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WGN-TV forecaster Tom Skilling announces retirement

A retrospective aired on WGN-TV shows forecaster Tom Skilling with Bozo the Clown. (Courtesy image via broadcast)
A retrospective aired on WGN-TV shows forecaster Tom Skilling with Bozo the Clown. (Courtesy image via broadcast)

After four decades of loyal service to WGN-TV in Chicago, veteran forecaster Tom Skilling says he will retire early next year.

During a broadcast on WGN (Channel 9), Skilling said his retirement date has been set for February 28, 2024. He started working at the station 45 years ago, dating back to its co-ownership with the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

“There’s no formula for this: I am going to retire at the end of February after a marvelous 45 years at this incredible television station,” Skilling said on Thursday. “We all get to a point where we have to make a decision. Is it time to retire? It’s the toughest decision.”

Dominick Stasi, WGN’s news director, said Skilling helped elevate the position of weather forecaster at the station and influenced similar decisions at other outlets.

“There was a time when weather forecasting was seen as a not-serious profession, but Tom has taken it to a much-higher level,” Stasi said in an interview. “He carefully explains complex meteorological concepts in layman’s terms, support by graphics often featuring isobars and upper-airs charts. Nobody was doing that when he started. Bottom line, he has always treated the audience with respect.”

Sklling has won multiple regional Emmy awards and helps fund a local scholarship for college students in the Chicago area. He also received the Broadcast Pioneer award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association in 2018.

WGN-TV is owned by Nexstar Media Group.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).