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  • Todd Yakoubian

Pay It Forward

What do you call 600 meteorologists from around the country in 1 room? There's no punch line to this, but if you come up with one, let me know. I'm attending the annual National Weather Association Conference in Huntsville, AL. It's a wonderful opportunity and I'm thankful KATV sent me to it last year and again this year.

In reality, I'm attending this conference for YOU. I'm learning and sharing ideas with the greatest minds in weather and this helps sharpen my skills in communicating a weather message effectively. Living in Arkansas, we know it can life threatening weather we're dealing with and knowing how to analyze and accurately convey that information is everything!

I've been in the TV business for 22 years and it comes with responsibilities I never imagined when I started out in 1997. These responsibilities apply to YOU reading this post as well. Really, anyone with knowledge and experience in the field you work. The theme for this conference is "Pay It Forward."

Most of us have that someone who took a chance on us. Someone who gave us a break, shared their knowledge, gave advice, and helped you get a start in your chosen profession. For me, it was Meteorologist Tim Ross, Ned Perme, and Randy Dixon.

Since no school in Arkansas offers meteorology, I had to go out of state and that took me to the University of Oklahoma. I was turned down for internships at every TV station in Oklahoma City, except KOKH and Tim Ross. Tim took a chance on me and helped me land my first job in Missoula, Montana.

I also have Ned and Randy to thank for bringing me home to Little Rock when no one else would take a chance on me. Here I am 14 years into my employment at Channel 7. I have had 2 interns over the past few years and all I tell them when the internship is over is to "pay it forward." One of those interns is sitting next to me at this conference and thriving in the business. However, it's at another TV station in Little Rock. I can't say which one, but it's between 3 and 5 and his 1st name starts with"H". LOL.

No matter where you work, whether it's an intern or someone new, take someone under your wings and be that person who passes along knowledge to the next generation and creates a better future for everyone. In the process, you'll find out that person will teach you a few things along the way too.

A few of the pictures so far at the conference below. See you back on the air later this week!

Click the arrow on the pic to shuttle through them

Pic 1 ) James Spann with our sister station in Birmingham

Pic 2) No caption needed

Pic 3) I worked with Chris Palmgren at WRCB in Chattanooga before heading back to Little Rock. He now works with Baron services in Huntsville. They provide weather data all over the world

Pic 4) I went to school at OU with KEYE (Austin, TX) chief meteorologist Chikage Windler

Pic 5) Went to school at OU with John Keys. He's now a meteorologist with the NWS in Idaho.

Pic 6) Meteorologist Bill Kelly with WJLA in Washington D.C presenting. He talked about becoming entrenched in a new TV market.

Pic 7) Panel discussion about working through a high stress weather event.

Pic 8) training on our weather graphics system we use at KATV

Pic 9) KAIT meteorologist Ryan Vaughan presenting about communicating important weather information on social media.

Pic 10) Keynote talk Sunday morning by meteorologist Brian Busby

Pic 11) The main conference hall Monday morning. 600 in attendance!

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