Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Favorite Class: “A film class on Alfred Hitchcock”
Favorite weather phenomenon: “As a native of upstate New York, lake-effect snow!”
Advice to Students: “Take the internship. Hands-on experience is invaluable.”
Winter storms bring all types of surprises to New York’s Hudson Valley. The notorious blizzard of ’93 brought Kelly Cass ’90 mountains of snow, driving winds, and an incredible opportunity.
At the time, she was a meteorologist for WRGB-TV, the CBS affiliate which serves New York’s capital region. She was one of the few broadcasters at work when the storm struck, and spent several days hunkered in the studio covering the historic blizzard. In the end, she received the New York State Broadcasting Award for Best Storm Coverage.
A few years later, she received a call from the Weather Channel, which was interested in hiring her, but she was on the verge of renewing her contract with her Albany station.
“I was really torn between the two,” she says. “On the one hand, it was the Weather Channel, but my family and my husband’s family were in New York. On the day I was to sign my renewal contract, the winds literally blew the papers out of my hand. I took that as a sign. I never did renew that contract. Later the same evening, the Weather Channel called me back and gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
Ms. Cass joined the Weather Channel in 2000. Together with Bill Keneely, she co-anchored the weekend morning program for several years before transitioning to weekday evenings. She is one of 800 employees (40 of whom are on-camera meteorologists) at the TWC, one of the few remaining privately-owned cable television channel.
Unlike many news anchors, whose programs are entirely scripted, Ms. Cass uses maps and video and narrates the weather as she goes along. Her day begins around 2:30 in the afternoon with briefing sessions. After reviewing the day’s headlines and events, she moves on to hair and makeup, and pre-show preparations, before going on air at 5:00 p.m.
A native of Poughkeepsie, New York, Ms. Cass earned her associate’s degree at Dutchess County Community College. She came to Adelphi after spending a year in Seoul, South Korea. After graduating with her degree in communications, she turned down a public relations job offer from Bloomingdales to return to WTZA-TV in Kingston, where she had been an intern.
At WTZA, Ms. Cass worked behind the scenes as a news writer and producer, but she frequently snuck onto the empty set to practice. That practice has certainly paid off; today her weekday program is seen in 96 million homes across the country.
In her spare time, she balances her career with a busy home life. Ms. Cass has three young children and is an active volunteer in her Atlanta suburb.