Tom Skilling started on WGN in Chicago on Aug. 13, 1978. And today, WGN celebrates Skilling’s 40-year legacy all day, culminating in a very special career retrospective video on WGN News at Nine.
Think of all the various weather phenomena he’s helped guide viewers through his more than 40 years of predictions.
How many snowstorms, blizzards and tornadoes; how many thunderstorms and wind events; and whatever else Mother Nature has thrown at the city on the shores of Lake Michigan has he predicted?
And when you add all that up, only one meteorologist was there through it all, Tom Skilling.
Tom Skilling started on WGN, Tribune’s independent station, on Aug. 13, 1978.
These days, Skilling appears weekdays on WGN Evening News from 5 to 7 p.m., WGN News at Nine and WGN News at Ten, as well as CLTV, WGN Radio, the Chicago Tribune weather page plus many social media platforms.
And today, WGN celebrates Skilling’s 40-year legacy all day, culminating in a career retrospective video on WGN News at Nine.
Skilling’s successful career started in high school at the unheard-of age of 14-years-old, when Tom was hired by WKKD Radio in Aurora, Illinois.
Tom’s first television job was at age 18 at WLXT in Aurora.
From there, he moved to Madison, Wis., to study both meteorology and journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Then, on to WKOW-TV (ABC) and WTSO Radio in Madison, before going to work for WITI-TV Milwaukee from 1975 to 1978, where he was rated the city’s No. 1 meteorologist.
Since 1978, Skilling has made his mark in Chicago, the driving force behind the Chicago Tribune’s weather page and creator of a column based on WGN’s Ask Tom Why, a weekly feature on WGN News at Nine, where Skilling answered viewers’ weather questions.
He helped to coordinate the WGN Weather Center, which combines the meteorology resources and expertise of WGN-TV, CLTV, WGN Radio and the Chicago Tribune in one location.
In the 1990’s Skilling developed a series of documentaries that explained extreme weather events. The first, Emmy Award-winning It Sounded Like a Freight Train, was groundbreaking for its time in talking about tornado safety.
Additionally, Tom hosted the Tornado and Severe Storms Seminar at Fermilab for nearly four decades, which featured a Who’s Who of the severe weather research community.
Currently, Tom is giving lectures throughout the Chicago area about the dangers of climate change, alongside renowned experts, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists.
Throughout his career, Tom has established himself as a respected meteorologist both locally and nationally, known for his in-depth reports, enthusiasm and use of state-of-the-art technology.