In this episode of Finding Career Zen, Pete Newsome invites Brian Shields to share his journey to success as a meteorologist. Passionate about the weather since he was 5 years old, Brian always dreamed of becoming a weatherman on TV. His enthusiasm and determination towards this dream never wavered and today, Brian works for ABC’s WFTV Orlando.
Brian’s career in television began while he was still a junior at Villanova University when he landed an internship with a small station in Salisbury, Maryland. His weekends were spent on the road traveling from Philadelphia to Salisbury and on the air working, but this was only the beginning. New opportunities continued to appear for Brian, and he didn’t let them pass by. After college while working at a station in West Virginia, Brian once again gave up his weekends to be on-air back in Philly. His efforts did not go unrewarded, as he was ultimately asked to interview down in Orlando, where he’s made a positive impact on the community for the past 16 years. Today, Brian is one of Central Florida’s favorite celebrities, with a face and voice recognized wherever he goes!
Brian’s career success is due to years of dedication and hard work, along with a lot of enthusiasm towards following his dreams. While his journey didn’t come without its challenges, Brian’s motivation and willingness has led him to where he is today.
Interested in turning your dreams into reality? Tune in to hear how Brian did it!
Connect with Brian here!
Advice for pursuing your career goals
- Create your own opportunities and be willing to go the extra mile. Make the best of every opportunity and just start by getting your foot in the door. Your enthusiasm and determination will not go unnoticed.
- Your path may not always be glorious. Take the necessary steps and be willing to make sacrifices. When something truly makes you happy, you will be willing to do whatever it takes to turn your dream into a reality.
- Own up to your mistakes and take accountability. Stop complaining and making excuses. Everyone makes mistakes, so embrace your vulnerability. Always be truthful and genuine.
- Be a good person. Credentials are important, but so is someone who is authentic. Going through the hiring process, hiring managers are looking for both the necessary requirements as well as people who want to be part of a team.
- How to set career goals
- Reasons to have a career mentor
- Finding a job that is right for you
- Advice on how to find your best career path
Pete Newsome 00:15
You’re listening to the finding career zen podcast. I’m your host Pete Newsome. And my guest today is Brian Shields meteorologist with WFTV in Orlando. Brian, welcome. How are you today?
Brian Shields 00:25
Thank you. I am good. My voice is a little hoarse. I’m sorry about that. But I am so excited to be here. Thank you for having me on, I appreciate it.
Pete Newsome 00:32
Well, it’s extremely generous of you to join, I really do appreciate it, especially because this is something you actually get paid to do to be on camera and share your personality and your knowledge. So this is a real gift. So thank you.
Brian Shields 00:46
I try not to share too much personality, because nobody wants that, though. So that’s, you know, I do what I can I do what I can now it’s great to be here.
Pete Newsome 00:53
Well, I want to explore that a little bit. Because your position is unique in a number of different ways. Your job, have you known in the community, you’re a celebrity for everyone who in your area who views you and you have to be on camera, which is an entirely different thing that 99.9% of us ever have to do. And so you don’t ever get to have a bad day.
Brian Shields 01:18
It’s just you know, it’s, I have a lot of bad days. For the record first, for starters, I have a lot of bad days. Yeah, every day, it’s when you think about it, it’s in a way nonstop presentations, you’re given a presentation.
Brian Shields 01:31
And it’s a lot of them. I’m on TV roughly 25 to 30 times every morning live. So it’s just but it gives me an opportunity to connect with people. And then it gives me an opportunity to make mistakes and adjust. You got to go with the flow. Sometimes mistakes happen. So that’s part of the game.
Pete Newsome 01:49
Yeah. And I guess when you’re live versus scripted and recorded, you just have to go with it. Right. I mean, obviously, it takes a lot of training and getting used to but at this point, it probably is second nature, isn’t it?
Brian Shields 02:02
Yeah, unfortunately, I do the weather. So, fortunately, my stuff is not scripted, which helps me because I’m used to kind of going into the flow scene, what my graphics are things change, I just roll with it. It’s a little bit tougher for the anchors that have a script.
Brian Shields 02:18
Because you know, if anything, if you’re reading something, no matter how talented you are, and somebody throws you off, there’s a messed up word or whatever, you know, that can really derail things. So, but it’s all part of it, it’s all part of it, but it makes it fun. I love the live elements of it because things do happen. And that keeps you on your toes.
Pete Newsome 02:37
So I read your bio, and I think I shared with you prior to this recording that I wasn’t going to try to read it for that very reason. Because it sounds bad. I mean, at least I’m not made to read on air, that’s for sure. It’s much easier to have a conversation but in your bio, I believe you claim that you had you started doing weather forecasts when you were five years old. Is that true?
Brian Shields 03:00
Yeah, I used to do these little forecasts for a few of our houses like we lived on like it was raining and I thought some areas would have puddles I considered that flooding so I had I think it was a little chalk chalkboard at the time.
Brian Shields 03:13
So in front of the TV, which was one of those console TVs have a little chalkboard at the time so the old school well I don’t even know if the weather channel was around at that point but um I’d have you know I draw my own little map of our neighborhood where there might be flooding.
Brian Shields 03:28
So I was doing that and then when we were able to get some sort of like video recorder I can’t remember I guess it was just some type of camcorder my friend and I had always dragged him into it to do like a little newscast and stuff.
Brian Shields 03:41
So he wanted no part of it but we are good friends so he did it with me so yes it’s fun I love the weather I always liked it I just I think I mean you know with the weather it controls a lot it changes everything you get a hurricane everything changes.
Brian Shields 03:55
You know things stop things close you have to prepare. So just that element and whether it while I don’t wish a storm on any one storm itself is I mean they’re an incredible beast and you know all sorts of whether it should nature itself is just amazing. So I always wanted to do it.
Pete Newsome 04:10
Well as a viewer you know, I’ve laughed at times where when a hurricane is coming in Florida which is a devastating thing, right not to make light of the destruction and the harm that it does. But the guys in your position seem to have a little more pep in their step right a little more enthusiasm when that happens because that’s your time to shine right?
