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This article is about the American television meteorologist. For the unrelated former Oklahoma State Senator, see Mike Morgan (politician). For other persons named Mike Morgan, see Michael Morgan (disambiguation).

Michael Charles Carroll Morgan (born 1963 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) is an American television meteorologist. Since January 1993, he has served as a meteorologist for KFOR-TV (channel 4), an NBC-affiliated television station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Morgan – who, as its chief meteorologist, does weather segments for KFOR's 4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts each weeknight, in addition to helming the station's severe weather coverage – is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association (NWA).

Mike Morgan
Born
Michael Charles Carroll Morgan

1963 (age 55–56)[specify]
NationalityAmerican
Alma materBachelor's degree, College of Geosciences – University of Oklahoma
OccupationMeteorologist
Years active1985–present
EmployerKJRH-TV/Tulsa (1985–1988);
KOCO-TV/Oklahoma City (1988–1992);
KFOR-TV/Oklahoma City (1993–present)
Notable credit(s)
Meteorologist, KJRH-TV (1985–1988)
Meteorologist, KOCO-TV (1988–1992)
Meteorologist, KFOR-TV (1993–present)
Spouse(s)
Marla Morgan (m. 1991)
Children2

Contents

Early life and careerEdit

Morgan was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Morgan gained his first experience tracking weather on June 8, 1974, at age 10, when his father took him on an amateur storm chase as a thunderstorm that produced five strong tornadoes in the Tulsa area (including an F3 that caused significant damage in the city's Brookside district, and an F4 that tracked from southwest of Drumright to west of Skiatook). The two parked near Oral Roberts University, as an F3 tornado that touched down near Sapulpa passed just northwest of the university.[1]

In 1977, 13-year-old Morgan was a volunteer observer with National Weather Service's Tulsa office, where he learned about the meteorological profession first-hand (he was taught to operate weather radar at age 15). Two years later, at 15, he became an intern at Tulsa ABC affiliate KTUL (channel 8), where he was mentored by the station's longtime chief meteorologist Don Woods. Morgan talked Woods into allowing him – accompanied by Morgan's father – to chase and photograph storms for the station.[1] In 1980, he began attending the University of Oklahoma, where he majored in meteorology and geosciences, and graduated with a degree in journalism.

Broadcasting careerEdit

Morgan began his broadcasting career in 1985, when he was hired to work as a weekend evening meteorologist at NBC affiliate KJRH-TV (channel 2) in Tulsa.

After working at KJRH for four years, Morgan accepted a similar position at ABC affiliate KOCO-TV (channel 5) in Oklahoma City in 1989. Within months of his arrival, the then-26-year-old Morgan was promoted to chief meteorologist, following the departure of colleague Wayne Shattuck (whom Morgan would later replace at KFOR) for a lead meteorologist job at KCAL-TV in Los Angeles. Morgan oversaw the development of broadcast weather technologies such as "First Alert," the first automated weather warning system for television use, and "First Pix", a system that enabled its "First Alert Storm Teams" (or "F.A.S.T.) storm chasing units to transmit still photographs over cellular telephone. These advances are believed to have started the "weather wars" that saw the three established television news operations in Oklahoma City each deploy their own state-of-the-art weather technology; Morgan and Gary England, longtime chief meteorologist at CBS affiliate KWTV (channel 9), engaged in a fierce rivalry of weather coverage and technology. The "First Alert" and "First Pix" systems (the latter of which earned a Regional News Emmy Award in 1991) were very similar to similar systems developed concurrently by KWTV, which had developed a similar manual-input onscreen warning system and cellular photo transmission system, both of which were unveiled days prior to those developed by KOCO.[1]

One month after tendering notice of his departure for a rival station once his contract expired at the end of that year, KOCO suspended Morgan without pay in September 1992. That October, Morgan, and former KOCO storm chasers David Payne (who would work under Morgan at KFOR from 1993 to 2011) and Jeff Piotrowski were sued by the Gannett Company (owner of KOCO-TV at the time) for breach of contract and taking computer programs, forecasting equipment and videotapes containing severe weather reports without permission. Attorney Greg Metzer contended that Morgan was named erroneously in the legal petition, and claimed that he twice informed KOCO's legal team that the tapes were in the possession of Payne's attorney.[2][3]

