What I Would Say to Sam Champion

I was surprised last Monday when Sam Champion announced he was leaving Good Morning America to be the managing editor and host of his own show at The Weather Channel. There are very few people in the public eye for whom I am a “fangirl,” and Sam is one of the few. A blog post is the only thing I can think to give to someone who probably has pretty much everything he needs; a goodbye post was the only thing I could think to give my friend (and Sam’s fellow weather person) Sean Parker when he left little ol’ Tallahassee to move on to the bigger market of Memphis. Now it’s Sam’s turn.

One of my recurring “dream moments” has not to do with being in a throng of people in Times Square and getting a zillionth of a second with Sam; I would love to walk a mile with Sam and his husband, Rubem, with each of us dedicating our mile to a Charity Miles cause (just putting that out there, universe, okay?!). Not a big publicity thing, but a chance to get to know two people who are passionate about what they do and passionate about one another. If I got that fifteen minutes, here is what I would say by way of “goodbye to your GMA presence.”

You have been a “weather person” in my life for longer than your time at GMA. When I lived in New York City from 1989-1992, you were on WABC and I had a second job typing transcripts of tv news, so I saw a lot of you then. I also think it’s cool that your career trajectory took you through my hometown of Jacksonville, FL; my parents were so proud to announce that you had moved on to New York City. I have been a GMA viewer for as long as I can remember. Watching GMA is as much a habit for me as making the coffee and brushing my teeth in the mornings (and yes, I recognize this presents a conflict once you’re at The Weather Channel … I’ll figure something out!). Over the last few years, you have made every morning just a little bit better, between providing weather information (for obvious reasons I loved any time you mentioned Tallahassee!), feeding off the audience’s energy and making everyone feel welcome, and letting us into your non-weather-related life a little bit at a time.

Once you established a Twitter presence, though, things really got fun! As a viewer, I appreciate how much you interacted with us (and specifically with me!). A retweet from you was always a day maker, especially when you retweeted something that referred to a favorite cause (like you did with the picture I shared on Autism Awareness Day). I watched an interview (I think on the Queen Latifah show (?)) in which you said your “real” career dream was to be an international correspondent, that weather wasn’t necessarily your first choice or dream. Given that you felt that way, I’d say you’ve done pretty well with something that wasn’t Plan A — it’s nice to know that someone who seems so confident, polished, and accomplished struggles with the same questions as all of us. Speaking of questions, I saved a screen print of a tweet that I thought summed up a lot of what you have meant to us viewers. I think the original tweeter had asked why it mattered that Jason Collins made a public announcement about being gay. You could have ignored, evaded, or in some other way taken it personally. But your answer, “you just get to live without questions,” was explanatory, self-disclosing, and compassionate to the original asker: Sam Without Questions Tweet By the time I got through all of this, I am sure our fifteen minutes would be up. I just hope you know you mattered, to me and undoubtedly to many millions of viewers who needed a friendly face, an idea of which way the winds would be blowing, and a hearty unique laugh with which to start the day.

Anthony J. D’Angelo said, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” You won’t be on GMA anymore, but this viewer will be looking for your sunshine on The Weather Channel. You’ve spent years proving that the sunshine will always be there and that #itsamazingoutthere.

edited sams sunrise



Forecast: Memphis to Become Hot Spot of Compelling Weather Television

My Facebook acquaintance Kathy Caprino wrote a moving, poignant post today in memory of her dad. In closing, she said:

This Memorial Day weekend, I’d ask you to bring to mind someone who has shaped your life positively. Let’s remember those who brought happiness and positivity into our world. Write a blog post about it, share a Facebook post, and shine a light on their lessons.

It was just the opening I needed for my good-bye to Sean Parker, Jessica, and Carter (the dog-who-is-so-much-more-than-a-dog). Apparently begging, pleading, and not-so-subtly Facebook aggravating by repeatedly exhorting: NO! PLEASE DON’T GO! did not change their plans to move to Memphis, where Sean has a reporting/weather opportunity at ABC Affiliate WPTY-24.

By way of good-bye (for now), five comments in tribute:

  • Loving What You Do Ever since I read, a long time ago, the book “Do What You Love and The Money Will Follow,” I have been asking myself every day how to accomplish that. Mortgages and various complications (so far) keep me from dropping everything and “doing what I love” but I’m positive Sean loves weather. Good thing Jessica does too because I am pretty sure that something like this would be (maybe?) considered riveting by these two:
A Riveting 30 Hour Forecast Map

