Almost every meteorologist's biography you read on any website starts out with, "I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist from the time I was a kid."
This is not so true for me. My first passion was for journalism and politics.
I cut my teeth as an intern for Arkansas's Second Congressional District long before I was tracking severe weather in that state.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I lived through the winter of '78 by digging a tunnel out of my house. Now that is a taste of winter!
I then moved to Arkansas in the early 80's where I graduated from high school, received my degree in broadcast journalism at Southern Illinois University, studied with the BBC in Britain, and interned with CNN in Washington D.C. I then returned to Arkansas for that first job.
Once I got into TV at KFSM in Fort Smith, Arkansas, it only took a few months before the "weather bug" bit me.
The weekend weather person had gone, and my boss asked me if I wanted to fill in. I didn't know much about weather, but I loved geography and I knew every county, city and "one horse town" between Oklahoma City and Memphis. The station offered to pay my way through a university meteorological program, and that started me down the path.
I met Mrs. Hale, a year after I started in TV. She's a fourth generation Texan, so we were married in Anderson, Texas.
We were both hired on at WLEX-TV in Lexington, Kentucky, where I was the morning meteorologist and she was my boss. It wasn't a problem since we'd already been together a few years, and I was used to her running the show.
It wasn't long before our son Quentin was born and we had a family.
The urge to gain experience in large market TV drew me to Kansas City, where I learned more about weather and television than I ever thought possible.
However, I realized I wanted to return to an environment where I could have more elbow room and be free to express myself.
In 1999, I got a call to be the chief meteorologist for KGBT. After a quick check of the map, I knew we were heading to Texas.
In 2002 our daughter Camryn came into this world as a fifth generation Texan. Mrs. Hale says she is me in female form.
Both my children make me smile, but Camryn makes me laugh out loud when she plays her tiny tuba or drives her tiny sports car at the speed of light. Quentin graduated from UT with honors and is now a law student at the University of Houston while his sister is ranked near the top of her high school class.
A few years ago I decided to challenge my brain and go for the new American Meteorological Society's Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval. I don't mind telling you I was scared. Six months of study for a test that encompassed almost all of the science of meteorology, and I passed it with room to spare. I have to thank my wife for that. She pushed me very hard to get the new seal.
I have had the opportunity to add several extreme weather events to my resume including the Christmas Eve snow of '04 and Hurricane Dolly in '08.
Mostly recently KGBT, or maybe it was Santa, brought me all new weather computers and a new weather center and I have not stopped learning since. The latest and greatest weather system is at my fingertips and I admit I love it.
The opportunities don't stop and neither do we. We are going to keep growing, and we are going to keep improving the Storm Tracker 4 Weather Center by bringing in the latest technology and continuing to make our weather team what it is: Best in the Valley!