Morgan joined KFOR-TV on January 1, 1993, and became chief meteorologist within months of joining the station. At KFOR, Morgan also implemented newer forecasting and storm tracking technology (such as "First Video," a system similar to the KOCO "First Pix" system that disseminated frame-by-frame moving video via cellular phone lines, and "The Edge," a radar with near-real-time updated scans and satellite mapping, which Morgan claimed in 2000, provided faster updates of "20 to 25 minutes" ahead of the NEXRAD data used by KFOR's principal competitors, a claim disputed by then-KWTV weekend meteorologist Brady Brus and then-KOCO chief meteorologist Rick Mitchell)[4] Morgan has been criticized by local meteorologists for a perceived "sky-is-falling" approach to tornado coverage, either by providing too much coverage of tornadoes that do not pose an immediate life and property threat or by misidentifying benign cloud formations in thunderstorms (an issue that led to the firing of a KFOR storm chaser in 1993).[1][5][6][7]

On May 31, 2013, with memories of the devastation caused by the EF5 tornado that struck Moore eleven days before still fresh in the minds of Oklahomans, Morgan faced criticism for advising Oklahoma City-area residents that did not have an underground storm shelter or safe room to evacuate south of the projected path of a destructive EF3 tornado that was forecast to move into the city by vehicle.[8] This advice was contrary to standard tornado safety procedures, which recommend escaping a tornado in a car only as a last resort and if the storm is, at least, of significant distance from their location. (Estimates projected that the tornado could have easily killed over 500 people in the heavily congested area highways, had it not lifted before entering the city's outlying western suburbs.)[9][10][11] Morgan responded to the criticism, that "full well knowing that tornado was a very large violent monster[...] and moving directly towards [Oklahoma City], I was, for lack of a better word, [desperate] to help you in any way I could. [...] Your safety is my/our number 1 priority, and that will never change."[12]

Awards and honorsEdit

Over his career, Morgan has earned numerous regional and national awards chronicle his on-air severe weather coverage, having been honored with several Radio-Television News Directors Association awards, as well as five Regional Emmy Award wins and eleven nominations. He has also received the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Award for "Best 10 p.m. Weathercast" eleven times since 2000 (seven of those years consecutive).[13] Morgan was presented with the Oklahoma Humanitarian Award by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating for KFOR's coverage of the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak on May 3, 1999.

Morgan, along with Gary England and KOCO chief meteorologist Damon Lane, received the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award from Oklahoma Christian University in 2013, for their efforts in covering the tornadoes that struck central Oklahoma on May 19, 20 and 31 of that year.[14][15][16]

Personal lifeEdit

Morgan currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma. Since 1991, he has been married to Marla McCullough, with whom he has a son and daughter.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Holly Bailey (2015). "The Weather Wars". The Mercy of the Sky. Viking Books. pp. 98–112. ISBN 978-0-525-42749-0.
  2. ^ Judy Kuhlman (October 2, 1992). "KOCO-TV Sues Ex-weatherman". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma Publishing Company. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  3. ^ "Weather Expert Returns to State As KOCO's Chief Meteorologist". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma Publishing Company. December 27, 1992. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  4. ^ Mel Bracht (October 24, 2000). "KFOR-4's comment inflames more debate". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma Publishing Company. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Elizabeth A. Rathbun (May 10, 1999). "Officials: local TV saved lives" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Cahners Business Information. p. 19. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  6. ^ Mel Bracht (March 10, 2000). "Weather turns stormy between 2 stations". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma Publishing Company. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  7. ^ Dan Trigoboff (March 20, 2000). "STATION BREAK: Weather wars in Oklahoma" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Cahners Business Information. p. 28. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  8. ^ James Samenow (June 1, 2013). "The day that should change tornado actions and storm chasing forever". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  9. ^ Roger Edwards (2013). "Tornado Safety". Storm Prediction Center. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  10. ^ Jeff Masters (June 1, 2013). "A Night of Tornado Chaos in Oklahoma City: 9 Killed, 71 Injured". Weather Underground. The Weather Company. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "As tornadoes neared, drivers hit the road – with deadly results". NBC News. NBCUniversal. May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  12. ^ "Finally, Mike Morgan breaks his silence on Friday's storm coverage…". The Lost Ogle. June 6, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "KFOR-TV Wins 3 Awards for Reports". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma Publishing Company. April 4, 1999. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  14. ^ Wes McKinzie (September 19, 2013). "OC TO HONOR ENGLAND, MORGAN AND LANE FOR WEATHER SERVICE". The Oklahoman. The Anschutz Corporation. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  15. ^ Ashton Edwards; Mike Morgan (September 26, 2013). "Chief Meteorologist Mike Morgan to be honored for keeping others safe in tornadoes". KFOR-TV. Local TV. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  16. ^ Kevin Eck (September 27, 2013). "KFOR's Mike Morgan to Receive Award for Keeping Oklahomans Safe in Tornadoes". TVSpy. Beringer Capital. Retrieved March 7, 2018.

External linksEdit