It all started when I was only in the third grade. I did a science project on weather. I always thought it was fascinating to look at the clouds, read thermometers, and wonder why the wind blows. I was also fascinated by watching the local TV weather forecasters try to predict and explain the upcoming weather.
Believe it or not, my parents were against me becoming a TV meteorologist. They told me there just weren't enough jobs out there to make a career of it. I went to a very small grade school in northern Illinois where there were only 110 students in grades 1-8. Actually, there were only 11 in my class, and as far as I can remember, I was the only one who had his mind set on what he wanted to do for a living. Who said dreams can't come true?
After graduating high school in Antioch, Illinois, my mind was still set on becoming a TV meteorologist. My parents, who were still against it, suggested I take up Chemistry, or even join the Navy. There aren't many schools that offer a degree in Meteorology, and going to an out-of-state school was something that would be very difficult for my parents to handle financially.
So I went to junior college for 2 years, then I transferred to Northern Illinois University. It's a school that has an excellent reputation for its Meteorology program, and one that offers its students a chance to audition for their cable TV news that airs every night. What an opportunity! By my senior year, I was the main on-camera Meteorologist for the "Dekalb Evening News". Even though I didn't my degree yet, it was great being called a Meteorologist by future journalists in the newsroom.
Schooling was tough. A lot of physics and calculus. It was even harder to get my first job in television. After sending out numerous tapes, and being rejected by just about everyone, I was able to land my first job with WSAU-TV in Wausau, Wisconsin, as weekend Meteorologist. That was the break I needed.
I worked in Wausau only six months, before I took a weekend job at WOI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa. Two years later, I got the big call to come here to Dallas. I've been at KDFW for more than 30 years, and I've loved every minute of it. I can't think of a better place to live or work than here! In my spare time, I umpire baseball -- that's something I've done for almost 20 years. I'm qualified to umpire up to minor-league AA professional baseball, but I mostly call games for Pony and Mustang leaguers. If I weren't working in TV full-time, this would be my second career choice.
In my "other" spare time, I teach Meteorology at several colleges and universities in the area. It's nice being on the other side of the desk for a change.
I am also a Ham Radio operator, with a technician license. My call sign is N5OJT, and you can usually find me on Weather RACES Nets across the area, during severe weather.
I live in beautiful Cedar Hill. I'm also a big animal lover, with a black lab, 2 cats (one which weighs 32 pounds) and a large parrot.
After 32 years as a meteorologist on FOX 4, Ron Jackson announced his retirement on Feb. 9, 2014.
Ron has been part of the number one FOX 4 team that's covered major weather events, including the Super Bowl Ice Storm, the April 2012 tornadoes, Fort Worth tornado, the wildfires and the record heat years.
Ron made the announcement during the 9 p.m. newscast, saying, "It's been a great run and a privilege to serve the people of North Texas."
Click here to see him making his announcement on air.
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