When Jerry Taft wakes up next Monday morning, I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumps in his car and drives to the WLS studios in Chicago. After all, he’s been doing that for the past 42 years and old habits are sometimes hard to break. Taft is retiring as the ABC O&O’s chief meteorologist. Today […]
When Jerry Taft wakes up next Monday morning, I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumps in his car and drives to the WLS studios in Chicago.
After all, he’s been doing that for the past 42 years and old habits are sometimes hard to break.
Taft is retiring as the ABC O&O’s chief meteorologist. Today is his last day.
“It’s been a joy walking into WLS everyday knowing that it’s not work, but being with my extended family,” Taft said in a memo to the staff.
“When I first arrived here we had elevator operators. The newsroom was full of smoke and the hum of IBM Selectric typewriters. No computers. The scripts went to the set in pneumatic tubes, 35mm film was being spliced together for air, and weather was presented on maps drawn by the art department.
“While I still have my health, wit and vitality it’s time to hang out with my real family, assuming they still remember me. I want to thank everyone for their love and support and wish all a happy holiday.”
“Jerry Taft won the trust of our viewers with his knowledge and experience forecasting Chicago’s weather,” said Jennifer Graves, WLS news director.
“He won the affection of our viewers with his self-effacing sense of humor, infectious laugh and relatability. That combination has made him one of Chicago’s most respected and popular meteorologists for the past four decades. All of us at ABC 7, along with his many fans, will miss Jerry. We thank him and wish him nothing but sunny skies and a continued low handicap on the golf course.”
Taft started in the Chicago television market in 1976 as a meteorologist for WMAQ-TV and was also the principal meteorologist on WMAQ-AM and later on WLS-AM.
For 15 years, Taft served in the United States Air Force as a pilot and forecaster before he began his career in broadcasting. He was also a classroom teacher for aviation and flight planning and an instructor pilot in the T-38 aircraft.
A certified meteorologist with the AMS Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society, Taft also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin.