TV weather forecasters are on-air personalities who are trained in the field of meteorology. A local TV meteorologist’s academic training typically includes an advanced degree from a program rooted in math and science, but one in which they are trained in on-air communication techniques as well.
A local TV meteorologist is a job that requires a unique personality as one must be able to analyze complex computer models while delivering in-depth information about current and future weather forecasts – sometimes during potentially dangerous storms or weather events. A local meteorological forecast is designed to be received by a broad and diverse audience, including a boatload of social media followers and fans.
In addition, local weather forecasters also participate in community events to help build a following and cultivate viewership for their particular station. So, they may visit local schools and talk with those students who have an interest in weather, climate, and other related disciplines.
If you have an interest in pursuing a career related to the world of broadcast meteorology, pay attention to those who have already made it to the top and have paved the way a bit for the next generation of on-air meteorological personalities.
How We Compiled the List?
Compiling a list of the highest-paid local TV meteorologists included these steps -
STEP #1 – Our research began with a review of the federal government’s online employment and salary data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies local TV meteorologists within the broader category of Atmospheric and Space Scientists – those professionals who are responsible for measuring, investigating, interpreting, and forecasting on–
- Air pressure.
- Other atmospheric properties
According to the latest available data from the BLS, there were 9,900 atmospheric/space scientists working in the United States in May 2022. The median annual salary for Atmospheric and Space Scientists was $83,780, which translates to $40.28/hour.
STEP #2 – Narrowing down our research, the federal data revealed that approximately 1,000 atmospheric scientists work in the radio or television broadcast station industry, which happens to have the highest employment concentration for Atmospheric and Space Scientists of any specific industry.
Salaries for broadcast meteorologists can vary significantly depending on the television market size, location, and the professional’s experience and overall popularity/following.
It is noted that the median salary for atmospheric scientists working in the TV or radio broadcast industry was more than 8% higher, or $91,020/year. The top-paying states for this occupation include Massachusetts, Washington DC, New Jersey, Virginia, and Oklahoma.
This is further corroborated by ZipRecruiter, who notes that the average yearly salary for a TV meteorologist in October 2023 was $95,545, with a range from $32,000 to $117,000.
STEP #3– According to Nielsen, there are 210 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) in the U.S.
The highest-paid meteorologists in local TV are typically found in major television marketplaces like New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, and other large cities. Generally speaking, the larger the TV or radio market, the higher the salary because larger markets command higher advertising revenues.
To discover the highest-paid meteorologist on local TV, we scoured relevant news sources, professional associations, and industry data sites that include –
- Professional Associations –
- The American Meteorological Society.
- The National Weather Association.
- Salary/Employment Industry Websites –
Here are the 10 Highest-Paid Meteorologists on Local TV
The highest-paid meteorologists in local TV are found in some of the largest American TV markets.
10. Kent Erhardt
- TV station – KMOV 4 St. Louis, MO.
- Salary – $80,000 per year as the chief meteorologist.
- Education – Missouri State University – Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications. Meteorological and science degrees from Lyndon State College, Portland State University, and Palm Beach Community College.
- Experience – Joined KMOV in 1998 after working in West Palm Beach, delivering the South Florida forecasts across multiple outlets.
- Net worth – estimated to be $5 million.
- Notable Achievements – Honored as best weathercast multiple times by the Missouri Broadcasters Association. Ehrhardt has been named the American Lung Association of Eastern Missouri’s (ALAEM) Official Meteorologist.
Kent Ehrhardt was born in St Louis in 1956. He is a well-known American meteorologist and journalist who is widely recognized for his professional expertise in severe weather. While working in South Florida, his career highlights include round-the-clock meteorological coverage of ½ dozen hurricanes – including some of the strongest to hit the Sunshine State. For his professional meteorological work, Ehrhardt has earned the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society Seals Of Approval.
Kent has had the honor of serving as a board member of the National Weather Association and was named its member of the year in 1995.
9. Pete Delkus
- TV station – WFAA – Dallas, TX.
- Salary – $81,785 per year as the Chief Meteorologist.
- Education – Southern Illinois University Edwardsville – Bachelor of Science in TV, Radio Film, and Mississippi State University for graduate meteorological coursework.
- Experience – Joined WFAA nearly two decades ago after working in Cincinnati and Orlando.
- Net worth – $2.7 million.
- Notable Achievements – Has won 19 Emmy Awards as an outstanding weather forecaster/anchor and has won the AP’s best weathercast in Texas four times.