Brian Shields 04:35
I mean that’s just it’s just that’s the thing is because then you get these comments like do you wish a storm on someone? Do you want a storm to come? And the answer to that is no but at the same time you know, we see these things coming even before we’re really going on TV, you know, announcing it 10 days out we may see it and it’s yeah, you the energy level goes up and it is it’s the Super Bowl for what what we do.
Brian Shields 05:01
So that’s just yeah it’s what we do. So we don’t wish the storm on anyone but me the power of the storm is awesome you know tracking the storms that part of tracking it can be fun.
Brian Shields 05:11
I mean in certain parts of having a hurricane you know, everyone gets together as a community helping each other out so not making light of is a devastating situation but there’s big energy around as a whole and you know, we’re part of it.
Pete Newsome 05:25
Yeah, I mean, it’s undeniable and and I think that’s when you guys are you know, everyone looks to you being in Central Florida or being in Florida I should say that that is probably your your moment or that season where everyone’s lives are impacted in a significant way. Do you feel pressure in those situations?
Brian Shields 05:48
Yeah, I do. I feel a lot of pressure on those because it is tough to I think the pressure I feel though is the communication part of it because I look to see I know a bad communication out there where there’s the hype with the storm, everybody thinks one storm is going to hit everywhere and it’s not so I feel the pressure to fight against kind of the bad information out there.
Brian Shields 06:11
So that’s where I feel the pressure and then I feel the pressure I guess maybe as a dad that I know I think about other people’s situations it’s easy for me to say hey, it’s gonna be windy you know, there’s gonna be devastation but I’m thinking of when the storm comes you’re in the house with your family or a lot of folks are alone and a lot of people have different medical needs.
Brian Shields 06:34
I feel the pressure to communicate one on one to those people so you know, we have a gazillion people watching them but that’s when I even try to be more one-on-one very specific, and deliberate with what I say because it is so important in those times.
Pete Newsome 06:51
How much subjectivity comes into play with that or how many opinions or you know going with your gut if you will, right your meteorologists will now is it does that make you a scientist as well? Is that considered a science?
Brian Shields 07:06
Yeah, I fall it falls under that. So you know, the hurricane forecasting itself is really good now. So as far as going our guts the track forecast is really really good.
Brian Shields 07:21
So four days out, we’re gonna have a good idea if we’re going to get a storm at least nearby but tracks are very locked in the bigger issue is the intensity knowing the intensity of the storm so sometimes we just gotta go with our gut.
Brian Shields 07:36
Within 12 hours the storm could go from 80 miles per hour to 120 miles per hour maybe not 12 hours there but you know very quickly so with that we have to kind of it’s a feel.
Brian Shields 07:47
How has the season been going? Have storms been blowing up quickly? So but yeah, I mean it’s a science and you know, we do the best we can these things are beasts.
Pete Newsome 07:57
How when you decided to become meteorologists when you so you were inclined to do it from when you were young. So let’s go I want to go back a little bit because I could just ask you questions for the entire time about you as an on-air personality and how that kind of guides so many things in your life outside of work too.
Pete Newsome 08:17
So I want to get there but just for anyone who is interested in the career path that you’ve gone down how did that evolve? So you majored in meteorology? Is that how it started?
Brian Shields 08:35
Yeah, so going back to when I was five we did have we had a hurricane at our home and I remember my parents moving the kitchen table out of the kitchen because it was kind of darker in there and moving it into the family room because we had more windows so that after it you know the power went out so the next it was after like a week you know we’d have more light and just those things as a little kid were so important like everything changed schools were closed businesses were closed we had trees down everywhere.
Brian Shields 09:04
So it was such an impact for me as a kid and then so I had that love of weather and back then you didn’t have million TV stations you only had a few. So if if you like to weather in my mind’s become a weatherman that was it. So now these days you have a million different weather jobs.
Brian Shields 09:26
It’s a booming business, every airline every cruise line, every delivery service from you know, local ones just you know to UPS and whatever. They have meteorologists on staff because if they could reroute around a storm way ahead of time, they save billions of dollars. So now it’s a booming business, military, all that stuff and I didn’t know that as a kid and they didn’t have all that as a kid.
Brian Shields 09:51
So that’s how I kind of got into the TV weather route. I just thought that was the only thing to do. So what I love about being on TV is more about the weather. For me, that was just an avenue. I don’t even know if I answered the question you did.
Pete Newsome 10:05
And it’s something that I hadn’t thought of. And I think probably a lot of people haven’t thought of either, which is I do also associate Well, if you’re a meteorologist, you do it on TV. And that’s, that’s the function and the role.
Pete Newsome 10:18
But what you just described makes perfect sense that, you know, there are so many businesses, so many different situations where you have to know what’s coming to make business decisions as you said, that is going to have a huge financial impact, which so that didn’t, that there weren’t a lot of those opportunities back when you keep implying that you’re older than you are at work in the old days.
Brian Shields 10:43
And there weren’t a lot of schools either that had a major in meteorology. So I actually went to Villanova as a geography major, because they there was a professor there that loved climate studies, and he knew I wanted to, you know, be a meteorologist and I was like, Okay, I’ll go to grad school for meteorology.
Brian Shields 11:02
He’s a terrific guy, still a professor up there at Villanova. So, I fit Yeah, so there’s not a lot of meteorology schools. But then I ended up getting a foot in the door through an internship. I had my junior year in college and I ended up on TV at the end of my junior year in college.
Brian Shields 11:21
I was going to school in Philadelphia, and I ended up in a small market, in Salisbury, Maryland. So on Friday nights, time, or late Friday, I would go to class Friday morning, College of my senior year, I would leave around 11 In the morning, drive two and a half hours to Salisbury, Maryland, go to Wawa, I would get a sub I would get, you know, a drink.
Brian Shields 11:44
And then I would go into the TV station and they have me do the newscast. On Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night. And then Sunday night at 1130. I would drive two and a half hours back to Villanova, in the middle of the night. And then I’d be back at an eight o’clock class on Monday morning.
Brian Shields 12:00
That’s how I spent my senior year most people got to drink beer. I was doing that.
Pete Newsome 12:04
So they put you on air as a 21-year-old intern?
