OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR) — SUNY Oswego will welcome one of its own into the classroom this fall as Al Roker, a national weather anchor on NBC’s TODAY and co-host of the third hour of TODAY, will teach a broadcasting course entitled “Camera Ready: Developing Your On-Air Persona” (BRC 497).
A generous supporter of his alma mater, Roker provided SUNY Oswego a gift to name the Al Roker Television Studio, which is operated by the student-run television station (WTOP), and teamed up with Lou Borrelli ’77 to name the annual Media Summit in honor of a mentor, Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell.
Roker, a 1976 SUNY Oswego graduate, will work with fellow SUNY Oswego faculty members including assistant professor of communication studies Michael Riecke, former anchor at WSYR-TV, and adjunct professor of meteorology Vanessa Richards, a 2008 graduate of SUNY Oswego and TV meteorologist for Spectrum News.
Together, they will help students explore and learn what it takes to stand out from the pack and apply their skills and knowledge to succeed as an on-air personality in today’s competitive media environment.
Roker and his co-professors will discuss with students the methods for connecting with an audience through storytelling, personal branding, presentation styles, on-camera appearance and more, with the goal of creating a demo reel.
In addition, students will analyze the work of legendary on-air talent in television, radio and digital media as well as examine the characteristics that helped them succeed.
“Al Roker has been a loyal ambassador for Oswego throughout his career, generous in sharing his love for the college,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “Oswego is honored that he has now chosen to return to the college classroom to share his talent and experiences with the next generation of broadcasters. Al’s unique background in broadcasting as a weather anchor, journalist and renowned television personality provides Oswego students with the ability to explore today’s complex broadcasting and communication environment.”
“As a freshman at Oswego, I was working in the campus television studio, while my friends at big private universities never touched a piece of equipment until later in their college careers,” said Roker. “I’m excited about giving back to my alma mater, educating future journalists, and providing Oswego students with many of the same advantages I was given.”
Roker joined TODAY in January 1996. From July 2009 to September 2015, Roker served as co-host of the morning show “Wake Up with Al” on the Weather Channel. Until January 2000, he also served as the weekday weather forecaster for News Channel 4’s early evening newscast Live at 5 on WNBC-TV, NBC’s flagship owned and operated station in New York City. Roker came to WNBC-TV as a weekend weathercaster in December 1983 from WKYC-TV, the NBC television station in Cleveland. Roker began his broadcasting career while still in college by landing a job as a weekend weatherman at WTVH-TV in Syracuse in 1974.
After graduation he moved on to weathercasting jobs in Washington, D.C. (1976-1978) and Cleveland (1978-1983).
Roker has been named “Best Weatherman” twice by New York Magazine. He is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Seal of Approval and has been a pioneer in the use of computer graphics for weathercasting. Roker has won three Daytime Emmy Awards as part of TODAY’s recognition as the best morning newscast (2007, 2009, 2010).
In 1994, Roker founded Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. (ARE), a thriving multimedia company involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video, and public television projects. ARE produces programming for a diverse clientele including NBC News, Lifetime Television, A&E, The History Channel, E!, Discovery Networks, PBS, TV ONE, Oxygen, The Cartoon Network and NBC Television Stations Group.
Roker is a bestselling author with 12 acclaimed books to his credit: “The Morning Show Murders,” “The Midnight Show Murders,” “The Talk Show Murders,” “Al Roker’s Big Bad Book of Barbecue,” “Don’t Make Me Stop This Car: Adventures in Fatherhood,” “Al Roker’s Hassle Free Holiday Cookbook,” “Never Goin’ Back : Winning the Weight Loss Battle for Good,” “Big Shoes: In Celebration of Dads and Fatherhood,” “Been There Done That: Family Wisdom For Modern Times,” “The Storm of the Century,” “Al Roker’s Extreme Weather” and “Ruthless Tide.”