"You can become an expert in your field if you completely immerse yourself in it."
20 Years as a Broadcaster
Rob's career as a broadcast meteorologist spanned the course of 20 years. From chasing tornadoes to predicting heavy lake effect snow, Rob traveled from one end of the country to the other - gradually building on his expertise as a forecaster. Rob noticed early in his career, "You can become an expert in your field if you completely immerse yourself in it." After graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, Rob took advantage of living in heart of 'tornado alley' and became a storm chaser - first, as an intern with KFOR in Oklahoma City and then as a weekend Meteorologist for KFDX in Wichita Falls, TX.
"I learned how tornadoes behave..."
"I chased any and every time I could - even once in a helicopter." Rob gained valuable knowledge and experience while working in the field as a chaser, relaying the warnings on TV as a broadcaster and while working for the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma. "I learned how tornadoes behave by watching them in person, while chasing, and by tracking them back at the TV station."
From Tornadoes to Blizzards
"I wasn't going to grow as a forecaster unless..."
In 1995, Rob decided that he wanted to broaden his expertise to snow forecasting. "It was difficult to get much 'hands on' experience as a winter weather forecaster in North Texas. We would only get one or two small snowfalls a season. I wasn't going to grow as a forecaster unless I moved to one of the snowiest spots in the United States - northern Michigan." In Rob's first year living in northern Michigan, the area experienced record snowfall with over 200 inches. The annual snowfall record was broken the following season as well. Rob refers to the move as a "two for one" as he gained insights from both forecasting snow storms and lake effect snow. "Those are two really different types of weather phenomena - one has to do with a storm or weather system, while the other is a product of very cold air moving across the 'relatively warmer' Great Lakes. In short, if those large bodies of water didn't exist or were completely frozen, instead of receiving a foot of snow we would have had sunny skies." Rob continued to work as a television Meteorologist across the state of Michigan for the next four years working in Traverse City and Detroit.
New England and Tennessee
In 1999 Rob took a break from broadcasting, moved to southern New Hampshire and worked as a Meteorologist for WSI, a weather services company. Rob didn't wander too far from broadcasting. His main responsibility with WSI included training other TV Meteorologists across the country to build their weather graphics with the latest state-of-the-art software.
"I didn't have to be on television to grow as a Meteorologist. It was a perfect opportunity to travel around the country, work with and learn from some of the country's top forecasters."
Rob did eventually move back into broadcasting with what would be his longest and final run as a television Meteorologist. In 2001, Rob moved to the Tri-Cities and gradually became known as the 'weather authority' for the area. His viewing area included much of east Tennessee, southwest Virginia and western North Carolina. "I don't think I ever could have imagined forecasting for such a large region. There were times when we had to forecast thunderstorms and possible flooding in one part of our area while forecasting up to a foot on snow in another."
"Now that was a great honor ..."
As the morning Meteorologist with WJHL for 12 years, Rob held the position longer than any other meteorologist with the history of the TV station. In 2013, Rob was voted favorite Meteorologist for the Tri-Cities by readers of the Elizabethton Star. "Now that was a great honor! To win the award over other Meteorologists that had been here much longer. I knew I was doing something right." However, despite all the positive aspects of Rob's broadcasting career, there was an underlying change in television news that was happening and couldn't be ignored. "It was amazing how quickly technology was changing through the 2000's, especially after the iPhone came out - that was a game changer." Rob noticed the trend toward web based forecasts, smart phones apps and social media. Television rating's trends across the country confirmed the change too, with an increasing number of people getting their weather information online or from their smartphones. "You just don't need to watch the weather on television anymore when you can get a tailored forecast or severe weather warnings delivered straight to you."
In 2013, Rob decided to follow the trend and left broadcast television. Rob kept his viewers and followers updated through social media, like Facebook and Twitter, always putting out the early warning for big storms. "I probably reached more people through Facebook than I did on television. It helped me realize that everyone needs their own specific forecast - on demand - so that's what I am providing, especially through my Premium Member Forecast." In 2015, Rob's Forecast was launched, an all-in-one website with:
- Radar Images
- Local and Extended Forecasts
- Storm Warnings
- Premium Member Forecast
- Event and Travel Forecasts
- Live Air Traffic Views
- Social Media updates
- Photo Gallery
- Weather Making News
"I look forward to providing you with as much weather information as I can at no cost to you. I also provide forecasts that are much more detailed for those who subscribe to my Premium Member Forecast. Please click here for more details on what my premium members receive. I also provide specific day forecasts for events like weddings, outdoor parties and travel. I look forward to keeping you updated on everything weather!" Sincerely, Rob Batot
Rob lives in Johnson City, TN and is also a managing owner and founder of Sensational Seasonings, a manufacturer of healthy, low-salt seasonings.