Brian Shields 12:07
Yeah here’s the thing, they were so desperate and I knew it. So during my internship at Fox, Philadelphia, there was a prior intern who was filling in down at this TV station, and he just stopped into the TV station to say hello. And he’s like, yeah, they can’t get somebody to hold down this job because they’re very low-paying jobs.
Brian Shields 12:28
That’s another thing about our field that people don’t know, especially the smaller markets, I mean, just very I would punch in and punch out with a clock or a time card. And so they were desperate. So I didn’t even have you usually had, you know, some sort of videotape or something like that.
Brian Shields 12:46
I didn’t even have that ready because I never practiced on-air stuff yet. I was just learning the weather part of it. But I email them or clothing, I call them and I said look, just give me a shot. I’ll drive down and just give me an audition. And I drove down. And I think they’re happy because I drove down. It doesn’t cost them a dime. I gave them an audition. It was horrible, absolutely horrific.
Brian Shields 13:11
And the chief meteorologist at the time who was a great person did not care whatsoever. She just cared that a human being was going to work the weekend so I wouldn’t have to work with her so she wouldn’t have to work the weekend, which I get because she was working like crazy.
Brian Shields 13:25
She’s like, great. Next weekend can you start? I’m like I’m in school and she’s like, well figure it out. So we’ll get it we’ll you know, we’ll help you out in any way we can. We just want you on TV and it was a colossal disaster. I was terrible. Terrible.
Pete Newsome 13:38
Are there those recordings? Do they exist?
Brian Shields 13:41
There’s one recording of my first one. It is so bad that I can’t even go back and look at it people. People like it’s not that bad. In or you know, they assume it’s not about it is the and maybe I’ll show it to you some day.
Pete Newsome 13:53
Yeah, because I was gonna ask, you know, I’m asking.
Brian Shields 13:55
It was the worst thing ever. Like if it was out there, maybe I’ll put it out there because I really have no shame and I really don’t care but it would, you know, it’d be something that would have gone viral at the time. And then as I go on my rant, I have no place to stay. I didn’t have a place to say so.
Brian Shields 14:13
The first weekend I was at a hotel, but it was I didn’t know it sounded nice. went out of business shortly after it was let’s just say it wasn’t clean. And I kid you not there was drug paraphernalia in there was one of those hotels that maybe you just stay out for a couple of hours by the hour.
Brian Shields 14:32
Okay, so I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that area at all. And I’m just a college student. It was a cheaper hotel. But one reporter let me use his apartment on the weekends. But he barely had any furniture in there. So I was sitting on a blowup mattress.
Brian Shields 14:50
I remember my first week in there I woke up and there were just cockroaches everywhere. Just everywhere it was I was living on pennies, working on pennies, whatever. And the next day I went I don’t know that I mean, I think it was Home Depot or something like that, and just a sprain his whole place getting soft because it was disgusting.
Brian Shields 15:07
But that’s sometimes I want you to get you got to get the foot in the door once you get the foot in the door. That was the most important thing. And I was doing what I love to do, but it was an interesting ride.
Pete Newsome 15:15
So that’s the question I was gonna ask you. When you look back now and it’s in it’s a funny story to it’s an impressive one that you were willing to do that. You created your own luck, so to speak. But were you happy at the moment? Were you thinking what am I doing here? Or are you thinking man, I’m living out my dream?
Brian Shields 15:33
Yeah, no, I was I couldn’t have been happier. Because at that point, too, because I still have a lot of people that are like you worked in you did that in college, you lost your whole senior year. But you know, by the time you get to your senior year in college, usually, you have your core group of friends.
Brian Shields 15:48
Actually, my girlfriend at the time was my current wife. So it wasn’t like, I needed to go out to meet people, you know, like, you know, you still hung out during the week. So I didn’t I didn’t feel like I missed much. And you know, my friends were very supportive. But it was, it was a wild ride. And looking back. I think I mean, for me, that was I will never forget that it’s, you know, it’s not everyone has to pay their dues.
Brian Shields 16:12
But it was quite the learning process. For me as a whole. I had a lot of support from, you know, my parents and stuff. But it was, yeah, you’re sitting in a blowup mattress, you’re driving down in the middle of the night, you’re going back and forth. But you do what you got to do to get your foot in the door, getting a TV job was incredibly hard back then. And it still is, it still is today.
Pete Newsome 16:32
Well, I so started doing this podcast just about two months ago, and it was in its in support of zengig.com, which is a new website that we just published. So I think you know this, I’ve been a staffing business owner for almost two decades.
Pete Newsome 16:48
And after thinking about it for a long time, I decided to create a new brand that would exist to just provide career advice and guidance. And one of the things that I’m trying to do on the podcast brings on guests who have to tell their stories of success, what is their career path and try to find unique positions and roles that people are in along the way and every story so far, I think this is probably the 10th show that I’ve done.
Pete Newsome 17:15
There’s a similar scenario where it was taking a chance it was starting from the bottom, it was not glorious in any way. But it was a necessary step to ultimately get farther down the path. And so when people see you today, they think, wow, that’s a that’s the job that I want to be at. Right.
Pete Newsome 17:37
And part of this is really intended to be a message for younger people to listen and say, Well, how do I get there? Well, it is the common theme so far with this podcast that seems to be it takes work. It takes dedication and commitment time. And time is probably the biggest hurdle for young people today because you can’t shortcut what you did. You have to go do that. Right?
Pete Newsome 18:04
And it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t handed to you. What advice would you have right now for people who because it has to be incredibly hard? The jobs are few and far between, especially in good markets. What advice do you have for those who aspire to be in a role like yours?
Brian Shields 18:23
I think like you were saying you have to make your own. Make your own luck, but help create your own opportunities and be willing to go the extra mile even my second job that I got coming out of Salisbury was a station in West Virginia. And I remember calling the news director there the boss there called me he’s like, I saw your stuff.
Brian Shields 18:45
I like your stuff. You know, we’ll we want to get you out here in Charleston, West Virginia, which was 10 hours away or so. And I said, I said, awesome. I will drive out there.
