The Department of Psychological Science was proud to welcome WSOC-TV's meteorologist, John Ahrens, to our campus today. He came to guest lecture in the Psychology of Acting senior capstone course (PSYC 4007). John talked to students about life as a TV celebrity, what it is like to "act" on live TV, how he handles different weather situations, and what he does with the daily ratings he receives. Some interesting facts we learned today:
- John is a well-known meteorologist in the Charlotte area. However, his background is in Communications. He knew as a small child that he wanted to be a news anchor. Transitioning to a meteorologist occurred later in his schooling.
- Most TV news anchors read from a script. The meteorology team, however, mostly improvises their segments with only a few pre-written sound bites at the end.
- TV news anchors and meteorologists start each work day reviewing performance data from the previous day. Can you imagine starting each day by going over your performance reviews?!
- John recognizes that many viewers are using alternatives to TV to consume news and weather information. He and his team at WSOC-TV have been actively using social media outlets to deliver news/weather content and encourage social media viewers to also get additional information from the TV broadcasts.
- John also has a background in theater. He says it helps him a lot when he has to go on air and "improvise". (John also does a fantastic Frank Sinatra impression!)
- John also talked about life as a TV personality. He says he finds it fascinating interacting with people who "love" vs. "hate" his work. He has also seen huge gender differences in how the audience treats TV personalities. (We gave him a little psychology lesson on this!)
From all of us in the Psychological Science Department, thank you John Ahrens and WSOC-TV. We appreciate you!