Feb. 15, 2015 – At The Weather Channel’s Atlanta headquarters, Kathryn Prociv (’11 B.A. and ’12 M.S geography) is known for her calm demeanor as a weather producer on the set of the channel’s flagship program, “AMHQ With Sam Champion.” By the time the show airs live at 7 a.m. each weekday, Prociv has been up for nearly six hours preparing and assembling graphics to tell the story of the day’s weather.
“I’m right behind the wall in back of the host with my headset on, talking with producers, the on-air meteorologists, and the crew,” Prociv said. “I’ve got all these people in my head, and it’s my job to keep the weather stories on track. It can be crazy behind the scenes, but viewers don’t see it.”
Prociv secured her position after just four months of freelancing for the channel. Her colleagues often call her the morning cheerleader, complimenting her on her unflappable nature and passion for weather, even in the wee hours of the morning. She chalks it up to her five Virginia Tech storm-chasing trips, several of them as a field leader.
Prociv was teaching at a junior college and doing some weather blogging when an ad from The Weather Channel caught her eye. She had considered pursuing her doctorate but sent off her resume nonetheless. “I wasn’t qualified at all,” she said. “The only bullet point on the job description I had was that I knew about weather. But I figured, it’s The Weather Channel, why not?”
Prociv’s passion for weather — exemplified by her storm-chasing trips and her ground-breaking thesis work on Appalachian tornadoes — shone through enough in her application and interview that a recruiter passed her resume down the line. When the channel offered her the freelance job, she jumped at the chance. She packed her belongings, moved to Atlanta, and quickly proved herself by producing for Stephanie Abrams’ early-morning show “On the Radar.”
Prociv attributes her research skills honed at Virginia Tech as the extra edge that got her the permanent position. “I’m a storyteller,” she said. “Each day I try to make the weather into a story. Say it’s warm and sunny. How do I make people want to hear more? I do research. I find out we’re experiencing near record-breaking temperatures. I talk about that, how far we are from what’s normal for the time of year.”
While it’s fun to talk about record-breaking weather, Prociv hopes to never again experience a winter like Atlanta’s 2014 “snow jam.” As one of the few staffers who could get to the station, she worked back-to-back 18-hour days and gave co-workers keys to her nearby apartment, dubbed “Hotel Kathryn.” The station was utter chaos, with workers’ pets and children milling around and the cafeteria rationing food. “It was exciting, but the level of exhaustion I felt by the end of the week was crushing,” she said. “And I wasn’t even caught in traffic for 24 hours, like some people.”
But ask her about storm chasing and she smiles. “I miss it,” Prociv said. “I experience a ‘minor depression’ when tornado season rolls around and I’m not chasing a storm.” Not to be out of the hunt for long, she plans on taking vacation time to go storm chasing this spring.