Peter Delkus, who was born in Centreville, Illinois, is a well-known and beloved broadcast meteorologist who has been forecasting the greater Dallas weather for nearly two decades. He currently lives with his family in Plano, a Dallas suburb. Peter is a member of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society and has received a seal of approval from both professional organizations.
Delkus also has outstanding athletic abilities, having been an All-American pitcher who has even made an appearance in the College World Series. In fact, Peter Delkus still holds several pitching records, still standing at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville from his days as a starting collegiate athlete. Delkus even signed with the Minnesota Twins as a free agent in 1987 and earned the honor of the Minnesota Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 1989, playing triple-A ball in Orlando.
8. Kristen Cornett
- TV station – KMOV – St. Louis, MO.
- Salary – approximately $100,000 per year.
- Education – the University of Kentucky and Mississippi State University – Bachelor of Science in GeoScience with a concentration in Meteorology.
- Experience – in 2007, joined the First Alert Weather Team after working in Alabama and Kentucky.
- Net worth – estimated to be $1 million.
- Notable Achievements – She earned the Seal Of Approval from The American Meteorological Society and is a member of the National Weather Association.
Kristen Cornett was born in 1974. She was adopted and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Kristen Cornett is a veteran American broadcaster and meteorologist who has been delivering the weather forecast in St. Louis for the past fifteen years. Kristen is married, and she lives with her family in Missouri. Kristen Cornett officially became a National Weather Association member in 1999 and continues to contribute to the greater St. Louis broadcast community.
7. Cindy Fitzgibbon
- TV station – WCVB - 5 Boston, MA.
- Salary – estimated at over $100,000 per year as Chief Meteorologist & Weather Anchor.
- Education – Lyndon State College (now known as Northern Vermont University) - Bachelor of Science in Meteorology.
- Experience – Joined WCVB in 2013 – has more than 25 years of meteorological experience – two decades of professional experience working in Bean Town.
- Net worth – $1 – 2 million.
- Notable Achievements – Awarded the American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval for Television and the Associated Press Award for Best Weathercast. Cindy Fitzgibbon has also won the 2017 regional Emmy for outstanding weather broadcasting.
Cindy Fitzgibbon was raised in New England – Portland, Maine, although she was born in Virginia in 1978. Cindy currently lives with her family outside of Boston in Natick, MA. Cindy Fitzgibbon is a member of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.
Cindy has also made a professional guest appearance on Good Morning America and ABC’s World News Tonight. She also donates her time to raise funds for local organizations in the greater Boston area and her home community.
6. John Morales
- TV station – NBC 6 – Miami, FL.
- Salary – estimated at $100,000+ per year as a Certified Broadcaster/Chief Meteorologist.
- Education – Cornell University – Atmospheric Sciences – where he won the school’s weather forecasting contest.
- Experience – Joined NBC 6 in 2009.
- Net worth – estimated to be approximately $800,000.
- Notable Achievements – John earned the 2007 American Meteorological Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advance of Applied Meteorology. John Morales is one of only several professional weather presenters who have been honored as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.
John Morales, who was born in upstate New York and raised in Puerto Rico, is recognized as the longest-tenured broadcasting meteorologist in the greater South Florida area. Before starting a career in the Miami area, John attended the prestigious Cornell University, where he was a part of the Cornell rowing crew. He now lives in Coconut Grove, Florida, with his wife Carmen.
John’s first television job was with Miami’s Univision, where he worked for more than a decade until he moved on to Telemundo 51 in Miami and then onto NBC6. John’s tropical weather acumen has guided South Florida residents/viewers through many storms and hurricanes – and he even was recognized by earning the John Coleman Broadcast Award at the National Tropical Weather Conference for the work done during the 2017 season. John is the president and founder of ClimaData Corporation and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists editorial fellow since 2021.
5. David Chandley
- TV station – FOX 5 – Atlanta, GA.
- Salary – $106,700 per year as a Chief Meteorologist.
- Education – The University of Georgia – Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, plus his Broadcast Meteorology Certificate from Mississippi State University in 1989.
- Experience – Joined Fox 5 in 2015 after working at many stations across the state of Georgia.
- Net worth – $3 million.
- Notable Achievements – has earned 11 Southeastern Emmy awards as well as 13 Associate Press awards for best weather reporting.