Brian Shields 18:58
And he’s like, Excuse me, I was like, I’ll drive a go Do you want me there tomorrow? I will drive out there he goes, Brian, we can fly you out here. We’re gonna fly you out here. And put just that because I had that first initial experience of hey, how can you know, you don’t want to look too weak or anything but that’s what I was like, I will drive out does that help you I will gladly do that. I want this job.
Brian Shields 19:19
I think that’s that right there before I even got there kind of sealed the deal. And it wasn’t anything I wasn’t trying to be cute or anything about it. But you know, you try to make the best of the opportunities. I also think, you know helps to be this will sound very cliche, but you know, to be a good person to be truthful to be in never, just not I think a lot of my career path is not to make excuses.
Brian Shields 19:44
I think about things that go wrong. Own up to your mistakes. That’s huge.
Brian Shields 19:48
And I’m getting a little bit of a tangent but just going back on kind of a question you said was yes, you need to create your own opportunities do the best you can interview process, but I think as an employee You know, sometimes in the workplace over the, you know, decades that I’ve worked, it’s always will that person always complains, or they, you know, a, there’s always an excuse for anything that goes wrong.
Brian Shields 20:11
It’s I had one of the toughest bosses, the top his boss ever had when I first came to Florida and, you know, owning a couple of mistakes because they weren’t my mistakes. It’s not wanting something I didn’t do. But you know, I messed up a few times. Like, that’s 100% Me and for whatever reason is like, Okay, we just moved on. So, uh, to just being genuine, truthful. And, and that’s kind of it.
Pete Newsome 20:35
It’s so big. You mentioned things that I think of often in terms of how success happens, how does one become successful? How does one person become more successful than another? And you mentioned what I would describe as enthusiasm, that that willingness to all drive 10 hours if that’s what I need to do, and be what employer prospective employer doesn’t want to hear that, right?
Pete Newsome 20:57
Everyone would and, you know, it’s a given and then, you know, to be accountable, is equally big, and everyone makes mistakes, it’s going to happen, but you have to be show vulnerability, and you have to show that, hey, I own it. And that’s who I’m going to trust, right? I’m not going to trust that person, as an employer, who doesn’t, who doesn’t own up to those things, because then I don’t know what to believe.
Pete Newsome 21:25
And so do you think those things were just kind of inherent? Did someone teach you to behave that way? It’s just who you are? Do you have any sense of where it came from? So those are amazing tricks? Their credit?
Brian Shields 21:36
I mean, that’s a, you know, that’s a good question. I would definitely say my parents, I mean, my they, they worked, they worked hard for what you know, what they got my dad’s income from a whole lot, you know, he worked he, but I think it was he would work really long days.
Brian Shields 21:55
And he always talks to me about these days now how much travel he did back then. And I’m like, I don’t remember you doing any travel all I remember is you coaching my basketball games as a little kid. And it’s funny those are the memories and you know because you know, you put in the time at work you put in the time at home, you just gotta you just got to do so I think I think it was from him.
Brian Shields 22:16
The work ethic was most you know, most likely from him if you want something you have to work for, for it. And you have to go after it.
Pete Newsome 22:23
I have to ask this because your father of three, three sons oldest is starting high school. I know that because that’s how you and I met, there are those boys, my youngest is starting high school.
Pete Newsome 22:33
And I think about those things constantly how are they going to remember me? As a father? Are they? What lessons in I teach them through my actions? Or my words, or my behavior? Do you think about that a lot?
Pete Newsome 22:46
Now, when would you think well, this is just what you learned from your dad? How do you pass that forward?
Brian Shields 22:51
I do. I wonder because I know, I know, you’re very involved dad is I’m a very involved dad. And so in my mind, I’m like, oh, they’ll remember me as you know, a coach or whatever. But you know, it’s probably going to be something that I don’t quite think it is.
Brian Shields 23:03
But, you know, I think the main thing though, is, is to be around, it’d be available best you can. And that’s not easy for all dads or moms. Because, you know, sometimes one is taken out the burden of work if you’re single parents, so I understand that, but I think that the time you can give if it’s quality time, that’s the most important thing.
Brian Shields 23:27
So even if you can’t give a ton of time, it’s the quality time so I do think about what they may think of me so, but I’m not sure it’d probably be something totally different. So I hope it’s okay. I hope it’s not too stupid.
Pete Newsome 23:38
Pete Newsome 23:38
Well, I don’t think I think The one thing I believe, yeah, there’s a lot of things I don’t know, it’s like the jury’s still out. Right? For both of us. Time will tell when there is no our age, but then I think they see the actions, right, the actions and behavior resonate much more than the words If those things aren’t consistent, then the words are meaningless, right?
Pete Newsome 24:03
So I mean, I know for you, your president, you show up you deliver on your duties as a father consistently and that’s, that’s probably the most important thing at least that’s, that’s my take.
Brian Shields 24:15
I think you hit the nail on the head there and I think that’s very important. I think showing because I make mistakes, you make mistakes, it’s not perfect. It’s like trying and caring is the main thing you’re right. It’s those actions. You know that makes a big difference.
Brian Shields 24:31
That’s a huge point you just made.
Pete Newsome 24:33
Now I know mine remember all of my mistakes so I will tell you that.
Brian Shields 24:37
100% but as long as they know you cared and you tried that’s all that matters. That’s what I was getting at, exactly.
Pete Newsome 24:42
One of our running jokes is that we’ve you know, I recommended one night this is about five years ago we were looking for something to watch on TV and I thought oh there’s this funny John Candy movie and Dan Ackroyd some, The Great Outdoors I don’t know if you remember that movie.
Pete Newsome 24:57
I remember it as being funny.
Brian Shields 24:58
I like John Candy.
Pete Newsome 24:59
Well, don’t show your boys because we got through about 30 minutes of it. And they consistently bring it up as I can never recommend a movie again because that’s it the great outdoors, it does not stand the test of time. I will I will tell you that. So when did you so you clearly improve from your audition?
Pete Newsome 25:21
And I would love to see that early tape if given the opportunity. So you were hired in West Virginia, when did you realize, hey, I’m good at this?
Brian Shields 25:31
I think in I don’t, you know, I don’t think I still don’t think to this day that I am great at the TV part of it. But I do what I do think I’m good at the communication part of it. So and I think maybe that helps me that people see that I’m not going to be the most polished guy on TV and the smoothest, smoothest guy because I just don’t think the whole TV aspect in it.
