Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-08-05
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by David R. Guarino

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

"As in so many things with weather, Meteorology is a very imperfect science. Atmospheric Science is a very imperfect science. You know, I'm an old fashioned guy. I like to come up with a forecast myself, you know, what if the computer's wrong? Computers make mistakes all the time. ...

"I would like to think that a person wouldn't have to hide who they are for fear of not having work, no matter what your beliefs are or no matter what your lifestyle is." — Monty Webb

Anyone who has battled a Chicago blizzard or sweated through an August heatwave in The Windy City knows that the weather in the nation's third largest metropolis can often be just about as unpleasant as it gets. Bone-chilling wind chills, lake-effect mini-blizzards, and relentless summer heat and humidity make forecasting Chicago's weather a challenge for the brave at heart.

Unveiling the often unwelcome details to Chicagoans in a palatable way can be a tricky business at best, so it pays to have your ducks in a row, be as accurate and reliable as possible, and by all means be likable. Chicagoans take their news, and their weather forecasts seriously—mayors and other city officials have lost their jobs due to substandard handling of weather-related issues. Just ask former Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic, who lost his bid for reelection to Jane Byrne in 1979 when he mishandled the cleanup of a major Chicago snowstorm in that fateful year.

It is two past the hour of 5 a.m. on the WBBM-TV Channel 2 morning newscast. Mary Ann Childers and Jay Levine introduce "Weather on the 2's." Enter Monty Webb, Channel 2's local morning Meteorologist with personality to spare. Born in Tacoma, Wash., the happy-go-lucky and often mischievous Webb knows his business when it comes to jet streams, isobars and mesoscales. Monty takes us through a carefully prepared preview of the next five days of Chicago weather, having started his forecasting hours before in the Channel 2 weather station with his assistant, Mike Chesterfield, a Met graduate of Northern. The two prepare individual forecasts in the wee hours of the morning when most of us are still sound asleep counting sheep instead of hailstones.

Webb is a full member of the American Meteorological Society and received an Emmy in 1997 from the Northwest Regional Television Academy. In 1995, he was named Best Weather Anchor by the Idaho Press Association.

WCT: Monty, the first question that comes to my mind is, are you naturally a morning person? What is it like to be on the set with a smile on your face at 5 a.m. every weekday morning?

MW: ( laughs ) Some mornings it's pretty difficult, but I'm just kind of a cheerful guy. I mean it's like, my wife is always amazed because she'll call up sometimes during some of these cut-ins, and I will have forgotten to take out the garbage, all right? ( We both start laughing ) And she'll call up and she'll go, "Darn it, Monty, you did it again, you did not take out the garbage, now I've got to take it." So we're literally, I'm on the phone and they're ( the directors and camera crew ) in my ear telling me, "We've got a minute, we're coming to you in a minute." And we're ( my wife and I ) are going on and I shout "Just a minute!" A second later I'm saying, "Good morning, we have a chance of…." And I'm smiling and everything and my wife will tell me, "I hate you." Because we're going back and forth. No, I'm not normally a morning person, but you know, I try to take whatever I'm dealt and try to be happy about it. There's nothing I hate worse than hearing my alarm go off at 1:30 in the morning. And I actually set two alarms, one on the nightstand and one across the room on the dresser as a backup in case I don't hit the snooze and turn it ( the alarm ) off. Does it get any easier? No. You just learn to accept the pain of getting up at 1:30 in the morning.

WCT: Have you always wanted to be a Meteorologist?

MW: Yeah. You know, I've been interested in weather for quite a long time. I remember being interested in weather when I was in Junior High and High School and was kind of struck by the awe of Mother Nature. I remember one of the first times seeing a really good thunderstorm or a really good lightning storm. We don't get too many of those in Seattle, but we were with the family in Montana and it was in the evening and these nocturnal thunderstorms had popped up with the flashes and the booms, and I went to the window to watch. And it was just like watching Mother Nature put on this tremendous fireworks show in the sky. And it sparked my interest. And I had the wonderful opportunity of having the Air Force pay for my education provided that I provide some time for them. I spent nine years in the Air Force, from the summer of 1980 to January of 1990.