David Chandley is a prominent broadcast meteorologist in the greater Atlanta area who is also certified by the American Meteorological Association. David and his family live in Brookhaven, Georgia. David Chandley holds the CBM (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) designation from the American Meteorological Society, which is the association’s most elite mark of professional distinction. While studying at the University of Georgia, David Chandley participated as a student trainer and a member of the National Championship Football team in 1980.
4. Janice Huff
- TV station – WNBC – New York, NY.
- Salary – estimated at $150,000 - $225,000 per year.
- Education – Florida State University - Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology - a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
- Experience – Joined WNBC for Today in New York in 1995 after working in Georgia, Missouri, and California.
- Net worth – $6 million.
- Notable Achievements – awarded the AMS Seal of Approval for Television Broadcasting. Huff has contributed her voice as the meteorologist (Stormy Gale) on PBS’s Cyberchase.
Janice Huff was born in New York City and was raised in South Carolina, where she graduated with honors from Eau Clair High School. Janice also won the Miss Shamrock contest in 1978 and spent some of her high school career as a Varsity Cheerleader. Janice now lives with her family outside NYC in Denville, New Jersey. Janice is a Fellow of the AMS and has been inducted into New York State’s Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
Early in her career, Janice introduced a nationally syndicated show in the San Francisco area that promoted weather education with an emphasis on meteorological science. In 2015, Janice was awarded Montclair State University’s prestigious Dumont Broadcaster of the Year award.
3. Dallas Raines
- TV station – KABC - Los Angeles, CA.
- Salary – estimated at $500,000 per year.
- Education – Florida State University – Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism and Earth Science with a concentration in meteorology. He was also a walk-on quarterback for the school’s football team.
- Experience – Joined KABC in 1984 after a stint with CNN.
- Net worth – $3 – 4 million
- Notable Achievements – Awarded the Daily News’ People Choice Award for the Best Weatherperson. Dallas has also been awarded the Golden Mike Award by the AP.
Dallas Raines is among the most recognizable of the West Coast’s broadcast meteorologists, best known for how he moves during his forecast – creating the famous Dallas Dip, the Fist Pump, and the Swirl, etc. Dallas Raines has been awarded the Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society and has also received the prestigious Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal (CBM) from The American Meteorological Society.
Dallas has also taught weather coursework for California State University’s geography department, and he is considered a philanthropist who concentrates on improving the welfare of children. Raines has authored several weather/climate-related children’s books – for example - Chester and the Hot Air Balloon.
2. Tom Skilling
- TV station – WGN – Chicago., IL
- Salary – $1 million per year.
- Education – the University of Wisconsin, Madison – Bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Meteorology. In 1995, he received an Honorary Humanities Doctorate from Lewis University.
- Experience – By 1975, Tom had become Milwaukee’s lead forecaster. He joined the WGN weather team in 1978 but has plans to retire in 2024.
- Net worth – $15 million.
- Notable Achievements – Skilling was a consultant for the 2005 comedic movie – The Weather Man.
Thomas Skilling III is a well-known American TV meteorologist who was born in Aurora, Illinois. He currently lives on Chicago’s far north side overlooking the lake. While he began his broadcast career at 14, working at a local radio station, by 18, he knew he wanted to be a professional meteorologist. Skilling is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association.
One of Skilling’s most memorable professional achievements was predicting the Chicago area’s Groundhog Day Blizzard (with 21+ inches of snow and 60+ MPH winds) in 2011 – nearly two weeks prior to the event that essentially paralyzed the greater Chicago vicinity. Skilling admits he has astraphobia or a fear of lightning.
1. Jim Cantore
- TV station – The Weather Channel – Local Everywhere.
- Salary – $1.5 million per year as the nation’s primary on-air meteorologist.
- Education – Lyndon State College (now known as Northern Vermont University) – Bachelor of Meteorology. In 2018, Cantore was presented with an honorary doctorate from Lyndon State College.
- Experience – As one of the most recognized names/faces in weather, Jim Cantore is a certified broadcast meteorologist and AMS fellow.
- Net worth – $4.5 million (2023).
- Notable Achievements - Jim was inducted into the following-
- The National Television Academy of Arts & Sciences Silver Circle.
- The Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center Hall of Fame
- The Weather Hall of Fame at the National Weather Museum and Science Center.
James D. Cantore is a Vermont native and of Italian heritage. He now lives with his family in the Atlanta area. Jim Cantore is known as a leading weather authority and is best known for his live, often animated, reporting during the biggest weather events during the past three decades, although he does daily reports when doing live field shots. Jim Cantore is the winner of the NOAA David S. Johnson Award for innovation in using satellite technology.