January 28, 2009
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---Bob Smith, WRDW-TV’s chief meteorologist for 32 years, is stepping down from the News 12 weeknight anchor team. As part of his plan to semi-retire, Smith will transition to a part-time WRDW-TV Meteorologist position this fall. Augusta’s longest tenured broadcast meteorologist made the announcement Wednesday night during News 12’s 6pm broadcast.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at WRDW-TV and hope to be a part of this team for many more years,” said Smith, “but I’ve always thought a person should retire early enough to enjoy that free time. My father worked every day until the day he died, so in the spirit of my father, I’m looking forward to some time to travel and enjoy this new phase of my life.”
Out of sunny skies and rainy days, News 12’s Chief Meteorologist Bob Smith grew a career and a life’s passion of predicting the weather on his hometown television station. Bob Smith joined WRDW-TV in September of 1977. It was a dream to the then 37-year-old Augusta native. “I watched the WRDW-TV anchors every night, and then one night, there I was part of the team,” says Smith.
Smith first approached management at WRDW-TV three years ago about his goals to work toward retirement. “He’s given this station and our community over three decades,” says WRDW-TV General Manager John Ray. “I believe he’s earned a little time to relax.”
Viewers will have a few more months to watch Bob as a regular part of the weeknight team, and the television station is also planning several opportunities for viewers to wish Bob well in person.
“When it comes to the forecasting the weather in the Augusta-Aiken area, Bob is an icon,” said News Director Estelle Parsley. “We’re planning a celebration of his career at News 12, complete with a road tour of sorts over the next few months, letting Bob broadcast the weather live from communities throughout Georgia and South Carolina and inviting the public to come out and join us.”
Smith has led WRDW-TV’s Weather Team since 1977 and has been involved in broadcasting since 1962. He grew up in Augusta and graduated from Richmond Academy. He attended the Augusta School of Aviation, a four year professional pilot school, and also attended Middle Tennessee State College.
Bob has experience in a variety of fields, including flight instructor, Armed Forces Radio and Television, business owner of an audio visual center, drug prevention law enforcement as a pilot and civil air patrol pilot. He is also involved in the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the American Meteorological Society. Bob holds a Meteorology Degree from Mississippi State University and has received advanced certification for his studies of Doppler radar. Smith is also a recognized member of the National Weather Association.
In his free time, Smith has devoted time to dozens of area businesses, organizations, churches and schools as a speaker. Smith laughs, “I’ve probably given a couple thousand talks over the past 30 plus years. It’s not unusual for grown adults to tell me I spoke to their class when they were young.”
“He’s leaving big shoes to fill," says Ray.
“It’s no secret I love to travel and I look forward to seeing more of the country, the world and my grandbabies,” says Smith. “But my home will always be Augusta, and I’m just as excited about the opportunity to continue a little longer in the career I love.”
Gray Television, Inc. is a television broadcast company headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Gray currently operates 36 television stations serving 30 markets. Each of the stations are affiliated with either CBS (17 stations), NBC (10 stations), ABC (8 stations) or FOX (1 station). In addition, Gray currently operates 39 digital second channels including 1 ABC, 5 Fox, 7 CW and 16 MyNetworkTV affiliates plus 8 local news/weather channels and 2 "independent" channels in certain of its existing markets.