WCT: Where were you stationed, Monty?

MW: Let's see. I was stationed downstate Illinois at Scott Air Force Base. I was also stationed in Osan, Korea, and my middle child was born in Seoul. I also was in Oklahoma City for a time.

WCT: And you have three children?

MW: Yes, and we really spread them out. My oldest daughter is 20 and a sophomore in college, the middle daughter is 15 and my son is six.

WCT: The so-called Greenhouse effect. First of all, is the Greenhouse effect a myth? And if it's a valid theory, could you briefly explain it to us?

MW: Well, I wouldn't say it's a myth. I myself personally believe that it's probably hyped up. I think the media plays a major role in hyping it up saying, you know, Global Warming, we're all going to die. You can take any statistics, any numbers and make them say what you want them to say.

Some of the data they have used to say, you know, we have warmed up five degrees in the last 30 years. Well, you know they're looking at a very small set of numbers ( sample ) , and they're saying, "we've warmed up." Well, if you want to get down to it, the Planet Earth has been warming up since the end of the last Ice Age.

Some of the recent warming trends that they have cited could be caused by a number of factors. The earth's climate has a tendency to go through cycles where you'll see periods of a hundred years, two hundred years where the earth heats up or cools down and these are natural cycles.

Is the earth going through one of these cycles right now? Also within the last 50 years, there has been a massive changeover of all the weather sensing equipment that The National Weather Service uses. Plus The National Weather Service observation sites are usually in city areas which are warmer due to what is known as The Heat Island Effect. Buildings, sidewalks, cement-they trap the incoming solar radiation and they reradiate it out. So major metropolitan cities have a tendency to be five to ten degrees warmer at night than the suburbs.

So I'm not a big believer in saying that Global Warming is really happening. By the same token, is putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere a good idea? I don't think so. Should we try to figure out ways to eliminate or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases? Yeah. The bottom line is that the data is very incomplete. The modeling programs that they use to forecast how much we're going to warm up have a lot of built-in flaws.

WCT: The space program. Diesel buses. Corporate pollutants shroud the air all hours of the day and night. Do these factors influence weather patterns and how dangerous are they?

MW: All right. Do they affect weather patterns as a global? No. These things do emit greenhouse gases and greenhouse gases have been proven to cause maybe some warming. Water particles will attach to the pollutants being emitted into the atmosphere and when it starts raining, that's where you get the acid rain from. Acid rain has really done some damage to some of the forests up in the New England states. So on a synoptic scale ( park area ) , and on a mesoscale ( back door—small scale area ) yes, all of the above have an effect on weather in specific areas.

WCT: How important is accuracy in Meteorology? Would you be in trouble if more than 25% of your forecasts were inaccurate?

MW: My standard response to accuracy in TV is this: In weather, if I get the forecast wrong, people expect it because I'm just a weatherman. If I get it right, they think I'm a god. ( We are both laughing. ) So with that said, let me compare what I just said to when I was in the Air Force. In the Air Force accuracy was of the utmost importance. We forecasted in the Air Force on there was no chance of this or chance of that, so we forecasted on 100% chance of occurrence or nonoccurrence. Starts and stops of precipitation, ceiling heights of clouds, visibility, everything. But you're forecasting for just the base. And providing flight weather from point 'A' to point 'B.' In TV weather you're covering a much broader area.

WCT: What would you like your viewers to know about you that they don't know now, Monty?

MW: Oh, you know, I don't know that there's much that my viewers don't know, because what you see on TV is basically me. I mean, I chat about everything from the kids, to my wife to my lawn to having a tattoo that I got when I was in the Air Force. That's a reoccurring joke that comes up all the time.

So, I mean, basically what you see is just me. I'm just a normal guy who happens to get paid for doing the weather. For doing what I enjoy. I'm just your average Joe like everyone else. With my job, everyone just watches me work.

