James Spann

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James Spann (born June 6, 1956 in Huntsville, Alabama) is a television meteorologist based in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently works for WBMA-LD/WCFT/WJSU, whose studios are located in Hoover, Alabama but which has transmitters in Tuscaloosa and Anniston (the station is known locally as "ABC 33/40", in reference to the Tuscaloosa and Annistion satellite stations). Spann has worked in the field since 1978. [1]



Spann began his broadcast career in Tuscaloosa, his hometown, in 1973 at WTBC-AM radio.[2] He later was the afternoon-drive announcer at Top 40 station WHHY-FM ("Y102") in Montgomery. His television career has included stints in Tuscaloosa (at 33/40 predecessor WCFT, the "33" in 33/40), Montgomery, Alabama (WSFA), Dallas (KDFW), at two other Birmingham stations, WBRC and WVTM. His 1996 departure from WBRC made local headlines when he left the station, which had just been purchased by News Corporation and was switching its network affiliation to News Corp.-owned Fox. Spann was unhappy with Fox's then-steady diet of reality shows and other programming that he considered to be offensive and in opposition to his evangelical Christian views. Spann ended up at the newly-formed ABC 33/40, which had merged WCFT with WJSU Channel 40 in Anniston and a new low-power repeater in Birmingham, and had taken over the ABC network affiliation that WBRC held before the switch.

He is the founder of The Weather Company, [3] which provides broadcast weather forecasts for a number of radio stations and weather data for industrial and business clients. Spann was the 33rd person in America to receive the AMS distinction as a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist. There was a tornado warning for western Jefferson County on April 8, 1998. Spann remained on television for ten hours. An F5 tornado struck Hueytown's Oak Grove High School before eight o' clock that evening. The next day, he spoke through a helicopter about the warning and the high school's damage.

He is well-known to viewers for his encyclopedic knowledge of Alabama geography. In severe weather coverage, he often locates storm system features by reference to tiny communities, obscure country roads, gas stations, and barbecue restaurants.

Beginning in 2007, Spann could be heard by listeners of the Rick and Bubba Show, a popular syndicated radio show based in Birmingham but heard throughout the country, mainly in the Southeast. Spann's tenure began when the show switched flagship stations in Birmingham to WZZK-FM, where Spann's forecasts had been heard for some time beforehand.

He is also the chairman and one of the founders of AllWorship.com, a non-profit organization webcasting three streaming radio stations which feature worship music in English and Spanish. The organization grew out of WRRS/Reailty Radio, a commercial FM radio station that broadcast Contemporary Christian music in the Birmingham market from 2000 to 2001.

In 2004, Spann hosted a television special about severe weather safety. He interviewed Goshen United Methodist Church's F4 tornado survivors of March 27, 1994 including the former pastor, Kelly Clem and her husband, Dale. Later, he spoke about the tragedy and safety instructions to Brian E. Peters, Warning Coordination Meteorologist from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Calera's Shelby County Airport.


Spann was the 33rd person in America to receive the AMS distinction as a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist.

He won an Emmy Award with John Oldshue from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for live coverage of a deadly tornado in Tuscaloosa on December 16, 2000. (A camera mounted on the transmitter tower of the former Channel 33 captured live images of the tornado as it moved through the community.) The station won an Edward R. Murrow Award for this coverage.

Spann has been named the state's best weather anchor nine times (as of 2007) by the Associated Press, and best weather anchor in Dallas-Fort Worth by the Dallas Press Club.

Spann is also an alumnus member of Theta Tau - Mu Chapter.

Global warming

In January 2007, Spann attracted worldwide publicity by disputing the theory that atmospheric temperature increases, better known as global warming, observed in the 1930s and since the 1970s were man-made. Instead, he asserts that they are naturally caused, as part of the Earth's climate's cyclical nature. [3]

He asserts that it is money from research grants rather than genuine science that fuels support for the global warming hypothesis:

Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up. This is big money, make no mistake about it. Always follow the money trail and it tells a story. Even the lady at “The Weather Channel” probably gets paid good money for a prime time show on climate change. No man-made global warming, no show, and no salary. Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab. [4]

Spann was countering a statement made by Heidi Cullen, a staff meteorologist with The Weather Channel, who had written that those who disagreed with the view that global warming was caused by man-made events should not be given the Seal of Approval by the American Meteorological Society. Spann's remarks in his station's weather blog were linked to by the Drudge Report, which thrust Spann — a well-known personality in north and central Alabama, but little known outside that area — into the larger spotlight.[5] As of 2011, Spann has the most followers on Twitter and the most fans on Facebook of any local television meteorologist.[6]

Spann is a signatory of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation's "An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming".[7]

The declaration states:

"We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth's climate system is no exception."

See also


  1. ^ "I have been in operational meteorology since 1978." United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Sen. James Inhofe) [1]
  2. ^ "1230 TBC Jocks 1978" (JPG). WTBC 1230. http://www.wtbc1230.com/TBC%20Jocks.jpg. 
  3. ^ "The climate of this planet has been changing since God put the planet here. It will always change, and the warming in the last 10 years is not much difference than the warming we saw in the 1930s and other decades." [ibid]
  4. ^ [2] US Senate Website
  5. ^ "Spann spawns cyber-storm". The Birmingham News. 2007-01-20. http://www.al.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news/1169288539262650.xml?birminghamnews?nmet&coll=2. Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  6. ^ Bergman, Corey (2011-04-15). Popular TV meteorologist in eye of social media tornado. LostRemote.com. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
  7. ^ Prominent Signers of An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming

External links