Meteorologist Keith Thompson Looks back at 30 Years on Channel 3
He's been a fixture in everybody's living room for 30 years in West Michigan. He's a guy we rely on and trust for that all-important weather information, whether we're planning a weekend, or just trying to keep our families safe. Channel 3 Meteorologist Keith Thompson just marked a 30 year anniversary and stopped by the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show to talk with Tim Collins about it.
One thing that might surprise you about Keith, is that he's a big Harley-Davidson guy, and wears jeans when he's not on TV. Other than that, he's pretty much the same genuine, even-keel, friendly guy you know from Channel 3.
Thompson, a fixture on Channel 3 News, has seen a lot of anchors come and go, including Cindy Dole, Judy Markee, Lynn Emmons, Barry Shanley, and Jamie Boll. He says he has no plans to hang it up any time soon. "It's fun. It's a great gig. I don't see right now why I wouldn't want to keep doing it."
Thompson says technology has completely changed how he does his job. When he first interned in the 1980's, he worked with people using film. That gave way to video tape, and now digital video. "We used to have to slog around a video recorder and the camera man had to balance the camera on one shoulder and the recorder on the other shoulder."
And technology has dramatically changed the timeliness and accuracy of weather forecasting. "The technology has improved incredibly, which coincides with the improvements in computer technology, "said Thompson. "The models are so much better now. Back in the 90's, there was a lot more intuition that went into it. Now the models are so much more definitive and allow us to go out a little bit further with more confidence." And Thompson says he gets photos from viewers instantly that he can share with the audience immediately on TV or on social media.
He acknowledges that people have access to a lot of instant information, but he says he thinks the "personal touch" is something people still seek. "I think it's a lot better to hear somebody telling you and showing you what's going on. Yeah, you can get it on an app, but you still, I think, want that human perspective "
Thompson says the best compliment he can get as a broadcaster is when someone says 'Hey, when the storms are around I tune to you because I appreciate your calm demeanor and the fact that you're not freaking out--that you're not panicking.' After 30 years, Keith Thompson has certainly mastered that.
Does he have another 30 years in him? "I don't know if I can make it another 30. I don't know if I have that much in the tank, but there still some fuel in the tank. You know how you shake the lawn mower to see if there's still any gas in there? There's still some gas in the tank. I don't know how much but there's enough to go for a little while."