(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University has launched a partnership with WeatherVision – which provides weathercasts to more than 100 stations nationwide – that will expand JSU’s broadcasting network and help train the next generation of meteorologists. A grand opening event was held Thursday, Sept. 13, at the JSU Digital Media Center at the Mississippi e-Center @JSU.
Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and JSU meteorology student Jessica Foxworth, a senior from Belzoni, Miss., spoke at the event.
“This is a fabulous idea,” Foxworth said of the partnership. “Not only can students relay their messages to a national audience, but they can make their own forecasts.”
The custom weathercast company and its low-power radio station WLEZ-FM moved over the summer into the Mississippi e-Center @JSU, which houses the JSU Digital
“WeatherVision is a natural fit for Jackson State University because it will give our students real-world experience while expanding our broadcast capabilities,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “Now JSU can be seen and heard around the world. That’s innovation.”
WeatherVision CEO and meteorologist Edward Saint Pé said he had long envisioned forming a broadcast meteorology program at Jackson State.
“Students will be able to take classes that are directly involved with TV broadcast of on-air meteorology as part of their coursework, like a laboratory,” he said.
The wide scope of WeatherVision — more than 100 stations in markets from Miami to Memphis to Rochester, N.Y. — will enable students to gain practical experience by doing live broadcasts for some of those stations as well as JSU TV.
WeatherVision, planning to partner on sales and advertising projects with JSU’s mass communications and athletic departments, is further expected to increase exposure for the university by “allowing professors to be interviewed by other institutions and, perhaps, include distant learning applications,” Saint Pé said.
The importance of exposure is a business tenet for Saint Pé. When changing technology made WeatherVision’s use of satellite uplink obsolete, he continued to make it available to major networks and cable outlets such as CNN and MSNBC when locals were booked for guest appearances or interviews.
It gives Jackson a valuable “link to the national media,” Saint Pé said.
In yet another avenue, WeatherVision’s trove of nearly 500 movies will help JSU TV broaden its programming. The movie segment of the company is tied to one of Saint Pé’s personal passions — acting. Saint Pé is the founder and director of the Mississippi Film Institute, which produces the Mississippi International Film Festival each fall at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium.