More On The Seal

Tonight on the news, right next to my name was the American Meteorological Society’s Broadcast Seal of Approval.

It was actually cooler than I thought it would be. Is this ridiculous?

Let me explain. The seal’s purpose has, in my eyes, changed over time – not necessarily for the good.

Originally, the AMS Broadcast Seal of Approval was given to anyone who showed their broadcast was based on sound scientific principles. I’m sure the wording was a little different, but that was the gist.

About 20 minutes after I started doing the weather in Buffalo, that changed. In order to get the seal you needed to be a meteorologist. For most people, mature in their careers, that was a real sticking point.

Of course, necessity is the mother of invention – and so the distance learning course from Mississippi State was born. Three years, nine semesters, 53 credits and you too can be a meteorologist, all while in your pj’s!

I took the MSU course and immediately found adult Geoff was different than kid Geoff. I’m not sure why, but the passing grade for me became “A.” It’s ridiculous, because no one really cared whether I finish with honors (I did) or by the skin of my teeth. But, 55 is not 18! I was a motivated student.

I finished MSU last summer and almost immediately started getting my act together for the seal. In order to apply, you have to send airchecks from three consecutive day’s broadcasts to a panel of AMS certified broadcast meteorologists.

The panel is very critical (or so I’ve been told). No bit of minutiae is too small to get by. I haven’t received their comments, but word on the street is, they’re always somewhat brutal – pass or fail.

I sent my material to the judges in the beginning of November 2005. That I need to post the year gives you an idea of how ponderous this process is. I received word today – though if I had waited like the patient guy I’m supposed to be, word wouldn’t come for another week or two.

Why does it take over six months? I’ve not a clue. There’s nothing in the process that should take so long. Each member of the panel got his/her own individual copy of my airchecks.

More importantly, isn’t it in the public’s best interest for the AMS to do this quickly? If this is to tell the public someone’s got the goods, why wait?

There is some frustration on my part and I intend to find out why it takes so long.

So, what does this seal certify? From the American Meteorological Society’s website:

the stated goals of the program will be to ensure that meteorologists who hold the Seal of Approval exhibit scientific competence and effective communication skills in their weather forecasts.

In other words, I’m not longer just a schlemiel giving the weather. I’m an actual meteorologist whose scientific competence has been established. Wow.

My mom said she was proud. My wife complimented me on the accomplishment. I’m pretty happy myself.