Friday, March 9, 2012

A Farewell To Scott Ryan

Scott Ryan.  Image Credit: WLTX-TV.

Almost 10 years ago Scott Ryan began broadcasting in Columbia.  During that time he became a fixture of the morning and noon shows.  His enthusiasm and colorful ties have gotten our viewers on their way each day.  Today, Friday, March 9, marks the end of Scott Ryan’s weathercasts at News19.

It is a bittersweet good-bye.  We hate to see him leave, but a wonderful opportunity awaits him.  Scott has accepted a position with WSI, which is the vendor we use to produce much of what you see on-the-air each day.  They were as impressed with Scott as we were and created a position for him.  His new duties will be to help their television clients get the most from their computers.

Scott has meant a lot to me and the television station.  First, he is a very good and conscientious meteorologist.  Secondly, he has a talent for computers and graphics.  Both have served us well.

The weather center operation became more than a one-man operation long ago.  Thus, my management style has been to let each member do what they do best and want to do.  This I learned early in my career from my boss in Oklahoma City.  Scott was interested in computer programming and graphics.

One of his early tests was to create a way from us to track our forecasts and performance.  Over time this has helped us refine our forecasts.  He also set-up a climatological database using the Columbia data which has helped us track climate changes and extreme weather.

Scott helped us manage the text alerts.  I was deeply concerned when we were informed that forecasts and warnings could be generated and sent each day as text alerts.  He saw my angst when my reply was “please tell me that you have automated the warning process.”  Can you imagine the idea of manually issuing all of the warnings while trying to update the web and be on-the-air at the same time?  Scott wrote a program that would automate the process and it was tried at some of our other Gannett stations.

It seems that things were always changing in the weather center.  A couple of years ago Gannett upgraded our graphics system to the Trueview Max system (from WSI).  This allowed us to create HD graphics even though we were not broadcasting the local news in HD at the time.  This was a major upgrade and it was at a time when I was already busy trying to get Climate Matters off the ground.  It also was at the end of severe storm season and was typically busy.  Time was in short supply for me, so I turned over the graphic development to Scott.  This was just up his alley and he came through for us.  In fact, a number of the graphics he has developed have been used by some of the other Gannett stations.

However, his most important achievement in the area of programming came after the installation of the Trueview Max.  Scott developed a program matrix that would allow us to input the forecast once and it would populate all of the forecast graphics.  This was an enormous benefit to us because it saved us a least 30 minutes worth of work instead of creating each graphic individually.  He has also created an almanac program that did the same thing.  This was a huge productivity boost and a number of Gannett stations use it.

Scott has set the standard for the morning weather position.  He has always tweaked my forecasts, but in a good way.  In addition, he has managed to keep the producers up-to-date on anticipated weather events.  This has been a big help so that the producers know what to expect when I come in to work.

A number of meteorologists at WLTX have gone on to bigger (and hopefully better) positions since I came to the station.  Darci is now our anchor and Ros Runner is doing weather for the NBC affiliate in Richmond, VA.  Todd Santos went to work for NBC WeatherPlus and is now with the Weather Channel.  Lewis Turner went to our sister stations in Jacksonville, FL, and is doing weather there.  Scott will not be on-air, but he will be involved with the broadcast clients.

We wish him and his family well.  This is a big change in his life and I know life will be unsettled for a few months.  However, I also know that he will settle in to his new position and will do well.