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Meteorologist Josh Classen shares advice for TV students at NAIT

By Nora Mohamad on April 12, 2023

Josh Classen is the Meteorologist at CTV Edmonton and an alumni of NAIT’s Radio and Television program.

He grew up in Lloydminster and spent time at TV stations in Lloydminster, Saskatoon and Toronto before joining CTV in Edmonton. He publishes a written forecast for Edmonton and Area’s weather every weekday morning and broadcasts weather in the afternoon.

Classen shares about his career, his journey to becoming a Meteorologist, and some advice for students looking into a career in weather and moving on to placement.

Q: What is a day-in-the-life of a Meteorologist like?

A: My day starts at about 5:30 in the morning. I get up, I go sit in front of my computers at home and stare at computer maps and models of the atmosphere and try to put together my forecast. I spend about an hour, an hour and a half on the forecast trying to figure out what’s going on and then because I’m also a broadcast meteorologist, I not only have to figure out the forecast I’ve got to then build all my graphics during the course of the day. So I do a lot of work from home in the morning, and then I’ll come in the afternoon, make sure all my graphics are ready, then go on TV and talk about it.

Q: How did you become a Meteorologist?

A: Oh, I started doing the weather on TV a long time ago, and I didn’t know anything about the weather. We would call the weather office, and they would just tell me what to say, and then I figured I should probably learn what I was talking about on TV. So I went back to school, and I got my Meteorology degree at Mississippi State University and graduated from that almost 20 years ago, just after I started here in Edmonton.

Q: After graduating from the Radio and Television program, how did you decide to move on to Meteorology?

A: I lucked into it! I wanted to be a sportscaster, and my boss at my first job I was doing news reporting, and he knew I wanted to do sports, and he said, “well, listen, I don’t have a sports job for you, but take this weather job, and that’ll give you some on-air experience, and when there’s a sports job open, then you can have the sports job.” And then the sports job came open, and I didn’t want to do it because I enjoyed doing the weather so much So it wasn’t something I really planned on doing; it just kind of fell into my lap.

Q: How did you know that forecasting the weather is the career for you?

A: I just lucked into it! Like I said, I didn’t plan on this. I wasn’t a kid that grew up loving the weather. Once I started doing it, I was fascinated by it. And I really love this part of the newscast as well because you just get to be yourself.

Q: What advice do you have for someone interested in going into weather as a career?

A: I think there are so many different avenues you can go into in weather that getting a Meteorology degree is never a bad thing, so my first step would be to get your Meteorology degree, and then if you want to get into broadcasting, you can transition into broadcasting afterwards as opposed to going into broadcasting and then trying to get a job doing weather and trying to get your Meteorology degree afterwards. So I think if you get the weather part done first, then transition into broadcasting, that’s probably the better path to go. And plus, that will open up so many doors too. Maybe you don’t end up in broadcasting, maybe you end up doing something else.

Q: What advice do you have for someone moving on to placement?

A: I think the most important thing is just to be open-minded about where you’re going to have to go. I know a lot of people like to stay in Edmonton, and there are lots of people who stay in Edmonton and manage to get their way into positions in the local market. If you can go to a small market, then you’ll get to do a lot more. You’ll get a lot more experience. I mean, I never would’ve been given the opportunity to suddenly one day do the weather if I had interned here as opposed to interning in Lloydminster years ago. So it really depends on what you want to do and what career path you want to go down. But I always encourage people to check out those smaller markets.

Classen also does rapping, supports charities, and visits Grade 5 classes in and around Edmonton to teach them about the weather.



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