A Riveting 30 Hour Forecast Map

  • Making Complete Sentences at 5 A.M. Isn’t For Everyone Two summers ago, when I started getting up earlier and earlier to fit in my run before work, I began paying a little more attention to the early morning weather. Then somewhere along the line I started tweeting the early morning team at WTXL, especially Sean and more recently Big Moose, and even MORE recently, Abbey Maurer when she finally gave in to the twenthusiasm and began tweeting. When you’re laying in bed at 5 a.m. and decide not to hit snooze and catch another 15 minutes of sleep because you are that excited to have a little twitter exchange with the news/weather/traffic team, you’re probably onto something pretty special.
  • I Pay Attention To The Weather Now I guess I always “paid attention” to the weather and lord knows we all complain about it when it’s not what we want. Runners especially get a little compulsive about weather predictions; we don’t want to get caught 4 miles out without rain gear (or gloves …. or a hat …. or [insert perfect weather-related running item here]). But Sean has given me a new appreciation for the role of weather in our lives, and how beautiful (and cruel and capricious) it can be.  I may have taken it a little far ….. looking at every sky thinking “I wonder if I should tweet a picture of this to Sean,” writing things in the ice on my windshield like “Not Juneuary” instead of just de-icing the thing and driving to work.
Paula freezes her finger off to try to get a little air time on WTXL.

Paula freezes her finger off to try to get a little air time on WTXL.

  • The Tweeting Oh, the tweeting. I’ve referred to it already, but if you ever wonder what Sean is doing when he’s not on camera, it’s likely it involves one of four computers. Updating Storm Team details, staying up with minute-by-minute changes in the weather, updating the Storm Team’s Facebook page, and tweeting. If I never tweet again, I will die a happy twitter death having had this Twitter exchange between me, Sean, and Sam Champion.


  • Compelling Weather Television Doesn’t Get This Way Without A Lot Of Work Sean used the phrase “compelling weather television” the other day. It isn’t easy to create (in my opinion). I have appreciated the little insight I have gotten into the joys and challenges of being in the public eye. Not sure I would be as patient with people who quibble with my word choice (ahem), who have opinions on the hypothetical messages behind clothing and other personal choices. I think Sean has navigated these waters beautifully.

So there you have it. I appreciate so much about what you have brought to our community, Sean. I am glad that you, Jessica, and I had the opportunity to become friends and share some running memories together.


Michelle, Jessica, Sean, Me, Adrea, Sara at the Gate River Run 2013

I forecast a divergence in the winds of Compelling Weather Television, starting this Friday (Sean’s last day). I’m a little in the doldrums about it, but I’m very happy that the extended outlook for Sean, Jessica, and Carter is much success and happiness ahead.

thank you on sky

If you are a Tallahassee viewer and want to tell Sean goodbye, email the station at abc27news@wtxl.tv, tweet Sean himself (@seanmparker) or visit his Facebook Page. Do it this week; his last day is Friday May 31!


2012 => 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

2012 => 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

I have fallen out of the habit of responding to Mama Kat prompts. Surprisingly, no search party or anything was sent to make sure I had not fallen into blogging oblivion. Oh well. Her prompts this week are irresistible and, plus, I have already written posts that sort of respond to them. Easy peasy.

For instance, number 1:  Instead of a resolution, some people choose a theme word to live by for the year. Choose a word for 2013 and tell us why you chose it. I didn’t know I even had a word until I went to write a “closing out 2012” post last night. A few hundred words later, I did have a worddirection. You can read about it here.

Number 2 is:  Share any blogging tips you picked up in 2012. I picked this one up before 2012, but the best piece of advice I was given was from Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy. He advised me to “make a date with the page.” Pick a periodicity: twice a week, weekly, every 2nd and 4th Tuesday, every month. Write then, whether you feel like it or not. I don’t think I have missed a Sunday blog in about three years. In addition, I finally switched from BlogSpot to WordPress. That was a long overdue move and it has definitely had benefits.

Number 3 is:   Do you “favorite” tweets you love? Share your favorite tweets from 2012. I do favorite tweets. I have finally given in to favoriting tweets to sort of “like” them as I would on Facebook. That means I do a lot more favoriting than I used to. But my all time favorite is the sequence below. Not to give him a big head or anything, but I think our local meteorologist, Sean Parker, rocks and I always try to give him a Twitter shout-out. So when he tweeted about a local traffic situation only miles away from me, I said, “I’ll never get this kind of personalized news from @samchampion.” (And it’s important to note that I am a HUGE Sam fan; I was just trying to point out the benefits of local news presence.) As you can see below, Sam took exception to that:

2012 => 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

And I have been happy ever since. 🙂

Prompt #4 was: “Resolutions. Love’em? Hate’em? Tell us why. Make one?  Talk about your resolutions or goals for 2013.” Mainly, I still want to achieve my 2012 (and 2011…and 2010) goal of running a 5K in less than 30 minutes. This will be the year.

Lastly, prompt #5 was:  Share your top 10 favorite quotes from your kids in 2012. I have teenagers, so I got nothin’ here. Except this gem that was tweeted by my 16 year old daughter this fall. I can’t find the actual tweet, and she may not know I saw it, but I did. Oh yes I did. And memorized it:

“My parents made me the awkward child I am today, and I don’t know if I can ever forgive them. #SorryNotSorry”

These are the kinds of tweets that could make Sean and/or Sam predict stormy weather ahead……….

 2012 => 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)