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CMOS Guidelines for Endorsement of Media Weathercasters

1. Purpose

The purpose of CMOS Endorsement of Media Weathercasters is to upgrade radio and television weather broadcasts. The on-air weathercaster is the principal figure presenting the weather to the public and, as the Society most closely associated with meteorology in Canada, CMOS wishes to encourage weather presentations of the highest quality. In recognition of the growing public interest in weather and weather-related phenomena, a new Weathercaster Endorsement Committee was struck in 2000 to review and assess the criteria for the evaluation of weathercasters established some years previously. Since its establishment more than forty endorsements have been granted.  Several members, mostly endorsed weathercasters of the Society, requested that the criteria be reviewed and upgraded to a higher standard than the original. As a consequence, these new guidelines reflect the need for increased scientific competence as well as effective communication skills. Ideally the Society would like to see the presentation of weather information carried out by professionally trained meteorologists with appropriate communication skills or by professional broadcasters with appropriate training in weather analysis and forecasting and in applications of meteorology and climatology.

2. Requirements

  1. An applicant may apply to become an Endorsed Weathercaster after one full year of membership in the Society.

  2. An applicant may apply for endorsement in television, radio broadcasting or both.

  3. An applicant with a university degree in meteorology, should have had courses in synoptic meteorology and forecasting, and be able to demonstrate skills in presenting weather information on television or radio.

OR

An applicant with professional training and competence in TV or radio broadcasting should have sufficient knowledge of meteorology to communicate weather and climate information and to use related graphics in a scientifically-correct manner.

OR

A combination of knowledge and skills judged to be equivalent to the above qualifications.

  1. Copies of any relevant degrees, course certificates or diplomas should accompany an application.

  2. Two letters of reference from individuals for whom the applicant has provided satisfactory meteorological services or from supervisors of previous positions held must accompany the application.

Alternative Requirements

  1. An applicant without a degree in meteorology will have to complete at least 9-12 semester hours of study in atmospheric, oceanic, or related hydrologic sciences from an accredited institution of higher learning. At least 8 of the 12 semester hours, with a minimum of two credits in each of three of the following five areas, are required:

    1. atmospheric or oceanographic dynamics;

    2. atmospheric or oceanographic thermodynamics;

    3. physical meteorology or oceanography;

    4. synoptic meteorology (or weather systems) or synoptic oceanography;

    5. hydrology.

    The core courses must include basic processes relevant to atmospheric or oceanic systems.
  2. Exceptions to these criteria may be considered by the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee. For example, the Committee might consider long-term experience as an acceptable substitute for some or all of the course requirements.

3. Examination

To assist in the evaluation of the qualifications of an applicant, he/she may be asked to sit a written examination set by the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee. The applicant is obliged to make arrangements for a suitable place for sitting the examination with a proctor. The examination papers will be sent in a sealed envelope to the proctor who shall open it in the presence of the applicant.

On completion of the examination (about one hour) the results are to be resealed in an envelope and forwarded to the Chairman of the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee or, in the case of a long-term practising weathercaster, the applicant may be required to attend an interview with members of the Endorsement Committee for further clarification of qualifications if an examination has not been taken.

4. Video or Audio Tapes or DVDs (preferred)

After acceptance of the application form and, if required, successful completion of the examination, the applicant must provide four copies of live on-air dated recordings, of two to five minutes' length, of three consecutive appearances within the previous six months. These recordings should include lead-ins and throw-backs to other on-air talent. Applicants must certify that submitted weathercasts are substantially the result of their own work.

The recordings will be reviewed under the following criteria:

Scientific Competence The evaluation of the submitted tapes is to determine whether the information is scientifically and technically valid.

Informational Value This category will be used to evaluate whether the candidate has given the audience sufficient information about recent, current, and anticipated weather conditions locally and nationally.

Explanatory Value Reviewers are asked to determine whether or not the candidate has given sufficient explanation of the processes that produce the recent, current, or anticipated weather conditions.

Communication Skills This criterion is intended to measure the effectiveness of the means chosen by the candidate to communicate information and explanations. Since this is a highly subjective area, only a candidate's clear inability to communicate the information will be judged as grounds for failure.

The applicant is expected to disseminate Weather Warnings on a timely basis without the use of any editorial licence. Failure to do so could lead to suspension of the CMOS Endorsement.

5. Notification of Endorsement

A Certificate of Endorsement will be issued to successful candidates upon approval by the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee. In addition, for recipients of television weathercaster endorsement, a CMOS "logo" will be provided which can be displayed on television. Endorsed Weathercasters may use the CMOS logo during the period for which the endorsement remains valid. The logo may also be used for professional purposes by the Endorsed Weathercaster. Successful candidates may move their endorsement from station to station without further application to the Society.

