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WCMH-TV's Jym Ganahl Steps Down As Chief Meteorologist

Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. newscast at WCMH Channel 4 here in Columbus is a special one for the station’s chief meteorologist.  Thursday marks Jym Ganahl’s 50th year as a weatherman.  It will feature the Columbus weatherman’s last regularly scheduled forecast.  Ganahl is going into semi-retirement.

For thirty seven years, Jym Ganahl has kept Central Ohioans informed.

“Good afternoon, it’s a pretty cold day in Central Ohio; just 30 degrees in Marion and Mount Vernon this afternoon…” Ganahl says in a winter weather forecast. 

On Thursday I talked with Ganahl in the NBC 4 news studio.

“Well we’re in our brand new studio here at NBC 4.  About every couple of years a television station changes the look of its stations. Sometimes these sets can cost upwards of a $1 million.  And all that they are is background for the news that you see,” he says.

It’s not just news that flashes across these screens.  Ganahl’s meteorology tools include rows of computer monitors that track every conceivable nuance of weather.  Ganahl jokingly calls weather his hobby.  But really it’s his passion.

“People don’t realize that on most days, from March until August, I’m sitting here at least 12 hours a day, babysitting and monitoring the radar to see if anything’s going to pop and if it doesn’t nobody even knows we’ve been here. But we’re always here, no matter what, in case something happens,” Ganahl says.

Some meteorologists live for severe weather but Ganahl is different.  He says snow is his thing.

“I’ve just been fascinated by snow my whole life.  So winter stuff I just look forward to, way more than the severe storm stuff.  I even moved out by New Albany because they get 8 inches of snow more than the city of Columbus.  I even have a snow making machine like they have at the ski resorts at my house.”

“And the one interesting story there is, one night at 1 a.m., the New Albany police come and knock on my door, and they said, ‘You’re blowing snow on Highway 161. And if you cause an accident it’s going to look bad for you.’  And I thought for a second, and I said, ‘Cool, that’s a half-a-mile away!’  That wasn’t the right answer,” he says.

Jym Ganahl says his career had an unusual beginning.


“Well I started weather when I was 17 and it’s a very, very simple story.  When I was 12, I was not doing well in school and the TV guys were missing the forecast for snow days.  And all I cared about was snow days.  But after high school I walked into the TV station in Waterloo, Iowa and said, ‘I can do the weather better than the guy you have doing it.’  And shortly thereafter he was gone and they allowed me to do that.  I was on TV six nights a week, at the 6 and the 10 o’clock news and that was 50 years ago today,” Ganahl says.

Ganahl has had his share of accolades.  He was inducted into the Associated Press Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in 2008. And there has been other recognition.

“Columbus Monthly named me the 19th most iconic person in the history of Columbus, Ohio, with everybody that’s around here.  But number 18 is Colo the gorilla from the zoo!  So I’m not even ahead of the gorilla!  That’s how I stay grounded,” Ganahl says.

Ganahl says, he’ll keep his nose to the grindstone filling in for vacationing colleagues and hosting sports segments for the station.   

“You’re still going to see me on the air.  I’ll be doing sports – Football Friday Night – all through the season.  When they need fill-in weather with people on vacation, I’ll be on the air doing that.  It’s more like a celebration of 50 years than a pure retirement,” Ganahl says.

His colleagues plan to give Jym Ganahl a special send-off during the 11 p.m. newscast.