SFR: Could you explain the ‘bust potential’ in your forecasts for KRQE?
MR: It started when I was in Portland in 2004. I’d always go [to the morning news meetings] and give a cheat sheet of what I expected out of the storms. Invariably they’d say, ‘What are the chances this is really going to happen?’ And so what that’s born out of is the level of confidence that I have in a given storm. Like this past storm, we put a bust potential on it of 65 percent. And this storm did turn out to be a bust for us, because it went too far to the south. In New Mexico, it’s a little tough because it’s such a huge area.
Are you disappointed when a storm is a bust?
In general, yes, absolutely. I get emails from people: ‘Why do you root for bad weather?’ Well, it’s like an insurance agent rooting for people sitting in his lobby wanting policies. You know, that’s what I do. The times when I feel the worst are when I think it’s going to be a big deal and it doesn’t happen. That’s the worst feeling in the world.
How do you feel about your record?
I’ll stand by it, against anybody. Weather is an educated guess. It’s not always going to be right. I don’t pretend that it is.
I found a Facebook group that says ‘Mark Ronchetti is Clark Kent.’ Are you?
I can officially tell you that I’m not.
There was another blog by someone who is very fond of your teeth.
That one, yeah. I guess it beats the alternative: You don’t want to be ‘old mayonnaise teeth.’ I don’t drink coffee. There was one in Portland; they were trying to figure out if I was gay or not. One guy said, ‘No self-respecting gay guy would wear pleated pants.’
Is there a weatherman school? What is it like?
You bet. It’s like any college degree. I went through three years. Some people have [degrees] in this market, and some people haven’t. Just listen to if they call people meteorologists or not. At our station, they’ll never introduce me as ‘weatherman.’ I do sometimes because I don’t care. It’s not like [snob voice]: ‘Hey, I’m a meteorologist.’
Can you make a case for why you are superior to the little weather widget I’ve got on my Mac here?
We’re all looking at the same models. Why would I want to read one of your stories when I could just rip off the AP wire? The wire is going to give me some of the facts but, if you give me the color, I’ll read it because it’s interesting.
Is a big part of your job figuring out new ways to say, ‘It’s going to be cold out there?’
Yeah, yeah. We’re going into one of those periods this week. Tonight, because the weather is going to be boring, I’m instituting snack time for the anchors. We’re talking Capri Suns and orange wedges.
How many times have you seen Groundhog Day?
Probably 15, 20 times. A lot. Not as much as I’ve seen A Few Good Men or Fletch—the greatest movie ever.
Please give the bust potential for the following:
1. Barack Obama wins re-election.
Gosh. Right now I’ll go 55 percent because his approval rating is a little on the negative.
2. A local TV anchorman gets drunk before noon.
Ninety percent. We don’t see that anymore. Everybody keeps it pretty straight. It’s not like the old Ron Burgundy days.