Endorsements are valid for a three-year period on a calendar year basis. The annual renewal fee is $20.00 in addition to the annual CMOS membership fee.

Unsuccessful candidates may appeal the negative decision of the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee to the President of CMOS within 90 days of the date of notification. The fee for an appeal is $50.00; however, the CMOS Executive reserves the right to waive the fee in cases of financial hardship. The applicant will have the right to appear in person before the President and selected members of the Executive.

Recertification

Endorsed Weathercasters are required to recertify their Endorsement by December 31st following the third year of certification, and every three years thereafter. The Executive Director of CMOS will notify the Weathercaster that his/her endorsement is subject to recertification. To satisfy recertification requirements, an applicant must provide written proof that he/she has completed at least one of the following during the three-year period:

i) Registered and attended a CMOS Congress

ii) Enrolled in and passed an accredited university-level meteorological, oceanographic, hydrological or earth and atmospheric science course. Other science, mathematical, or distant learning courses will be accepted. The Weathercaster should contact the chairperson of the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee before enrolling in a course to determine its acceptance.

iii) Participated in other weather-related workshops or seminars. Such programs will be considered on an individual basis. As such, the acceptability will be determined by the Executive Director on a case-by-case basis.

All applicants should note that identifying themselves as a meteorologist implies they have a degree in meteorology.

6. Suspension or Revocation

CMOS reserves the right to suspend or revoke the right to use the CMOS logo if an Endorsed Weathercaster clearly fails to conduct himself or herself in a manner that reflects on the trust and respect of his or her position as a weathercaster, or if he or she fails to demonstrate scientific credibility, informational and explanatory values, and communication skills

Any complaint that may be grounds for suspension or removal of the right to use the CMOS logo shall be forwarded to the Chairperson of the CMOS Weathercaster Endorsement Committee.

The Chairperson of the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee will examine and judge the validity of the complaint and if, in his or her judgement, the complaint is valid, the matter is to be brought to the attention of the Weathercaster in question for resolution.

If a satisfactory solution to the complaint is not found, the matter is to be referred to the President of CMOS for final judgement. Both the Chairperson and offending Weathercaster may be invited to appear before the President and selected members of the Executive. If the complaint is upheld, a letter of reprimand will be sent to the Weathercaster, suspending the use of the logo for a period of time or revoking the right to use the logo.

Withdrawal of an endorsement may also be appealed to the CMOS President. Any member of CMOS required to decide on an appeal under these Guidelines and who was a member of the relevant Weathercaster Endorsement Committee, shall not be involved in any way in the appeal process.

7. Fees

A fee of $200.00 is required for Television Endorsement and $100.00 for Radio Endorsement (which type must be specified). Fees are to be made payable by cheque to the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and should be included with the application form.

The fee for an appeal is $50.00.

The fee for re-application following an initial failure is $50.00.

8. Renewal

Endorsements are renewable annually by submitting a renewal fee of $20.00 along with the regular membership fee and indicating that the format of on-air presentations has not changed significantly. The incumbent must provide a written statement to the effect that he or she has attended, for example, a CMOS Congress, participated in weather-related workshops, seminars, attended classes or registered in distant learning courses.

If an Endorsed Weathercaster fails to renew or recertify his/her endorsement during the calendar year following the year of expiration, the individual must cease to use or refer to the CMOS Endorsement. A lapse of one year or more will require a complete re-application for endorsement.

9. Application Form

This Application Form also should be completed. 

10. CMOS

All applications should be addressed to the Executive Director of CMOS who shall forward the application to the Chairperson of the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee.

The Council of CMOS shall appoint the Chairperson of the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee

The Committee Chairperson will, select three members of the Committee, who will constitute the reviewing panel. Each member of the Committee shall certify to the Chairperson that he or she is aware of no conflict of interest in accepting the appointment to review any particular applicant.

Upon completion of the review process, successful applicants will be notified by letter.

Unsuccessful applicants will also be notified by letter from the Chairman of the Weathercaster Endorsement Committee. The letter shall contain a statement explaining the nature of the shortcomings and suggesting ways of improving the performance based upon the information received from the Review Panel. Unsuccessful applicants may re-apply after a period of three months from the date of the negative notification. After a second unsuccessful application, there will be a one-year waiting period before a third application can be submitted. However, if more than two years have passed from the date of the negative notification on the applicant's initial application, then the second application shall be deemed a new application.

Revised by the Executive Director
June 16, 2008