Brian Shields 25:55
But I think being in West Virginia, you know, just getting some experience helps me and then while I was in West Virginia, it was kind of someone else. My old. At the place I interned, which was Fox, Philadelphia, I got a call. And they saw some of my stuff in West Virginia, and they said, Hey, we have somebody going on maternity leave. Can you fill in and do weekends here? So here I’m like, I feel like I’m back in college.
Brian Shields 26:23
So I’m living in West Virginia. My wife and I, and asked me to work Monday through Friday, and they asked me to Philadelphia to work weekends, which is a huge opportunity. A huge that’s getting called up to the big leagues, right? Yeah. So and I’m not, but I’m locked into a contract where I am. So but I asked my boss I said, which is probably stupid, right? What do? It was crazy.
Brian Shields 26:46
But I asked him and he said Absolutely you because he again, he was a good guy. And he wanted a good opportunity for me down the road if I wasn’t going to stay in West Virginia. So then I did a mix of I would do my morning broadcast in West Virginia on Friday morning.
Brian Shields 27:01
And I would every weekend for three months, I did a mix of driving and flying. It was mainly driving and that was 10 hours. I would drive I would leave at like nine in the morning I would get there at maybe it’s less than 10 Someone could Google Map it. But I would get there in the evening.
Brian Shields 27:19
And then Friday night I would be on TV in Philadelphia. So do Friday night, Saturday night there Sunday, I would drive back. So I worked every day for three months for that opportunity. But this may sound crazy. But oddly enough when I got to when I interviewed so that was great. That was great. I had a great experience in Philadelphia.
Pete Newsome 27:40
By the way, I just want to interrupt for a second to say that’s not an insignificant thing, what you did that level of commitment that you displayed in that it’s it that’s meaningful in a very big way. You for three months straight worked every day you left your wife was to do so right every weekend.
Brian Shields 27:58
Yeah, it was a lot but I had good support, and I loved what I did. How old were you? When you then I would be 22 to 24. So I would say about 23 ish 2423 Maybe, okay. Became to Orlando when I was 2425 ish. So but I think that work ethic helped me move up quicker.
Brian Shields 28:24
And then in West Virginia, I got a call. It was the day of my rehearsal dinner. So she was my fiancee at the time, my rehearsal dinner, from a boss down in Orlando. And he wanted me to come down for an interview. So the day before I get married, I get a phone call that we might be going to Orlando, go down to Orlando to do the interview was fine.
Brian Shields 28:49
They had a lot of candidates and I already knew because while the industry already knew I was not even close to the first choice. They were they wanted these people that I work with.
Brian Shields 29:01
People I knew some I consider mentors that actually turned down the job. So I was coming in like, again, we’re not sure what this young guy could do. But at the end of my interview, I’m sitting there across from you know, my boss, future boss’s desk, and he gets a phone call and he’s like, hang on, it’s okay.
Brian Shields 29:18
So I’m sitting there, like, solid five minutes, which felt like five hours. And then he spins back around in his chair and he’s still on the phone and he looks at me and he goes, he’s on the phone. He’s looking at me and he goes, he goes, he’s sitting right in front of me. He goes, he goes okay.
Brian Shields 29:37
And then he’s in I hear him saying my name. So it’s a random phone call that comes in. And he’s saying my name. Well, it turns out that my former boss in West Virginia because he left at the time was good friends with this guy.
Brian Shields 29:49
He had no idea was there for the interview by sheer luck by God whatever he made, he called just to connect with his friends no way and couldn’t because he told him, so my old boss in West Virginia told him when I did going to Philadelphia work driving 10 hours. She hung up the phone and goes, You’re hired. And that was the end of it.
Pete Newsome 30:10
Wow, no kidding. Oh, that I love it.
Brian Shields 30:13
Terry Cole was his name. And he goes, if Terry, he goes, if you’re good enough for Terry, and you do that, he goes, you are good enough for me. It was a done deal. So before I even got back on the plane, that was it so, and then that made me feel like okay, all the hard work. I mean, that right there. And that was everything.
Pete Newsome 30:33
I love I mean, that is such a great story and such a testament to your work ethic you put in and the commitment that you had to, without knowing where it would lead, right? I mean, I saw the time you were like, this just seems like the Opportunity is knocking, I have to take advantage of it.
Pete Newsome 30:51
And again, I don’t want to won’t continue to go back to it. But it’s not insignificant what you did, it’s a big deal that you for three months, that’s a long time, it was a long time to work around the clock.
Brian Shields 31:04
I loved it, there was some adrenaline because you’re in this major Philadelphia, you know, market, which was my dream organ at times where I was in college, and you know, I had, you know, a lot of friends there. So there was some adrenaline over the first month minute, then it got wearing pretty quickly because It was tiring to travel that travel was rough.
Brian Shields 31:24
Because, you know, I’d be up at three in the morning on Friday morning, and then have to still travel by connecting through Cleveland or driving whatever man hours, and then be on TV and you know, energetic 10 o’clock at night in Philadelphia on Friday night.
Brian Shields 31:41
So that got out. And then the stress of that though is like, I didn’t want to let them down. They were all good people on both ends. So you know, if I missed my flight or something or something out, I didn’t miss my flight.
Brian Shields 31:52
But you know, if something happens, they would understand, but I knew if you know, if I didn’t get there in time, or if I didn’t, you know, something happened with my flight, there’s going to be a little cascade of events that weekend where someone would have to get called in. And, you know, I kind of felt bad In hindsight, I shouldn’t have felt bad. That’s just part of the process. But it was a little stressful, but it was great.
Brian Shields 32:11
It was good.
Pete Newsome 32:12
But you know, it’s it is so consistent, though, with, with how success happens. And it’s something that I’ve almost become obsessed with recently as spending so much time creating this website that I want to be the most comprehensive site that exists on the internet to provide career advice and guidance and everyone wants to be successful.
