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Sally Ann Mosey: Little Miss Sunshine
10/25/2008 - By by Leigh Dana Scheps
Photography by McKay Imaging
Little Miss Sunshine
When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing you did? Put on your glasses? Turn on your cell phone? Eat breakfast? Whether you reached for your glasses or contact solution, already had your cell phone on, lying next to you in bed, or if you decided to skip breakfast, we all probably have this in common – we all looked outside and checked the weather. Or maybe you just turned on the TV to WNBC to check the weather. If you did, there’s a good chance you saw SallyAnn Mosey giving you the day’s forecast.
SallyAnn has been WNBC’s weekend meteorologist since 2006, and resides in Holmdel with her husband, Jim, and four children, Mitchell, 13, Steven, 10, Mark, 6, and Katrina, 4. SallyAnn had a long journey to get to where she is now – in the number one television market (there are 212 markets). Like any other newscaster, She worked her way up the ladder, getting her first job in Buffalo. Even before her job at the local Buffalo television station, SallyAnn was watching the weather, because the weather in upstate New York is so extreme. She would look outside and see snow piled up in her backyard, witness water spouts pouring into Lake Erie, and observe storms rolling in.
The changing climate in Buffalo intrigued SallyAnn, and it became her passion…a passion where, yes, her hours are erratic (her shift starts at 3:30 am on the weekends). But whatever the hours are, SallyAnn doesn’t mind because it’s her job that makes her tick, not the alarm clock. Living In Holmdel got a chance to discuss her career and the people who supported her on her way to the top. At the time of this interview, which took place outside on her patio, it was a dry 83 degrees, sunny, with not a single cloud in sight.
LIH: You moved here two years ago. How did you end up in Holmdel?
SAM: Our biggest concern when we were looking for a place to live, because we have four kids, was finding a place with an excellent school system, its proximity to the city, its proximity to the shore. It’s perfect (laughs). You don’t know anywhere better do you?
LIH: Having grown up my entire life here, no, I don’t. So, what’s the best part about living in Holmdel?
SAM: I would have to say the people. I have found really great friends and people in Holmdel.
LIH: Do people recognize you around town? I heard you spoke at career day at Indian Hill School. Did the kids know who you were?
SAM: I don’t notice it. The people I’m with will notice it. They’ll say, “Oh, that person over there.” [My friends] will hear my name and I don’t hear it. They’re more in tune with it than I am. At first the kids at Indian Hill said, “I didn’t know she was here.” That’s because I just got here. But now the kids will come up and say, “I saw you here, I saw you there.” We’ve got a lot of aspiring meteorologists in Holmdel!
LIH: Do you think that’s because you spoke at career day?
SAM: Oh, I don’t think so. But one thing I tell everybody when I go to the career days is that if you can find out what makes you tick, find out what your passion is…then you will be successful. It doesn’t matter what it is. Success is measured in so many different ways, and it’s the one thing I can say to kids over and over.
LIH: So, tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up?
SAM: I was born in Woodbury, New Jersey – a suburb near Philadelphia. But my parents moved to Buffalo, New York, when I was a few weeks old, so I grew up in the suburb of Buffalo, called Lakeview. That’s where I met my husband. We met in the first grade and didn’t date until senior year. The senior prom was our first date.
LIH: And a few years after the prom, you got your start in broadcasting coincidentally, at an NBC affiliate in Buffalo. Now you’re at WNBC in the number one market. How did you get there?
SAM: I was an airborne traffic reporter in Buffalo. That’s where I first started. I was going to school (at University of Buffalo, for English and Communications) and taking flying lessons because I was afraid that if something happened I would crash! I was only 19 or 20 years old. We’d do stalls…pull back the plane to make it stall. Guess what you’d do to make the engine start? You’d have to face down into the ground to make the engine start again. It’s so against how your heart feels, but they make you practice it. [After reporting traffic] I got a weather position in Buffalo. I got married, moved down to New York City and repeated the same thing, where I was a morning radio newsperson and an airborne traffic reporter. I worked for Metro Traffic, which was [located] in the World Trade Center. I was there for the bombing of ’93. Then I got a position at WABC as a fill-in weathercaster. Then I got a full-time reporting gig in Connecticut. I was a reporter there before I got hit by the weather bug again. I worked for a fantastic man named Dr. Mel Goldstein. He was inspirational in a big way for me to get my meteorology degree. He was the first one who said, “Walk outside and look. And you see that? That’s what’s going to help you determine what the forecast will be in the next 24 hours.” After working in Connecticut, I took the weathercaster/reporting position in Pennsylvania.
