FPREN introduces new Chief Meteorologist Jeff George
Jeff George has been named the new chief meteorologist for the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN). George comes to FPREN by way of KOKH-TV (FOX 25) in Oklahoma City, where he had worked since 2007 serving 14 years as chief. After a seasoned TV broadcasting career, George comes to FPREN with a desire to make an impact and seek a brand-new challenge in his career. “That’s what’s important to me,” George said, “is making a difference.”
FPREN is a collective of 13 public radio stations that reach Floridians through radio broadcasts and online stories containing critical information during extreme weather events. The organization is headquartered at WUFT-FM/TV within the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. FPREN was honored with the Community Lifeline Award in 2019 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for its excellence in public service.
A native of Pittsburgh, George found his path to meteorology through service in the Air Force, which he joined in 1991. After stints in Florida, Mississippi and Italy, George found himself stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana as part of a combat weather unit. Enjoying this "courageous” challenge for many years, George soon felt it was time for something different again. In 1999, he joined KALB-TV seeking a new challenge. He had developed a friendship with the chief meteorologist who insisted George give TV broadcasting a shot. “This is where I needed to be,” George said. He then spent the next 20-plus years in TV broadcasting serving markets in North Dakota, Ohio, Texas and Oklahoma before joining FPREN this June.
When it comes to George’s goals at FPREN, he is most excited to “provide forecasts and safety measures for the entire state of Florida and South Carolina" in this new role. “I’m looking forward to promoting safety a much larger scale,” George said, “while at the same time, on a smaller scale, I’m excited to mentor broadcast students and get them ready for the TV world. That excites me as much as anything.” In addition to reporting weather statewide, FPREN also trains students in the College of Journalism and Communications for a future in forecasting. After so many years of experience, George said he is ready to start passing that knowledge along to the next generation.
George wants the public to know the staff at FPREN look deeply into the science of weather when making determinations about safety. Because more than anything, George is passionate about the people of Florida. “We legitimately care about people and their safety,” he said. “Our job is to keep people out of harm’s way and make sure they are aware of every hazard associated with every tropical system. Whether that be new information or reminders, the bottom line is that our mission is to make sure that everyone and their families are taken care of before, during and after big events.”