Pete Newsome 32:34
Success means something different from person to person, it doesn’t mean necessarily financial or titles. But if you’re going to succeed in anything you have to put in the time and effort and you know, what’s the Jerry Rice quote like I’ll do today? What others won’t so tomorrow I’ll do what others can’t or Kobe Bryant, you’re a basketball guy.
Pete Newsome 32:55
So you know all of I’m sure about Kobe is early quotes and saying, no one is going to keep up with me because they’re not going to do what I’m willing to do. You didn’t have to it was a hard choice. Right? It wasn’t the easy route. It was a hard one and you said this is the right one.
Pete Newsome 33:15
It’s really impressive. I mean, did I do want to know though, as you’re talking about the interview, how much of getting the job to be on the air is your on-air presence versus your knowledge as a meteorologist? What’s the mix? Of what’s important?
Brian Shields 33:34
That’s a great question. Because it was my boss at the time who hired me in Orlando, he knew I went to Villanova. He likes you know, he wanted which is a Villanova’s good school. In t he wanted smart people that worked for him. I think he is the only one of my bosses that ever has looked at a paper resume of mine.
Brian Shields 33:59
Like it’s all about, you know, the TV side. I mean, they want you know, they’re doing all their Google searches now and see if your name pops up in weird places. They’re checking your social media before they hire you that you know, all that stuff short are trying to find out about you from from other people.
Brian Shields 34:15
So you have to they want you to be a good person. But nobody’s asking for it at the time even you know, now we’re older so doesn’t matter anymore. But nobody at the time was checking my transcript to see if I had good grades. You know, that didn’t matter. It was really all in the name it was 50 A is more than 50 You know, 80% of it was what you could do in the box of TV than the other 20% Are you a good person? Do I want to hire you? So? Yeah, that’s what it is.
Pete Newsome 34:46
Is that still the case today?
Brian Shields 34:49
Still the case? Probably yeah, I’m pretty sure it differs on bosses. I love my bosses right now and, they really try to get good. You know, good people, 50/50 You know, they want to, you know, really, really good person, a good worker, somebody really cares about the community, then you don’t maybe that’s, that’s maybe that’s a shift, I don’t know, it’s a shift in everyone’s industry, but just because of the dynamics, they want somebody who is are looking for authentic, you know, real people who want to be part of a team.
Brian Shields 35:20
So in my boss, I don’t my bosses are my bosses, they can fire me, you know, they’re not my, you know, friends, but we have a relationship, you know, they are part of a team, and it’s okay, I like my bosses, but I know they can fire me, but it’s, they want people that can work well, on the team.
Pete Newsome 35:40
So how much of your life when you’re not on air comes into play? Now, you know, in your profession? Not you personally. But that has to be a factor, right? Where you are recognized? In public, how conscious of that? Do you have to be in your daily life?
Brian Shields 35:58
Um, it’s, I think, you know, I think my wife asked me this not that same question not too long ago, and kind of different wording. You have to be, you’re thinking about it all the time. But I think I don’t think about it now since I’ve been doing it since college. So it’s almost second nature for me.
Brian Shields 36:17
So that’s, I think that’s why she asked me, she was kind of curious what I thought, like, am I constantly thinking about what I am doing out in public? So it’s just kind of ingrained in me now. But yeah, that is, it is a factor. You can’t I mean, you shouldn’t be out there being a jerk anyway.
Brian Shields 36:35
You know, that? That’s a thing. But yeah, I mean, I do, I do have to think about it. And think about what I post on social media. That’s all a factor or behaviors a problem, but I mean, you’re a good guy, I’m a good guy. And, you know, um, you know, I shouldn’t be getting arrested anytime soon.
Brian Shields 36:52
I don’t want to jinx that. But yeah, it’s something it’s something that I think about when we’re at a restaurant or at a restaurant before where I’m at, on that a, we’re in a booth, and I’m here and my wife would be here. And then the person at the booth behind us is talking to me the whole time, the whole time. And it’s, and she has to probably be aware of it even more because she has to be so patient.
Brian Shields 37:15
My kids are great, but you know, getting stopped in Publix when we’re trying to get somewhere quickly. You know, it’s, it can take some time talking to people, but I’m happy to do it. And I told them, I’m like, you know, if somebody comes up to me, and then sort of talking to me, I was like, maybe that’s what we’re supposed to be at the time. You know, maybe they need to have a good conversation. And that’s what we’re, that’s what we’re going to do.
Pete Newsome 37:37
Yeah, I would think someone who’s not famous and recognizes that that would be, it would be really fun. It would be a great feeling to be recognized. You know, I tell my kids is a little bit off-topic, maybe. But I think it still applies when I want them to be outgoing and friendly to everyone, you know, say hi to people let them know, you know who they are.
Pete Newsome 37:57
Because everyone feels good about that. And you know, as these boys are going into high school there, yeah, they can be self-conscious of those things. And I say that there’s no bad scenario. I have actually said this to all of mine. At one time or another, where you get acknowledged by another person and you think less of them, you’re always it’s always because it boosts your spirit to go, wow, they remembered my name.
Pete Newsome 38:20
What a cool thing! Now, as someone who has the fame to a degree. Is that always the case? Or does it get old? Or are there times where you’re like, man, just leave me alone? I don’t want to be recognized.
Brian Shields 38:35
Are there times when I’m alone? I probably know, yeah, I mean, yesterday, I was out with my son and my voice was not good. And I knew and I grabbed on like we gotta go because I didn’t want to. I wasn’t talking to anyone at the time. But I didn’t want to run into anyone, because I didn’t want to use my voice too much. So that’s just a weird reason. You know, that occurrence.
Pete Newsome 39:03
But it’s that conscious for you.
Brian Shields 39:07
Because I knew I would get stopped. So I made sure you were you know, so yeah, I guess I guess so. I guess it is something I think about but most of them I love I love talking to people so it’s great. You know, I get good stories and maybe it’s an advantage of living where we live I don’t know we have a good you know, we got a mix of people around here and natives people from all over different countries, different states that are here in Central Florida.
Brian Shields 39:30
I feel like people think it’s good. I’m I don’t consider myself a celebrity. But like I look at the athletes here. I think a lot of athletes like to have it because I don’t think a ton of people really, you know, bother them. You know, it’s cool to see one but it’s kind of a how are you and then you go on your way.
