WTOC Celebrates 65 Years: Forecaster Ron Wallace talks technology

WTOC Celebrates 65 Years: Forecaster Ron Wallace talks technology

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC has been on the air for over 65 years. WTOC’s Forecaster, Ron Wallace, has been here for over a third of that time, and talks about how forecasting has changed over the years.

“I’m just an old-fashion hometown guy, and I just like to talk to people,” Wallace said.

Ron Wallace has been doing just that since the summer of 1986, when he was hired by Doug Weathers.

“I was a reporter, a radio reporter coming from radio, and then Doug handed me the camera and said, 'learn how to use this,” Wallace said.

Ron’s love for technology soon led to a bond with Meteorologist Pat Prokop.

“I have always been a technology geek, and Pat Prokop was a technology geek as well. He designed the radar animation building a heath kit device to animate the radar. We had this Collins Doppler Radar for a while, but he made it real."

That radar was not just a cool piece of technology; it served an important role in the community.

“At that time, it made us king because we had live Doppler radar. We had on the spot information. There was a time when we couldn’t really predict or know when a tornado was going to strike. Now, with today’s radars, today’s pictures, and today’s technology, you can see all of this coming in," Wallace said.

Making the weather relatable to viewers has always been the goal, but 23 years ago, the graphics were a little different than what you see today.

“We actually had pullout board that you had to pull out, with little magnetic symbols for high pressure, magnetic symbols for frontal boundaries, and some of it you had to actually just draw," Wallace said.

Today, magnetic symbols are a thing of the past, thanks mainly to the advancement in computer technology.

“Things have gotten faster. The handling of data; how much data is being accumulated from the satellites and the various sources, combined into the super computers to produce a weather product, and most of that information now is a lot more accurate than it used to be back in the day."

Although the technology has changed over the past 23 years, Ron’s personality and delivery have stayed the same.

"Just be real. Just be yourself. Just talk. It is just a conversation. You’ve got some information that you have gathered, and just talk to people. People appreciate being talked to rather than being talked at,” Wallace said.

If you would like to take a look back at the history of our station, click here.

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