LIH: Did you ever think you wouldn’t make it?
SAM: New York’s the largest market, and I’ve always strived to be here. I’m thrilled I actually made it to the number one market. What I always tried to do was be persistent, and I knew that while I wanted to get to New York, life takes you whichever way it wants. You have to go with the opportunities you get and just be ready for when the opportunity affords itself. I never gave up that hope. Listen, I’m in Philly at WPVI and I’ve been there for 8 years. I’ve got a really good gig and I’m working weekends. At that point I’m thinking, I’m set. I’m not going to move. I’ve got four kids. Who would get up and move? I had an intern [at WPIV] who wanted to be a meteorologist. He’s with me for one summer. The next summer he says, “Can I do it again?” I said, “Yeah I’d be happy to have you work with me.” I teach him everything I know on the computers. Then, there’s an opening as a weather producer at WNBC in New York City. He gets the job and he’s still in school! The intern turned weather producer calls me…they’re looking for a fourth meteorologist. “Do you want to come to the city?” I said, “They’re never going to hire me. I’ve got four kids. But I’ll tell you what – I’ve got a tape. I’ll send it to you.”
LIH: Why did you think they wouldn’t hire you?
SAM: Because I was working for WPIV –the most watched station in the country. Everyone who works there knows you can spend your entire career there. They never get rid of their people. So, it was during the holidays, and all my kids were home, and the [WNBC] news director was calling me. I ran upstairs and closed the bedroom door for privacy. I told him right from the beginning that I have four kids. Because I thought if they don’t want me, I’m going to tell him all the things that may not be an advantage. Then I’m going to tell them why they want me. And they hired me! My intern [turned weather producer] got me the job. There is something about what goes around comes around. He got me where I am today. He was like my agent. When I wanted to get to New York, it wasn’t about money. It was the top of where you could be in my industry, and I wanted to have that kind of success. I didn’t concern myself with whether I had made it. You forge your path and you have fun doing it, and if you love what you do, does it matter at that point?
LIH: What gave you the weather bug to begin with?
SAM: I lived on Lake Erie. We would watch the water spouts over Canada from our backyard; we would watch the storms rolling in. It was exciting, but I didn’t know much about it.
LIH: You did eventually, after getting your meteorology degree. What did that entail?
SAM: Well you have to take math and science classes. I tell kids in schools if you’re good in math and science, consider meteorology because there aren’t a lot of women who are meteorologists. I didn’t want to just ‘weather girl’ it. They can’t call you a meteorologist unless you are one. You have to have a degree, and it wasn’t easy. I had kids at that time. We were all doing our homework together (laughs). I’m actually thrilled to have accomplished that. It takes good people around you to fire you up and get you pumped about what you’re doing. When I first started hardly anyone had a meteorology degree. It was more of “She looked good. Does she talk okay? Put her on!” But the public spoke and said they didn’t want someone who might look okay but not know what they’re talking about, especially when it (the information) can be instantaneous now. We can show you things as they’re happening. We had that tornado warning in New York the other day, and we were able to speak about it. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t do it.
LIH: How does it feel, putting people in a good mood or a bad one based on the weather?
SAM: I have to tell you that Holmdel is better serviced than it’s ever been! I will tell people [that] when we’re talking about a scattered shower, I really mean around the Pocono region. I say that because I know my friends in Holmdel are going, “Scattered showers? I can’t have that party!” You can have that party (laughs). Invite me to the party. So I try to be as specific as possible because I realize there are all these different areas: Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Weather is an inexact science; computer models may agree it’s going to snow and then it doesn’t snow. I definitely give it my best because I want to be right. Sometimes I actually get too brave, where I get very specific and pinpoint an hour. Every once and a while you’ll get a renegade shower, and my friends will call me (laughs), “There’s a shower out here!” …Only over your house!
LIH: Do you ever say to your family, ‘Don’t forget an umbrella and rain boots – there’s a 60% of showers?’
SAM: (Laughs) Not the rain boots, but I have said it and I’m going to tell you honestly, mine are like any other kids around. They will leave without their sweaters; they will leave without their jackets. I will sit there running down to the bus stop going, “You’ll need this later!” It’s like it is with every family. You can tell them what you know, but sometimes they don’t always listen to mom. I’m still just mom.
LIH: Who is your role model?
