As reported by Merrill Knox on January 17, 2012 11:26 AM
Morning meteorologist Justin Berk has been let go from Baltimore ABC-affiliate WMAR.
“Friday, January 13th was Justin Berk’s last day as a meteorologist on ABC2,” news director Kelly Groft confirmed to TVSpy.
Berk, who has been with WMAR since 2003, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TVSpy.
On Friday, Berk made a bet with Gene Norman, the chief meteorologist at KHOU in Houston, on the outcome of the Baltimore Ravens-Houston Texans playoff game. Terms of the bet dictated the loser had to wear the opposing team’s jersey on the air.
“About that bet w/ Texas weatherman,” Berk wrote on Facebook, “there is more to the story. I won’t be in on Monday, so hang on here for more.”
Lynette Charles was the meteorologist on this morning’s WMAR newscast.
I wrote about Berk's bet with Houston meterologist, Gene Norman here.
1/18/12 - UPDATE:
This is Justin Berk's official statement as posted on his Facebook page —
Yes it is true!
I no longer work at ABC2
Friday (the 13th) was my last day on TV at WMAR and I could not have scripted it better. We had thunder, sleet, and snow overnight into our show. OK, so we didn’t get the dusting of snow to stick around the beltway as I forecasted, but that was perfect. Things don’t always work out as we expect, and I embrace that. My last day on TV was more than the repeated 90 seconds I got to tell the weather (or more if I blew through a time cue), but I was able to show the school I visited the day before with my Wind for Change program. I was proud to share the students that helped us raise over $3,200 for the Cool Kids Campaign. To me, that was invaluable. The irony of the day was that I went to speak at my son’s school about the weather and TV right after I left the station. We still had a great time!
WMAR and I were unable to come to an agreement. It is that simple. First I want to be clear, it had NOTHING to do with that Ravens bet on TV with the Houston Meteorologist last Friday. That was pure coincidence and man, did Gene Norman got off easy. . It wasn’t money. Oh, and it definitely had nothing to do with a couple of missed calls for a dusting to an inch of snow near the beltway this winter ;-) I may love and push snow, but I stand by my record as a forecaster. I learn from every event, hit or missed. Those who have followed along on this page have seen me offer up a discussion after many big storms with hopes that you will grade my work. This includes the good AND bad comments. Anyway, the details with the station I am sorry I can’t get into. There is a little sadness as this chapter closes, but nothing good can get accomplished if I focus on anything bad here. What I can say is that I had a real smile on my face that day and since. This is a GOOD thing, and I truly believe that.
By the numbers:
14 Years on TV in Baltimore (20 total)
5 years at WBAL
9 Years at WMAR
2 solid hurricanes in Ocean City and one near miss
100s of schools visited
$30,000+ raised since last January with Wind for Change for Cool Kids Campaign
Not enough snow storms ☺
The rest of this is a bit more personal. Please understand that I had my wife proofread this for fear that it might come off the wrong way (arrogant or egocentric). I am sincere, and wear my heart on my sleeve. This is a pivotal moment that may be the end or transition of my career. I have decided to keep this part below since I feel like many of us have developed a little extra personal connection here online. I do not want to run from that now, especially with the tremendous support many of you have given me before I even said a word.
This platform on Facebook is more valuable than I can explain. This has never been about me as TV guy to fluff my own feathers. This is just me, a guy who loves science, nature, awesome photos, neat or quirky stories, and the opportunity to share a little of myself (off camera) with anyone who wants to join in. I am grateful of how many of you have taken the time to share a bit of your world with me and make this part of your daily routine. I love the opportunity to help generate a conversation with so many that have not met, and share important information as a storm moves through our area. That happened with a tie on in the morning, at my gym, in my boxer shorts on the couch at night, or just out on the weekend. Guess what? THAT WILL NOT CHANGE! I AM STILL HERE! This social media thing is the future and I intend to continue to be part of it. For now it doesn’t pay my bills, but it’s something I enjoy. Whether you like it or not, we are friends- even if that sounds cheesy. So if you live out of the area or just don’t wake up early, NOTHING WILL CHANGE. I will still be on Twitter as well @JustinWeather
For those who have watched me over the years, Thank you. For Baltimore Magazine recognizing me three different years- Thank you. To all of the people I’ve met in the industry, at the stations, in schools, and around town, THANK YOU for letting me be part of this community. I was born and grew up in New York, but I met my wife here, and we are raising our family here. That is what it is all about.
The loss of my position on that station may cause some to think there is a loss of prestige, and I am okay with that. It is the positive response I have already received that has proven to me that this is the right move. My oldest son cried a little when I told him (I waited until after his birthday), but he now realizes, as I hope you do, that this is life. Things change. “You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need”. Jagger was right. My family has already been more than supportive. While I may get to work on my goatee and will play ‘Mr. Mom’ while my wife works at her teacher/education store, I will not be home eating Bon-Bons. However, I might start a poker club for coupons with the neighbors in Michael Keaton’s honor, but that is about it.
So this is put up or shut up time. I put out the positive vibe knowing that it will come back. You have been here to be part of that. I have decided to embrace all that comes in life and make the good things happen. They surely have, and that will continue in whatever capacity.
Just two weeks ago I was named on the Board of Directors at Cool Kids Campaign. I am honored. We WILL reach my goal of $100,000 in the first three years of Wind for Change. *We still have dates open for school visits, and it seems like there are no time restrictions for the near future :-).
I have been with Stevenson University since they were Villa Julie College in 2000. I teach an online class, am serving my second year on Faculty Council, and was recently named on the board for the School of Sciences expansion. I am proud to be connected with the fine people at that institution and hope to be part of their continued success.
I am also proud to be an advisor for Foot’s Forecast. There is great work being done with the student’s and I look forward to taking a larger role with them as well. This also includes the work I did with NASA GODDARD on NPP this summer. I hope to be part of the next satellite, GOES-R as well.
Personally I was a shy kid, yet for some reason wanted to do this TV thing since I was at least 8 years old. I’ve been through some really rough stuff in my early childhood, then I almost lost my leg at 14, and I didn’t know I had dyslexia until I was in my second year at Cornell. I made it through it all and it helped shape my value on life and people. I have seen much worse, so this is just a speed bump. It has to be. I got to do what I wanted for so long, and many more things I never expected as well. I am lucky for that. I still have more to do and I want to work! Whether it happens to be back on TV or not, I can’t say for sure. Baltimore and all of Maryland have already given me so many opportunities that I am grateful for, and I know a better road lies ahead.
I still have #Faith-in-the-Flakes. Do you? Are you with me? Then please stick around. There are so many of our neighbors who have also lost work. My case may be different, but it is still a change. I will not hide. I will not whine. I will however use this platform to share a little of my process and hopefully help encourage others along the way. The rest of my presence will remain mostly about our weather
So…. anyone want to publish my children’s books? Anyone want to help maximize this social media? I still have a mortgage and stuff to take care of… so let’s get to it! As a couple writes every morning on their Twitter feed before working out at 5am, #RiseNGrind