About — Brendan Johnson (2024)

Curious, Creative, and Community-Driven Meteorologist

About — Brendan Johnson (1)

Brendan Johnson is a curious, creative, and community-driven meteorologist. Brendan joined WTMJ & Storm Team 4 in September 2022. You can catch his forecasts weekend mornings on TMJ4 and throughout the week.

Before arriving in Milwaukee, Brendan spent two years at WMTV (NBC15) in Madison, WI and three years at KHBS/KHOG-TV (40/29 News) in Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Arkansas. While at NBC15, Brendan was back to forecasting Midwest weather - seeing everything from snowstorms & snow squalls to Summer thunderstorms. He was on the air during the EF-3 Boscobel tornado that tore through SW Wisconsin in August of 2021. At one point, winds exceeded 160 mph and the twister carved a 10+ mile path of destruction South of town. Thanks to the team coverage that day, Wisconsinites in Grant County got the warning and took shelter in time.

Before joining NBC 15, Brendan spent three years at KHBS/KHOG-TV in Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Arkansas.

While at 40/29, Brendan was apart of team coverage of an EF-2 tornado that tore through Mountainburg, Arkansas and reported on the damage in the days following. Heavy rains in the Spring of 2019 led to catastrophic flooding along the Arkansas River. Brendan forecasted the torrential downpours and was live in Fort Smith as the city faced several bridge closures due to a raging river. Brendan reported as two large barges drifted down the river towards the Webbers Falls Lock & Dam - a situation which brought back horrid memories of the 2002 I-40 bridge disaster.

Originally from the Chicago area, Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology & a Minor in Digital Media from Valparaiso University in 2017. While at Valpo, he was heavily involved in the campus television station & participated in a Convective Field Study - traveling more than 3,000 miles - chasing storms across the Plains. Brendan's internships include WTVO in Rockford, IL; CNN Worldwide in Atlanta, GA; and WGN-TV in Chicago, IL (where he got to work with legendary Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling).After being alerted to severe or impactful weather, more people turn to the TV over any other medium.

It’s my firm belief that a down-to-earth & conversational approach is the best way to convey important information and keep an audience tuned in.

That’s why I aim to be a friendly, neighborhood weatherman - driven by teamwork and inspired by the job’s impact.

For a sample of my on-air work, feel free to view my resume reel.

The Valparaiso University Meteorology program is accredited by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

The Weather Guy from the South side

I was born & raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. As part of an Irish-Catholic, working-class family, I grew up knowing the value of hard work & perseverance.

Like most in the field, my interest in meteorology began at a young age. I grew up watching the evening news with my parents & was fascinated by the weather report - especially on Channel 9.

The 1967 Oak Lawn/Belviedere tornado had a huge impact on a Chicagoan’s understanding of the weather - both of my parents and many of my extended family lived through the F-4 twister that devastated Oak Lawn, IL.

In the 6th grade, I convinced my Dad to take me to a Tornado & Severe Storm Seminar at Fermilab. The talk took place on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 twisters.

About — Brendan Johnson (3)

From then on, I was glued to the window and the TV whenever a major weather event rolled into NE Illinois. We had our share of severe storms, microbursts, lake-effect snow and even blizzards!

I graduated from H.L. Richards High School and pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology at Valparaiso University. I graduated in 2017 magna cum laude.

While at Valpo, I was a member of the university’s Storm Intercept Team and meteorology honors society. I was also heavily involved with the student-run television station - taking several leadership roles as an upperclassman.

I hopped onboard Valpo’s Convective Field Study during the summer of 2015. Our team logged over 3,000 miles storm chasing in the plains. We saw 3 tornadoes from 3 different storms within 48 hours. (That’s quite rare!)

First Days with TV - Discovering a Team Sport

About — Brendan Johnson (4)

My broadcasting career started with three years on the high school speech team. I spent a dozen Saturday’s each Fall & Winter reading news stories over a microphone.

When I arrived at college, I stepped in front of the camera for the very first time. Valpo’s program included a TV & adjoining weather studio with a full WSI weather graphics system.

I found TV to be its own kind of team sport. In 2016, the student-run television station produced & aired a 12-hour live telethon as part of the university’s day of giving. Our team criss-crossed campus - gathering video & sound bites. We coordinated with every college for live interviews. And we developed graphics alongside the university’s communication & promotions department. It was truly a team-effort. The experience cemented my passion for television.

Outside of campus newscasts & weather reports, I participated in three TV weather internships.

WTVO’s Chief Meteorologist Candice King took me under her wing during the summer of 2015.

About — Brendan Johnson (5)

Over the summer of 2016, I was selected to be an intern with CNN Weather in Atlanta, GA.

I soaked up every moment I could working with this world-class team.I had an eye on almost everything. I studied the scheduling, production, and execution of weather hits for CNN Domestic & International as well as HLN.CNN invested in a state-of-the-art weather graphics set up - which included a MAX Reality 3D environment.By the end of the summer, I had built graphics which aired on the network and had scheduled & produced a few weather hits for CNN Weather talent.

An internship with WGN-TV in Chicago brought me full-circle the following spring.

I worked alongside the man I grew up watching. Tom Skilling’s attention to detail with his forecasts and his conversational presentation are second-to-none.As a visual learner, I picked up several traits from Tom & use them in my own on-air delivery.

KHBS/KHOG-TV (Ft. Smith - Fayetteville - Springdale - Rogers, Arkansas)

About — Brendan Johnson (6)

The 40/29 team welcomed me in late July of 2017. I hit the ground running in mid-August forecasting the weather on the weekends and reporting during the week.

Western Arkansas & eastern Oklahoma are prone to severe convective thunderstorms - sometimes producing large tornadoes.

I was apart of team coverage of the 2018 EF-2 tornado that tore through Mountainburg, Arkansas. In the days following, I reported on the damage the twister left in its wake.

Heavy rains in late spring of 2019 led to catastrophic flooding along the Arkansas River. I had the opportunity to report live in Fort Smith - as the city faced several bridge closures due to high water. Arkansas’ second-largest city was only accessible by a two-lane road for a time. The flooding led me to report live from the lock & dam at Webbers Falls, OK. Two barges drifted down the raging river bringing back horrid memories of the 2002 I-40 bridge disaster.

WMTV - NBC15 (Madison, wi)

About — Brendan Johnson (7)

The urge to return home - closer to my Midwestern roots - was very real during the Summer of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was raging throughout the country - making any move all the more difficult. The good folks at WMTV made that transition easy for me in late Summer of 2020.

The NBC15 First Alert Weather Team was a few months into a rebrand & new weather strategy. I’m privileged to be apart of the #1 team in the market — focusing my effort on that comprehensive First Alert strategy.

Southern Wisconsin is a true four-season market. Snow storms & dangerous cold makes a quick leap to fire danger, gusty winds and severe weather by Spring. And we certainly don’t expect severe weather a few months out of the year — it’s a year-round weather threat. It was the case in early August of 2021 when an EF-3 tornado tore through SW Wisconsin. I had the opportunity to work on-air, side-by-side with my three teammates as we covered the largest tornado to strike the region in years.

In my nearly 2-year tenure at the station, I’ve deployed a multi-platform approach with my weathercasting. The on-air weather story isn’t just reposted on social media. Our team curates engaging graphics designed for each platform and we take that story mobile on the First Alert Weather app.

Gray Television’s OTT venture has been a key part of our strategy. We often stream the weather story and engage directly with an online audience — a trend that is emerging in more & more markets.

WTMJ-TV - TMJ4 (Milwaukee, wi)

About — Brendan Johnson (8)

About — Brendan Johnson (2024)
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