“Weather Girl Goes Rogue” by Faune Riggin
This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Working for a Living.”
I’m a professional. How do I know? Because I have a professional profile on LinkedIn, of course! Sometimes when I look back at my early career, I wonder how I ever got to where I am today. I’ve been with KZIM-KSIM radio in the St. Louis area since 2001, where I produce and host the Morning News Watch. I’ve also worked in music radio. I’ve been presented more awards than I can count, including awards for broadcasting excellence. I was even named one of the top 10 best radio programmers in the nation for small market radio by Radio Ink magazine. But everyone who has worked with me in radio, and the organizations who bestowed me those awards, must not have heard how I got my start, as the chief weather forecaster for the CBS television affiliate in western North Dakota.
As a kid, I had always admired the people on TV. I never thought I could be one of them. So when I was hired at the North Dakota station, I was over the moon. My wish of being on TV had come true—I had landed the job of weather person.
My forecasts were done in front of a chroma-key greenscreen—the weather maps showed up behind me. What many people might not know is when they see a weather map behind the weather person, the weather map shows up facing the opposite way on the in-studio monitor. For the person doing the reporting, everything is backward. Even though I had practiced, I sometimes had a hard time navigating the green-screen. But I was determined.
During my very first weather telecast—which I was so excited about—I saw the maps and accidentally pointed at Washington State while talking about the New England states. Then I saw myself backward in the monitor and became confused. I looked at the news anchors and asked them, “Who took New England?” After they laughed at my on-air joke, I fell into a groove and my broadcast flowed with ease. But remember, it was LIVE television and anything could happen.
Part of my broadcast was to report on a cluster of thunderstorms in the upper Midwest. I pointed out the system on the lee side of the Rocky Mountains then said, with complete confidence, “Storms are pussing acrotch Minnesota.” Yes, “pussing acrotch,” not “pushing across.”
I was mortified. I felt my TV career was over. I looked dead into the camera and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, from now on, all storms will be moving ‘toward’ locations.” The station received an outpouring of both laughter and complaints after that. My error even gained me a giant role on the station’s Christmas blooper tape.
Not to be outdone during that same news broadcast, one of the anchors—who was female—spoke about the U.S. Postal Service collecting grocery donations. Area residents were asked to put non-perishable foods, like canned goods or boxed meals, in bags provided for collection by letter carriers. The groceries were then distributed to local food banks. With the best of intentions—and following my clustered weather segment—she said, “Well, we know your mailman is hoping his bags are a lot heavier today.” Roaring laughter erupted from the co-anchor, sports guy, camera operators and yours truly. Yes, folks—live television can become its own monster.
I am happy to report that radio is my niche. I loved TV, but with radio, I can get away with wearing pajamas to work, and I don’t have to deal with the green-screen!
Faune Riggin is a program and news director and the host of a conservative radio show. Originally from North Dakota, she has held many pageant titles and speaks on eating disorders. Riggin has two grown sons, two grandsons and a granddaughter. She lives in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She LOVES the Dallas Cowboys!
Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Working for a Living,” under the chapter “Open Mouth…” The book is filled with 59 very funny stories by working stiff. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1yNYujU) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1xXyrVR).
To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.