works well because what appears on the screen is what’s important.

MM: With all your experience, how do you see the future of weather forecasting with new technologies like AI coming online?

TH: I already have some clients using AI to help summarize data and simplify the weather story of the day into 3-4 essential messages. Many broadcast meteorologists are naturally skeptical of artificial intelligence, but I think AI must become part of the workflow if we’re going to successfully manage the production and distribution of weather content on every broadcast and digital platform. I envision a future when AI can also help meteorologists manage, analyze, and interpret the constant flow of weather data.

MM: Looking back at your career, what do you see as one of the most significant weather moments you covered?

TH: There were many: The Great Flood of ’93 while I was working in the Midwest, the Fort Worth Tornado in March 2000 while I was working at KDFW in Dallas, and Hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Harvey while at ABC13, just to name a few.

There was one moment that I’ve often shared with my coaching clients. I don’t remember the exact date, but shortly after I joined ABC13 there was a round of afternoon thunderstorms that prompted multiple tornado warnings. I was busy tracking the storms on-air and wanted to include the late, great Ed Brandon in the coverage. Ed noticed that we were getting lots of emails asking about the storms (this was before social media) and he suggested that he respond to some of the questions live on-air. It was amazing. As I stood in the weather center watching Ed on TV, I realized one of the most important things we can do in a scary weather situation is help our viewers get through it. I was only thinking about the meteorology. Ed was thinking about the humanity.

Heller boasts over three decades of experience covering weather. As an acclaimed meteorologist, he has been recognized with prestigious awards from the Lonestar EMMYs, Houston Press Club, Dallas Press Club, and the Texas Associated Press.

Before his tenure in Houston, Heller was the chief meteorologist for FOX 4 KDFW Dallas-Fort Worth. He was also the chief meteorologist for KGAN 2 Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plus the main weathercaster for KRCG 13 Jefferson City, Missouri; KDUB Dubuque, Iowa; and WIFR 23 News Rockford, Illinois.

Originally from Prairieburg, Iowa, Heller earned a BA in Communications from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, and graduated from the Broadcast Meteorology Program at Mississippi State University.

CONTACT: Leave me a Houston or Texas media news tip | COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here