Tips from the Board of Broadcast Meteorology for Gaining the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) Designation


Document Type


Publication Date


Course Date

Spring 2019

Course Number

WX 280

Course Title

Introduction to TV Weathercasting


These notes are intended to maximize the likelihood that you will pass the AMS CBM evaluation on your first attempt. Typically half of first-time applicants pass the evaluation.

There is no minimum on-air experience necessary to apply for the AMS CBM, but weathercasters do improve with experience. It is generally advisable to have 1-2 years of onair experience before applying, although less experience is no guarantee that you will fail, nor is more experience a guarantee that you will pass. A friend who has already earned the AMS CBM can provide guidance as to when you are ready to apply. A positive informal review by a friend with the AMS CBM will not guarantee a passing grade by the Broadcast Board members who review your weathercasts officially, but it is useful nonetheless.

Since you select the weathercasts that are submitted, the Board will assume that these represent your best work. Therefore, make sure they are! If you are marginal in a particular category, the benefit of doubt will go against you, because the Board will assume that weathercasts from other days are no better.

TV meteorologists often work under various restrictions and requirements imposed by those in authority at their stations. Please mention all of these restrictions in your cover letter so that the panel can take into consideration when evaluating your work. For instance, if you cannot show a time stamp on your radar loop, or you are forbidden from showing the almanac within your weathercast. By letting the panel know of these restrictions it will give them a better sense of why certain elements were or were not within your weathercasts.

All actively employed meteorologists MUST submit on-air weathercasts. “Off-air” weathercasts will only be accepted from applicants not currently employed. In this case, to better simulate the “on-air experience,” a single take with no post-production is required, and it must be recorded with current rather than archived data. If preparing simulated weathercasts, please make them 3-4 minutes for each day and aim them at a general audience, not the AMS Broadcast Board. Present the kind of weathercasts you wish you could air for the general public if you operated under no restrictions other than time. When submitting off-air weathercasts for evaluation, include the specific reasons why the option is being used (e.g. employment status.). Failing to do so will adversely affect your application.

As you watch current CBM holders to determine what is necessary to earn a CBM, you should not assume that everything they do is ideal because they themselves may be working under some restrictions or requirements that they wish they could change.

There is no minimum or maximum duration for the weathercasts you submit. Nonetheless, it is often difficult to include adequate explanations if you have less than roughly two and a half minutes per weathercast, and reviewers prefer to see no more than 5 minutes for each day. Whether your weathercasts are short or long, time must be managed carefully. Those whose weathercasts are short in time, but frequent in number (morning shows, cable news, etc.), may wish to include several consecutive segments, that approximate a single "full weathercast" when combined, for each day. Anyone exercising this option must clearly state such, in the enclosed cover letter sent to the members of the review panel.

Submissions should include any “tosses” at the beginning and end of each weathercast and should exclude commercials. Before sending your submissions, make sure that the audio and video are recorded properly. Label the submissions with your name, station, and dates of the weathercasts. Online submissions are suggested; you will be instructed on how to upload your weathercasts when you formally apply. Applicants are responsible for the technical quality of their submissions.

The remainder of this essay looks at the various evaluation categories for the AMS CBM review and explains what is sought in each. Certainly, it would be desirable if a checklist could be developed for scoring weathercasts that was so explicit that applicants could know even before submitting their weathercasts whether they had passed. Unfortunately, that is impossible because of the many differences that exist from applicant to applicant, such as the length of weathercasts, restrictions and requirements at stations, available graphics, and the variation in weather from area to area, season to season, and day to day that affects how the weather is presented. That is why the American Meteorological Society relies on the collective judgment of a group of reviewers, each with considerable experience in weathercasting. The American Meteorological Society’s Board of Broadcast Meteorologists prizes individuality and creativity and firmly believes that there are many ways of doing good weathercasts.