SAM: My mom, because she’s always been true to herself and how she feels. She’s the one who said to me when I was doing weather and wasn’t a meteorologist, “You get back in there and get that degree.” She kept telling me, “You won’t be happy until you complete it. You’ve gotten so far…keep going. You keep applying, you keep doing.” You want that kind of role model, as traditional as she was. Make yourself happy and everything will fall together. If you’re happy, your family’s happy. As long as you’re pleased and happy, those around you will be as well. That’s one thing she’s taught me. She never said, “Oh, you have a baby, what are you doing?” While on maternity leave, and I’ve been on it four times already, after 6 weeks I get a little anxious to go back to what I love to do. My mother always knew that I wouldn’t be the person who I am today if I did not have the opportunity to do what I wanted to do. I think my husband sees that, too. It makes me tick. It makes me happy and complete.
LIH: Now to charity. You’re an active member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Did you get involved because someone close to you was affected by this disease?
SAM: It did not start out as something I had a personal interest in, but now has become…hugely. It started because I was in Buffalo at the time and a friend of the family asked my parents if I’d be interested in being on the board. I didn’t even know what it entailed but I said I’d be interested. I didn’t do the board the first year because I didn’t know enough about [the organization]. So I went and got involved. That was my first taste of what juvenile diabetes was about; I had no real knowledge of it. Since that time, my cousin has two daughters with juvenile diabetes, and when I’m pregnant I get gestational diabetes, which is a short term condition for just when you are pregnant. People don’t realize the magnitude of diabetes. The American Juvenile Diabetes Foundation does very good work as well. I think people think of it as a more controllable disease, but a lot still happens with folks who have diabetes. Certainly it’s something that I’m proud of, for being active for so many years. I’m lucky because I also get to be a part of many organizations because I grew up doing these live shots. JDRF is certainly the first one I got involved with and I’ve maintained my involvement with them. My kids enjoy it now, too, and they come when we do the walks. It’s nice, it’s fun. I hope I’m teaching my children something, too.
LIH: Any involvement in Holmdel?
SAM: I help the Holmdel Excellence in Education Foundation, but they have to have their parties on Mondays or Tuesdays or I can’t go (laughs)! They have this crazy fundraiser. All my friends go and I’d love to go, but unfortunately my schedule hasn’t allowed me to be active. I am involved with several liaison groups at Village School, Indian Hill, and at Satz. I am also on the Holmdel Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse. And, if we had a live shot here, I’m certainly here. If we had something happen at five in the morning, if [the community] wants me to go to, I’m sure the station would certainly support it.
LIH: That’s wonderful, because some people don’t get involved at all.
SAM: You’ve got to be active in your community. That is your life…your family and your community, right?
LIH: Tell me something that people don’t know about you that you’d want them to know.
SAM: I couldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the family support that I have, and that goes right to my husband. I wish he were here for you to meet him because everyone who’s met him knows he’s a tremendous guy. He’s been so supportive all the way. He’s known me since first grade, so I guess he knows what makes me tick, but he’s been a rock and very supportive.
LIH: What do you love most about your job?
SAM: Going out into the field and meeting new people.
LIH: What kind of fan mail does a meteorologist get?
SAM: Yes, you have to [read it all]. Now I get mostly e-mails, not letters. People don’t write letters.
LIH: What do they write in the e-mails?
SAM: A lot…brides ask about the weather. I usually invite them to call me the morning of, and I will look at the radar to let them know when the best chances of showers are because I know their whole day revolves around this.
LIH: What’s the biggest flub you’ve ever made on air?
SAM: (Laughs) Probably my first time on air [in Buffalo] when I went in front of the Chroma Key wall without my clicker. I forgot the clicker! It was a big one. You try talking for 2 ½ minutes about the same map. That’s hard. And, it was my very first time; my heart was pounding. I was too new yet to say, ‘Oh my goodness, I forgot my clicker!’ I wouldn’t do that today if I forgot it. I’d say, ‘Let me run over and get that.’ And I’d run back, and no one would even care.
LIH: If you could report the weather from any place on earth where would it be?
SAM: I love the challenge. So I loved [reporting in] Buffalo because of the lake-effect snow. It’s a challenge for anybody. That’s when you do need your boots. Outside of the challenge [of it], Aruba would be nice.
LIH: If you didn’t like the challenge of reporting the weather what would you have done?
SAM: I’d be a happy mother. As I said to you before, I still think I would be successful, because I would follow whatever it was that was working for me.
Barnacle Bills, Rumson and Porcini’s, near Philly
Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel
Forest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, Enchanted
Three people you’d like to have dinner with:
Mother Theresa, Al Gore, and Jerry Seinfeld
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