Skilling at the 2017 Chicago Pride Parade
Thomas Ethelbert Skilling, III
February 20, 1952
|Family||Jeffrey Skilling (brother)|
The oldest of four children, Tom Skilling was born in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois, where he attended West Aurora High School. While in high school Tom began his career in broadcasting at age 14, working for WKKD and WKKD-FM. Skilling observed that WKKD's forecasts were inaccurate because they were for Chicago and not Aurora, so he approached WKKD and offered to forecast the weather for several days, with the condition that if his forecasts were accurate he would be hired to host his own weather program. Skilling's forecasts were accurate, and he was hired to forecast Aurora's weather three times a day. At age 18, he began working at WLXT-TV in Aurora.
Skilling attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison to study meteorology and journalism. While attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he worked at WKOW-TV and WTSO radio, both in Madison. In 1975 Skilling took his first major-market television position, becoming the lead forecaster at WITI-TV in Milwaukee. At WITI, he delivered his forecasts with the "help" of the station's resident sock puppet mascot, Albert the Alley Cat.
Skilling returned to the Chicago area and joined WGN-TV on August 13, 1978. He is currently WGN-TV's chief meteorologist and is rumored to be the highest-paid local broadcast meteorologist in the United States. He also writes the daily weather column in the Chicago Tribune. His weather broadcasts have always featured the latest technology in computer imagery and animation techniques. He has long been hailed for his in-depth reports and striking accuracy, perhaps best highlighted by his correctly predicting the Groundhog Day blizzard almost two weeks before it paralyzed the Chicago area. "Skillful", as his late WGN-TV colleague Bob Collins called him, was consulted for the movie The Weather Man, which was set in Skilling's hometown of Chicago at a fictionalized version of WGN-TV.
Skilling is under contract at WGN until 2022.
AMS and FermilabEdit
Skilling is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. He hosts annual tornado and severe weather seminars at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. 2013 marked the 32nd year of the seminar and the first that featured presentations specifically on climate change.
Awards and honorsEdit
- In January 1995, Tom received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.
- Asteroid 91888 Tomskilling, discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in 1999, was named in his honor. The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on October 8, 2014 (M.P.C. 90379).
- "(91888) Tomskilling". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- "Tom Skilling", Chicago Tribune. Accessed January 3, 2013
- "Boy, 15, Forecasts Aurora Weather for Radio Station", Chicago Tribune. January 4, 1968. p. W2.
- Van, Jon (October 19, 1995). "Cartoon characters and puppets are gone from TV weather segments". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
-  Chicago Magazine - The Cult of Tom.
- "Rain or shine, 10-year renewal keeps Skilling at WGN". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
-  WGN-TV 9 - WGN-HD Biographical listing for Tom Skilling.
-  Official web page of the Tom Skilling Tornado Seminar
- "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved January 23, 2020.