Brian Shields 39:47
We’re all part of the community. So I think overall, we’re in a great place to live. So most people are just awesome. So it’s easy.
Pete Newsome 39:53
I mean, unless you’re someone who lives if you live here unless you’re just having a sad day. You But the vast, vast majority of people would recognize you. I don’t know. Yeah, just from being on TV so much on commercials and the whole thing.
Pete Newsome 40:09
But I just think of a story. I went to Boston last weekend and my neighbor across the street who was keeping the dogs was there recently and said, Hey, I ran into Ben Affleck on the tea in Boston. Last time I was there. And he looks scruffy. But he was with this beautiful girl.
Pete Newsome 40:25
And some older people, it turns out they because I guess there’s an app where you can track celebrities, but I didn’t know existed. But he, he looked it up and said, Yeah, that’s Ben Affleck. But he said I didn’t realize I didn’t look it up until we got off. But they were the only ones in this car, a train car, and they were looking at each other. And that got it. It was almost like he was describing as if Ben Affleck was waiting for him to come over.
Pete Newsome 40:44
And I thought that would if that were me, I would have said yes, it’s me. Yeah, but I was that story was just from a couple of days ago, and no one else coming on with us. I was thinking, do you get that a lot where people look at you? And you know what they’re thinking.
Brian Shields 41:02
It’s the look all the time and my wife pointed out so it’ll be especially at a restaurant where somebody’s not necessarily going to stand up and come over and talk to you. I will know immediately if somebody recognizes me, as I will, I can tell that they’re watching me or that glance was too long, or they’re, you know, or, or, or something like that.
Brian Shields 41:21
So yeah, I do know when somebody, you know, kind of recognizes you. So it’s that has to be hard, because I get recognized a lot. My voice right now is a mess. But I get recognized a lot by my voice in idle. I don’t quite understand that. Because I mean, it’s my own voice.
Brian Shields 41:38
So I don’t understand. But I’ve been told I have a voice that kind of stands out. So I will be standing somewhere someone behind me will be like, here we talk and we’ll be like, Brian, oh, no, like your voice. I knew I knew it was you because of your voice or I’ll be in 711 or something like that, you know, where I’m wearing just a t-shirt or whatever.
Brian Shields 41:58
They’re like, I recognize you because of your voice so it’s a lot of it’s, it’s I think a lot of people will look at me, and then they wait for me to talk. And then they’ll they might say something.
Pete Newsome 42:07
That’s great. I love it. So how long have you been in Orlando? Now?
Brian Shields 42:12
2006. So what’s the math there? 14 1516 years or so? 16 years? Yeah. So 16 years? A couple of days ago? Yeah. Okay. 18 years.
Pete Newsome 42:23
That’s a long run. That’s a long run. Well, I do want to know, if anyone who’s thinking about becoming a meteorologist. Just a couple of questions about that. You mentioned that I assume I was not I was a poli sci major. So I was not the most serious student I’ll just say Not that there’s anything wrong with the major.
Pete Newsome 42:47
Well, when you’re a poli sci major you graduate, you’re, you’re qualified to do one of two things. Well, one of three go to grad school, I guess. But your work in politics, maybe I’m not even sure qualifies you for that or go into sales. So of course, you know, I ended up going into sales. But I am assuming that to become a meteorologist, you know, the school is an aspect of it. It is a challenge, right?
Pete Newsome 43:12
I mean, it’s got to be you got to be really good student good. And science, needless to say, right. So how hard is it to get a job I mean, it’s been quite a while for you? But do you keeping up with the market where there are more jobs than the people right now, there has been pre-COVID? COVID made it worse, and the baby boomer generation is retiring. So there that’s going to be a problem.
Pete Newsome 43:36
In my professional opinion as a staffing person for the rest of our career and into our kid’s generation. There’s some funky stuff going on with the economy right now. But put that aside, there are more jobs and people how is that in your space?
Brian Shields 43:52
Yeah, it’s there’s a lot of jobs because the weather has expanded so greatly and there was a little shift character maybe a decade ago, it went away from maybe it was more than that maybe 1015 years ago, the TV side of it, they’re like, Okay, maybe we don’t need true meteorologists.
Brian Shields 44:14
Maybe we could just find some really good TV people that, you know, we could just teach them a little bit of weather and they can, they can do it. So they weren’t necessarily scientists, which is fine. I don’t care as long as they’re communicating the right stuff to keep people safe.
Brian Shields 44:29
That’s my bottom line. But then it’s kind of shifted back weather climate, all that has become so big. That now there’s a shift back to, you know, for the weather jobs, they want somebody very, very scientific and you know, deep into the meteorology. Fortunately, there are a lot more schools out there that have it now, but it can be it’s tough, it’s tough. The schooling is tough, so so there’s a lot of jobs put to get through the schooling is tough, and there’s a lot of math and there’s a lot of math you don’t ever need after You’re done.
Brian Shields 45:00
It’s kind of one of those, fortunately, UPS, certain schools have shifted away. Mississippi State where I have one of my degrees. They have a degree that’s tailored more to broadcast meteorology because frankly, I don’t mind math. The math I use is it was 95. Yesterday, it’s 90. Today, we’re five degrees cooler.
Brian Shields 45:19
That’s like the math I do. You know, and I don’t need to go to some, you know, school and do you know, the zillion hours of calculus, other than to impress other meteorologists. So, fortunately, certain programs have shifted away and have realized the communication pieces are so big, but yeah, there’s a ton of jobs and the schooling is not, it’s not.
Pete Newsome 45:42
No doubt. degrees, you need an advanced degree, or is it? Can you get on TV with just a bachelor’s?
Brian Shields 45:50
You could get on TV with whatever they will let you on TV with. Okay, so I mean, that is the bottom line, if they like you, if they feel whatever, you know, they can get you on. But with meteorology, you know, you can get them you could get a bachelor’s degree.
Brian Shields 46:05
And you’re, you’re good. I have a couple of bachelor’s degrees, and then I did some extra schooling after so it depends, but as far as they want, I am a certified broadcast meteorologist. So, therefore, I had to take X amount of classes.
