Chip Maxham

Chief Meteorologist at WETM-TV

Location:
101 E Water St, Elmira, New York, United States
Company:
WETM-TV
HQ Phone:
(607) 733-5518
Wrong Chip Maxham?

Last Updated 6/14/2017

General Information

Employment History

Media Line

Meteorologist  - WCBD-TV

News 2

Research Assistant  - Florida State University

Education

B.S.  - Atmospheric Science , Georgia Institute of Technology

Bachelor's degree  - Earth and Atmospheric Science , Georgia Tech.

Master's Degree  - Meteorology , Florida State University

Web References  

Rodan the Weatherman - mountainhomemag.com

When talking to people about Chip Maxham, forty-one years old, the chief meteorologist for WETM-TV in Elmira, there are words like "cool," "family guy," "community-minded," "awesome," "honest," "guts," and, maybe even a little bit "shy."
That latter description may come as a bit of a surprise to those who presuppose that television personalities are, in many if not all ways, extroverted. This may be the case with some, and even speaking with Maxham you get the idea that being shy and introverted is the default, out-of-the-box software running his computer. A longtime friend of Maxham, Jason Law, who started out in the business with Maxham in Greenville, Mississippi, and now works for a station in Boston, Massachusetts, says, "They think that everybody on television has to be an extrovert, they have to be comfortable with it. A longtime friend of Maxham, Jason Law, who started out in the business with Maxham in Greenville, Mississippi, and now works for a station in Boston, Massachusetts, says, "They think that everybody on television has to be an extrovert, they have to be comfortable with it. And it wasn't overcoming shyness, per se, that Maxham endured on his long frequent-flyer-laden journey from Virginia (home), to Georgia (undergrad), to Florida (graduate school), to Mississippi (work), to South Carolina (work), to Texas (Wichita Falls, work, met future wife), back to Virginia (work), then back to Texas (El Paso, oldest daughter born, also work) until he settled into the Twin Tiers region (where his second daughter was born, and...work) in 2012. It was something far more taxing and far more brave when you consider how far he's come after knowing where he began. As a kid, Maxham loved watching storms, and if he knew it was going to snow, he'd run outside every fifteen minutes to check for snowflakes falling from the sky. He also remembers watching the local news during dinners with his family in Lynchburg, Virginia, and watching Charles Middleton deliver that evening's weather forecast. "I would pay attention to what he had to say," Maxham says. "I guess I idolized him. I thought that was such a cool thing to do. So when Middleton visited Maxham's elementary school, naturally Maxham was on the edge of his seat in the school cafeteria listening to Middleton tell them about how he measures atmospheric temperatures and how he, along with his team, forecast the weather. "I really was interested in why we had snow or why we would have a thunderstorm," Maxham says. Maxham would play with his sister and he took his Rodan toy-a pterodactyl in the Godzilla franchise symbolizing the Soviet nuclear threat-soaring this little gurine around the sky: Rodan the Local Weatherman. In order to fully embrace a possible career as an on-air weatherman, Maxham had to deal with a speech impediment that would be patently unacceptable as the face of a television station's forecast. "I grew up with the worst stutter," Maxham says. Maxham would learn that Bill Walton, an NBA Hall of Famer, a two-time NBA champion and a two-time NCAA champion, dealt with a similar speech impediment and eventually became a broadcaster after his career ended as player. Walton became a hero for Maxham. "I've never heard him speak with a stutter," Maxham says, "but apparently he had a really bad stutter growing up. "He had a stuttering problem," says David Margolin, who met Maxham in the Florida State University graduate program. So, instead of hiding behind the camera, instead of hunching behind a computer screen and letting emails do all the talking, Maxham did something far more audacious and put his voice on air. At FSU, Maxham worked out some kinks while studying the nature of hurricanes making landfall. He soon took his first job in Greenville, Mississippi, a place where he reported (Maxham split time as a weatherman and reporter) doctors-who performed free medical screenings-saying "We come to Haiti, Africa, and here." Prior to Maxham's first weather broadcast, a Saturday night, he had all day to stew over his first professional appearance. College football ran late that day, so that meant he had to wait far longer and think about this crucial, maiden broadcast. "Terrifying, I was frightened," Maxham says. He continues, "I was really tight, really nervous, and I held my arms close to my body like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, like I was giving myself a hug. Maxham chose to do live updates from the parking lot of the news station, looking up into the clouds that appeared to be swirling in ever more unsettling circles. A wall cloud-a cloud that will, at times, become tornadic-passed overhead. "Later that day a tornado came out of that swarm and went through a trailer park," Maxham says. "Someone was hurt in the buildings. It was the first time when I felt a connection to what I did and real people. That thing I saw hurt somebody a half-mile away. It was definitely humbling." Law, who worked with Maxham in those early days in Greenville, says, "I remember he was outside. As luck would have it, and as is the nature of local TV journalism, Maxham bounced around and eventually landed in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he met his future wife, Micaela. They now have two young girls-Felix, four, and Noel, three. But back in Wichita Falls, Micaela's hometown, before the girls, Maxham and Micaela were co-workers at the local station. "I was a reporter doing weekends, start the day with the morning show," Micaela says. "Chip would fill in. We would do shows together. Met him when I was there. I worked for a year before working for the city. I loved it. Being from a small town, I'd probably still be there if it wasn't for Chip. I grew up watching the local station, and left the station for the public information office and worked with the city officials I once interviewed." Micaela admired how Maxham overcame his speech impediment to become a weatherman, something she would not have been comfortable doing. She has seen him become more community-minded now that the Maxhams have settled into the Twin Tiers. And being more settled has allowed Maxham to not only hone his own craft, but to help and mentor others. Marissa Perlman, who got her start at WETM-TV and now works as a reporter in Buffalo, New York, says, "Chip is great. Chip has this awesome, dry, sarcastic personality, so we hit it o right away." Just by watching Maxham, she realized what makes an on-air personality of that nature, successful. "I think that viewers can relate to Chip," Perlman says. Just as Maxham attacked his speech impediment by going into broadcasting, Phillips went into weather as a way to approach her fear of tornados. Maxham told them, "If you watch somebody play it, it didn't look very realistic.

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