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Published: Monday, 4/16/2012

Stay Tuned: Jay Berschback

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE FEATURES WRITER
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You have heard their voices on radio and seen their faces on TV. Now The Blade goes behind the scenes to introduce you to your favorite media personalities. Stay Tuned appears the third Monday of every month.

First job: Overnight/weekend meteorologist at Commercial Weather Services Inc. in Flint, Mich. While at UM (in Ann Arbor), I spent many weekends in Flint working the overnight shift at CWS. We had many clients that used our forecasts in many different ways (ski resorts, snow plow companies, landscaping companies, county road crews, radio stations, etc.). One of our biggest clients was WJR-AM radio in Detroit. It was so cool to give weather updates during Detroit Tigers Baseball rain delays live on the radio.

First salary: Whatever minimum wage was back in 1994. I’m guessing $6-$7 per hour.

My idol is: Stan Stachak. He does it right. He’s done it right for over 30 years. Great sense of humor, very well educated, and articulate. A true professional. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor to learn my trade and to work with over the past 14 years. He will be missed.

Jay Berschback

Position: Chief meteorologist

Station: WTVG-TV, Channel 13

Age: 38

Hometown: Grosse Pointe, Mich.

College: University of Michigan

Family: Wife: Jenny.

Sons: Cumulonimbus and Cirrostratus (just kidding, Ben is 10 and Will is 8).

Most embarrassing TV moment: I was filling in for Stan a few years ago. It was during the 11 o’clock news. I was showing live video from one of our Live Action Cameras. Here’s what I meant to say, “Let’s take a look at a lovely shot of the downtown skyline with our Downtown Live Action Cam.” Let’s explain it this way … I did not say the word “shot”! I put the wrong vowel in there. I still had over two minutes on camera to finish my weathercast. My face turned red, but I chugged on and finished with a smile. Thanks to Diane and Lee for their support during those stressful two minutes.

Highlight of my career: Being named chief meteorologist at WTVG/13. I don’t think it has sunk in just yet. Before being named the “Chief,” I can think of three other big highlights: 1) Going to Coaster Mania every year for Media Day at Cedar Point and riding the roller coasters over and over and over without ever waiting in line. 2) Flying with the Red Baron Bi-Plane Squadron at the Toledo Air Show. It was a once in a lifetime chance to do flips, spins and loops in an open cockpit. 3) Visiting local schools and teaching kids about the weather.

My favorite thing to do outside of work: Right now, sleep is a biggie! Working the morning shift can really drain my energy and getting enough sleep becomes very important. When I am well rested, spending time with my family, playing/watching all sports, and travelling make me a happy guy. Working the evening shift will help me catch up on 13 years of lost sleep.

I think Toledo’s best-kept secret is: Big city living without all of the big city problems. We have all the great assets you’d find in a bigger city: world-class art museum, top-ranked zoo, the Mud Hens, the Walleye, Cedar Point/The Islands an hour away, a casino on the way, great festivals, awesome Metroparks, great neighborhoods, a ton of excellent restaurants, etc. We don’t have the issues you’d find in a bigger city: major traffic jams, parking issues, constant noise, rude people, high cost of living, etc. Think about it, here in Toledo and Northwest Ohio life is pretty good and we have access to just about anything we need.

People may be surprised to know that I: Married my high school sweetheart, Jenny. Actually, I technically married my kindergarten sweetheart. Jenny and I have been friends since age 5 (except when I was teasing her about her red hair on the playground). Our families have always been good friends too. I was 14 years old, it was freshman year in high school, I had to ask someone to the homecoming dance and Jenny said yes. That was our first date, Oct. 16, 1988. We’ve been together now, dating and married, for over 23 years!

In five years, I see myself: Right here at 13ABC as the chief meteorologist. I really see a bright future for myself and WTVG-TV over the next five years. I’ll strive to keep 13ABC as the “go to” station for weather coverage in Toledo and Northwest Ohio. Stan has laid down a path for success. I plan to follow that guidance and add my own “spice” to the evenings.

My dream job is: Being chief meteorologist at 13ABC AND the owner of a pizza restaurant. I love the weather and I love pizza — enough said.

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.



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