Brian Shields 46:20
You know, that’s, that’s kind of different criteria. So there are different kinds of levels, depending on what a TV station wants, they want us all certified, or my whole team is there. It’s a group of certified meteorologists.
Pete Newsome 46:31
Okay. Nice. So that’s great information. I do want to know since it’s something you look thought about doing for a long time as a kid, what has surprised you?
Pete Newsome 46:43
What’s, you know, something that you would know, as an insider that those of us who, who don’t really have that kind of knowledge about what day your life is like is meteorologists especially one on TV? What, what’s different than what you would have expected it to be?
Brian Shields 47:00
What’s different? Let’s see, well, that’s a great question. That was a good question. I needed some prep for my job, right?
Pete Newsome 47:05
I am a professional interviewer. After, 10 podcast episodes.
Brian Shields 47:11
What is different, I think there are some perceptions things that I think are different. It’s funny, like, I’ve come across the TV ratings. That’s not something that’s very public, we, every day, I get an email that I know exactly how we did the day before. So you know, I could see, you know, someone from my competition, maybe putting something out on social media, like, Hey, we’re the best, everyone’s watching us.
Brian Shields 47:36
Like, I got the ratings here. And that’s not the case. Like, you know, there’s, there’s inside stuff that, you know, everyone doesn’t see or, you know, occasionally run across someone who likes, well, you know, seems like everyone’s watching this station.
Brian Shields 47:52
And I’m just like, No, you know, this, you know, so there’s, there’s inside Analytics, you know, like, in any job has that, but it’s interesting that we have the public dynamic, that may not know all of it. I think you’re right across most of the people I work with, it’s just great people, I’ve been fortunate to work that way, I have run into some people in other places that, you know, one personality on TV, one personality off the TV.
Brian Shields 48:22
And while you have to do different things, when you’re on TV, like you know, protect your voice and, you know, be a certain way. You know, it’s, that’s probably not a good thing you should be you know, being authentic. So there are a couple you know, a few people you come across the kind of scene have different personalities on camera versus on camera, and
Pete Newsome 48:41
You know who they are. I know who there are. No, I wouldn’t ask the two things I would like that’s what that’s the second thing I would love to know that I want to ask you for. You wouldn’t tell me anyway.
Pete Newsome 48:52
The other thing and I also want to ask you, at least not on air, I will ask you privately it’s up to you whether you share with me your opinion on the climate and what’s changing there and global warming and all of those do you get asked that a lot?
Brian Shields 49:06
All the time and in my, it’s terrible because my answers are not super popular probably with my colleagues because my colleagues, there has been a big shift to climate and climate studies, which is awesome, great. Go for it. But I just I think it’s my old school way of thinking. I’m a meteorologist, not a climatologist, right? I think a lot of my colleagues hammer me on that point.
Brian Shields 49:31
They’re like, well, you still got to know about this. If you’re not taking up you know, this cause then you know, you’re not doing your job I’ve got enough to do with being meteorologists with hurricanes and stuff to try to properly communicate that and, you know, so I in one of my professors, who’s more of climatologists back in the day, so I think I just have this built-in respect for people that do other things.
Brian Shields 49:55
And I’m not looking to jump in just because I’m a scientist in one field. I’m not a scientist everywhere. So, frankly, I don’t study that. So I don’t know. Sure I see everything that’s out there. And you know, you could call me lazy or call me whatever. But I’m busy studying meteorology.
Brian Shields 50:11
I see the other stuff. But I also know what you know, true climatologists do and they are deep into stuff. And I would just defer to them. That’s not It’s not what I do. It’s not what I do.
Pete Newsome 50:21
Man, it’s such a great answer because it’s in stark, stark contrast to what we see today where, you know, suddenly everyone’s an economist, and, you know, any anything that happens in policy that happens, right, we’re suddenly experts, we could go down the list of all the biology.
Brian Shields 50:43
Pete Newsome 50:44
Rarely, no one’s an expert in biology. That’s a different one. But you know, then, that’s what a great answer. I’m glad that came up. I wasn’t going to ask you about it, you know, because I didn’t want to put you on the spot with that. But I’m glad I did. Bring it up. Because we need more of that, right? We need more people willing to defer and say this is there’s someone who’s more qualified than me, even though I don’t probably are very qualified to answer.
Brian Shields 51:11
People see that. But when I say that, they see that as an out, you know, I’m just trying to avoid the I one of my professors with a clinic. I see what climatologists you know, the true ones do I am not that I’m not that. So I don’t. I can’t pretend to be one. So I would defer to them.
Pete Newsome 51:27
Oh, man, I think that’s such an awesome answer. Well, Brian, thank you so much. I, I could talk to you all day in the lab. Well, I do want to say before I let you go that it’s no surprise to me that when you mentioned the ratings of something that you pay attention to because you and I met because we both are coaching basketball with our sons.
Pete Newsome 51:49
And I will just go on record and say that you got the best of me, I think probably every time.
Brian Shields 51:57
We both did excellent, you know, our players could be nothing without us. And we’re both awesome coaches.
Pete Newsome 52:06
Your players were awful, and you just led to great success.
Brian Shields 52:11
They are lucky to have us.
Pete Newsome 52:13
No, but you know, you being the competitor that I knew you’d be in that regard. As I talked to you, I learned a lot about your background, and today that I did not know, and seeing what you were willing to do professionally for your career and the sacrifices you’re willing to make, I think is a great story.
Pete Newsome 52:32
And no surprise, I didn’t know what the story would be. But knowing that what you did is exactly the kind of thing I would have expected from knowing who you are and what you’ve achieved. So thank you very much for sharing that today.
Brian Shields 52:46
No, thank you for having me. I really appreciate that. I’ve been listening to some of your podcasts and they’re excellent. So thank you for doing it. I think it’s a huge help to any frankly, anyone no matter what they’re doing. So it’s awesome.
Pete Newsome 52:57
Wonderful! Well everyone thank you for listening.
Pete Newsome 53:00
And Brian one more time. Thank you so much. And I look forward to seeing you on the basketball court soon. So thank you.
Brian Shields 53:06
Definitely. Thank you.