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NAB Show NY: Talk About the Weather: Ginger Zee, Gordon Smith Open Up Show

NAB Show New York got rolling with Gordon Smith, NAB president and CEO, sitting with Ginger Zee, ABC News chief meteorologist, to chat about weather at the Javits Center. Zee mentioned her childhood in Grand Rapids, following her birth in Orange County. “I would not have fallen in love with weather, as I did, if I’d stayed in Southern California,” she said.

She mentions watching the 1996 film Twister, and Helen Hunt's storm-chaser character, and saying, “THAT is what I want to be.”

Discussing the television industry’s transformation from weather girls to seasoned meteorologists, Zee spoke about studying meteorology at Valparaiso University in Indiana. “There is no nerdier club than the storm-chasing club,” she said, “and I was head of it.”

Smith asked about the use of augmented reality in weather reports. Zee showed an example of a detailed flood report in Michigan using Google Earth. “It really gives us the opportunity to teach and to educate about weather,” she said.

Zee also mentioned pushing ABC News bosses to let her focus more on the storm before the storm than after, thinking that would do more to help citizens in harm’s way. Geotargeting helps deliver weather news to the street level. “I think we’ve gotten much better at doing that,” said Zee.

Zee, who appears on Good Morning America, said her day starts around 3:45 a.m. “I slept this morning until 4,” she quipped.

Smith asked about climate change, noting how it’s become, “regrettably,” a partisan issue.

“There’s no debate,” said Zee. “It’s just, our climate is changing, and we have influenced that change.”

Zee said citizens can take a close look at what they have for breakfast every morning and how it ties in to the environment. “Where did it come from, how long did it take to get to you,” she said.

Smith teased Zee about her appearance on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. She quipped that weather and ballroom dancing are not dissimilar. “There’s a lot of centrifugal force in a lot of those dances,” she said. “A lot of gravity.”

Zee said her weather delivery improved after she appearance on Dancing with the Stars. She described taking voice and acting classes to improve her on-air performance. “Meteorology is a third of what I do,” she said. “I’m a performer. I’m an entertainer.”