The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore still driven by passion after 30 years

Jim Cantore in August, 2016 at "AMHQ." CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

Jim Cantore in August, 2016 at “AMHQ.” CREDIT: Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Sunday, September 4,, 2016

When Jim Cantore is in studio and the weather is calm, he brings The Weather Channel a gravitas, an intensely focused font of information.

But get him on the road in the middle of a storm – say Hurricane Hermine – and the Weather Fan Boy is unleashed.  Viewers feed off his energy, his urgency, his adrenaline. Over 30 years at the Atlanta-based operation, that level of passion has not changed – even if his hair line has.

“In the heat of the battle, you don’t want anyone else but him,” said Howard Sappington, vice president for programming for the Weather Channel. “I’ve been in some crazy storms. He’s a rock.”

Cantore himself is gratified he has made it this far doing something he truly loves: “It’s very rewarding and satisfying to get up in the morning, to put your clothes on, whether it’s your field clothes, my blue jacket and rain paints or a suit and tie. It’s a wonderful feeling when you have purpose like that.”

Staffers at the station just call him Cantore. “It distinguishes him,” said said co-host Stephanie Abrams. “A lot of people are named Jim. It’s like Oprah or Madonna. It’s just Cantore. He has one name. That’s all you need!”  

Cantore, who once had a full head of hair when he came to the network in 1986, shaved his head around the time of Hurricane Katrina. Recently, he has added a salt-and-pepper beard. Sappington teased him: “You look like Old Man Winter!”

But Cantore likes it:  “I like having a place I can grow hair again!”

Read my full interview with him here on myajc.com for those who are kind enough to pay for our service (though you can sample as well if you haven’t clicked on too many stories yet this month.).

Learn how he adjusted to the South from his New England roots, what his worst meal was while covering Katrina, what he thought of Snow Jam 2014 and his feelings about Facebook Live.


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