WCT: If Mary Ann ( Childers ) , Jay ( Levine ) and Linda ( Mc Clennan ) could critique you right now, what is one criticism they would point out?

MW: Let's see. I would probably say that I like to goof around a little bit too much. I would probably say that would be it. Especially on the morning show, you know, they're busy trying to work, or reading ahead. And you know I have my forecast done. You know, my graphics are made. And if the weather's nice, I have nothing to do but get up and talk every ten minutes. And I want to goof around. I want to liven things up. And I do like to zing Jay to see if he's on his toes, so I guess that would be it.

WCT: In your opinion, are there still reasons for TV Meteorologists to stay in the closet regarding their sexuality?

MW: Well, as far as in the media in general as well as society, I think it has become more accepted. You know, I've never had any personal experience with anyone being discriminated against because of his or her lifestyles or beliefs or religion or race. So I don't know if I have a real wide background to draw from, just because I've never seen any difference from when I started ten years ago to right now.

I would like to think that a person wouldn't have to hide who they are for fear of not having work, no matter what your beliefs are or no matter what your lifestyles are. I don't see any overt type of discrimination one way or another.


So I had some great laughs talking with Monty Webb. I also learned a fair amount from the hour we shared. I know I'll never make it as a Meteorologist, but I feel I've truly found a weatherman who I can trust and even make me laugh, this helps considerably at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. when I often arise.

If perchance you are an early riser by choice or, like me, you have to be up and about between 5 and 7 a.m., consider catching your weather forecast from WBBM-TV on the 2's with Monty Webb. Take it from me, a Chicago snowstorm is a lot easier to weather ( pun intended ) when you face it with a smile, before frostbite sets in.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Instagram excludes harmful conversion therapy groups, Born Perfect applauds 2020-07-10 - MENLO PARK, CA — Instagram announced today that it will exclude content that promotes the harmful practice of conversion therapy — a step ...

Gay News

Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast, features Julie Proudfoot interviewing Tracy Baim 2020-05-27 - On Artemisia, A Chicago Podcast #103, Julie Proudfoot interviews Tracy Baim, award-winning journalist and publisher, about her work in Chicago as an openly-gay ...

Gay News

NCLR honors SF 49ers Offensive Assistant Coach Katie Sowers, comedian Gina Yashere 2020-05-23 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The National Center of Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) today announced that they will be honoring San Francisco 49ers ...

Gay News

Comedian Cameron Esposito's new memoir digs into queer liberation, Catholic upbringing 2020-05-12 - Cameron Esposito's new memoir, Save Yourself, is the story she needed when she was younger. The lesbian comedian tracks the story of her ...

Gay News

40+ Chicago media outlets launch joint fundraiser 2020-05-08 - CHICAGO — Facing drops of revenue as high as 85 percent, 43 independent Chicago media outlets have joined forces to raise funds in ...

Gay News

Chicago foundations announce $425,000 in grants to local media covering COVID-19 2020-05-07 - CHICAGO, May 7, 2020 — The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, in collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Chicago ...

Gay News

Morrison, Asian group launch census PSAs 2020-04-29 - Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison and the American Association of Retired Asians ( AARA ) launched "Everyone Deserves to be Counted," a ...

Gay News

Autobiography reflects on heyday of Chicago LGBT media 2020-04-29 - Fort Lauderdale-based author Rick Karlin, a native Chicagoan who for many years wrote about food and entertainment, among other topics, for LGBT papers ...

Gay News

OP-ED The media needs to stop reporting about Queen Latifah's sexuality 2020-04-28 - Does the media's cat and mouse game of chase with Queen Latifah lead many of us—especially in the LGBTQ+ community—to another "Gotcha!" moment ...

Gay News

GLAAD digital event raises $225,000 2020-04-28 - On April 26, GLAAD hosted a digital event to highlight the LGBTQ response to COVID-19 and to raise money for CenterLink and local ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.