Nicknamed “Weatherman J” by his teammates while playing football and pursuing a degree in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, Jaden Knowles wanted to be a broadcast meteorologist as far back as he can remember.
Jaden Knowles, the morning meteorologist for KAUZ, the CBS affiliate in Wichita Falls, Texas, owned by American Spirit Media, which maintains a shared services agreement with Gray Television, is the first black meteorologist in the market.
Knowles says when Sharicka Brackens, the station’s news director, told him that, he was surprised.
“We have anchors and reporters that are African American, just not meteorologists,” he says.
Brackens says Knowles “has a terrific following. He’s definitely someone to watch.”
Knowles started at KAUZ six months ago.
According to a July 2021 article in The Athletic, a sports journalism website, Knowles says he’s wanted to be a broadcast meteorologist as far back as he can remember.
His father, Al, is the floor director at KXAS, the NBC affiliate in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I used to always be up there with him,” Knowles says. “The green screen and a guy in front of it talking about the weather, I just always thought that was pretty cool and wanted to know more about it. Growing up, he always told me I should be in front of the camera.”
Knowles got the nickname “Weatherman J” from his teammates while playing football and pursuing a degree in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.
“I kind of like that,” he says.
Knowles’ dream of someday playing in the NFL was cut short by an injury which took a year to mend. “A career-ending injury really,” he says.
His football dreams dashed, Knowles says he made the correct choice to go into his other career as a meteorologist.
Being the first Black meteorologist in Wichita Falls “is definitely an accomplishment that I didn’t even know that I was getting into,” Knowles says.
He says growing up in the Dallas area, he didn’t “see a lot of meteorologists that looked like me.”
Except one. Greg Fields, a meteorologist at WFAA in Dallas. When Knowles was in college, he shadowed Fields at WFAA for a day.
Knowles says he asked Fields for advice. “I wanted to know what I was getting myself into in this business being the color I am,” Knowles says.
Knowles says Fields told him there might be different obstacles that could test him. “Just always remember try to be better than what you were yesterday and just strive for the stars and keep God first,” Knowles says. “That was great advice, just being persistent in everything that you do.”
Fields says he remembers telling him to stay humble and take the time to learn the craft.
But Fields isn’t worried about Knowles future. “That’s a very tough meteorology program at the University of Oklahoma, and to play football at that level at the same time is tough to balance,” Fields says. “He’s going to have a bright future in this business.”
— Greg Fields (@GregFieldsWX) October 6, 2023
Knowles says around Wichita Falls, people know who he is.
“I can’t even go to Walmart without getting recognized,” he says. “They tell me how much they enjoy watching me in the mornings, and how much joy I bring them,” he says. “That is mainly what they say all the time.”
Knowles says when an African American recognizes him, they always say the same thing. “We are so happy to see somebody like you on TV. You are a great example for our kids at home. You are doing a great thing for our community.”
Knowles says he’s happy to hear that. “I am proud of myself and I just want to be an example for everybody.”
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