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Roker, Al 1954–

Roker, Al 1954–

(Albert L. Roker)

PERSONAL

Full name, Albert Lincoln Roker, Jr.; born August 20,1954, in Queens, NY; son of Albert Lincoln, Sr. (a busdriver, dispatcher, and labor relations negotiator) and Isabel Roker; cousin of Roxie Roker (an actress); married second wife, Alice Bell, December 22, 1984(divorced, 1994); married third wife, Deborah Roberts(a news correspondent), September 16, 1995; children:(second marriage) Courtney; (third marriage) Nicholas Albert, Leila Ruth. Education: State University of New York College at Oswego, B.A., communications, 1976.

Addresses: Office— Al Roker Entertainment, 250 West57th St., Suite 1525, New York, NY 10019; NBC News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1420, New York, NY 10112–0002. Agent— William Morris Agency, 1325Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. Publicist— Rubenstein Associates, 1345 Avenue of theAmericas, New York, NY 10105.

Career: Broadcast weather reporter. WTVH–TV, Syracuse, NY, weekend weather anchor and graphic artist, 1974–75, weekly weather anchor, 1975–76; WTTG– TV, Washington, DC, weather reporter, 1976–78; WKYC–TV, Cleveland, OH, weather reporter, 1978–83; WNBC–TV, New York City, weather reporter, beginning 1983. Al Roker Productions, Inc. (multimedia company), founder, 1994, president, 1996—; Roker Ware, Inc. (merchandiser), founder, president, and merchandise designer, 1996—; celebrity spokesperson for Budget Rent a Car, 1999, and Vicks cold remedy, 2000; appeared in television commercials, including Lipton's Brisk iced tea, 2002; public speaker. Susan K. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, honorary chair of Race for the Cure/Three Miles of Men, 1997—; Guiding Eyes for the Blind, member of Honorary Celebrity Committee, 1998; Greenwich House, honorary chair, 1998–99; Family AIDS Network, member of board of directors;supporter of civic activities, including the work of Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Children's Defense Fund, Fresh Air Fund, Harlem Boys' Choir,Incarnation Children's Center, Interfaith Medical Center, Rainforest Alliance, Read Across America, Ronald McDonald House, and Samaritan Foundation.

Member: American Meteorological Society, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Friars Club.

Awards, Honors: Seal of Approval, American Meteorological Society, 1980; Cleveland Area Emmy Award, best host, 1981; New York Area Emmy Award, best on–air talent, 1984; named best weather man, New York, 1985 and 1993; New York Area Emmy Award, best on–air host, 1989; Distinguished Leadership Award, Fair-field University Alumni Association, 1994; Daytime Emmy Award nomination, outstanding game show host, 1997, for Remember This?; Distinguished Alumnus Award, State University of New College at Oswego,1997; Special Emmy Award, outstanding community service, 1997; Daytime Emmy Awards (with others),outstanding special class program, 1997, 1998, 1999,2000, 2004, Daytime Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding special class special, 2003, 2005,2006, 2007, 2008, all for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; Daytime Emmy Award (with others), excellence in morning programming, 2007, for Today; honorary D.H.L., State University of New York College at Oswego, 1998; named America's favorite weather reporter, National Science Foundation, 1998; New York Area News Emmy Award, on–camera achievement in programming, 2000, for NY TV: By the People Who Made It; Doctor of Humane Letters, New York College of Health Professionals, 2006.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Quest for Camelot, 1998.

Himself, My Generation, 2000.

Himself (New York premiere), Breaking the Silence: The Making of "Hannibal," 2001.

Voice of the weatherman, Wholey Moses (short), 2003.

Himself, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien": The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (also known as The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment, 2004.

Voice of Mailbox, Robots (animated), Twentieth Century–Fox, 2005.

Himself, "Sesame Street": Friends to the Rescue, Genius Products, 2005.

Himself, There and Back Again (documentary short),2006.

Himself, Unaccompanied Minors (also known as Grounded), Warner Bros., 2006.

Television Appearances; Series:

Weekend weather reporter, Live at 5, WNBC (New York City), 1983–84.

Weekday weather reporter, Live at 5, WNBC, 1984–96.

Weather reporter, Weekend Today, NBC, 1987–96.

Substitute weather reporter, Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 1988–95.

Host, Al Roker (talk show), CNBC, 1993–96.

Weather reporter, Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 1995—.

Weather reporter, Live at 5, WNBC, 1996–2000.

Feature reporter, Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 1996—.

Host, Remember This? (quiz show), MSNBC, 1996–97.

Host, Going Places, PBS, 1997.

Roker on the Road, Food Network, 2003.

Correspondent, Dateline NBC, NBC, 2004–2006.

Host, Celebrity Family Feud, NBC, 2008.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Christmas at Rockefeller Center, NBC, annually, 1985—.

A Pavarotti Prelude, PBS, 1993.

Talk Back America II, CNBC, 1994.

MicroAge Fiesta Bowl Parade, NBC, 1994.

Host, Countdown to Christmas, NBC, 1994.

Calculating Change, PBS, 1994.

Host, Talk Back America III, CNBC, 1995.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, annually, 1995—.

Narrator, Savage Skies (documentary), PBS, 1996.

Host, National Spelling Bee Championship Finals, CNBC, 1996.

Host, Tournament of Roses Parade, 1996.

Host, The Sixth Annual James Beard Awards, Food Network, 1996.

Host, The 69th Annual Spelling Bee Finals, CNBC, 1996.

Presenter, The 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 1997.

NY TV: By the People Who Made It, 1998.

Host, Al Roker's World Championship Barbecue, Food Network, 1999.

The Great American History Quiz, History Channel, 1999.

Host, Broadway on Broadway, 2000.

Al Roker's Bahamas Reunion, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Dining on the Strip, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Midwest Fest, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Colonial Christmas, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Around the World in New York City, Food Network, 2001.

Al Roker's Tailgating Party, 2001.

Presenter, The 28th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, NBC, 2001.

Host, The 112th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade, NBC, 2001.

Host, Mine Over Media: Voices from the Middle School, Court TV, 2001.

Host, Al Roker Investigates, Court TV, 2003.

The Nick at Nite Holiday Special, Nickelodeon, 2003.

The 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, NBC, 2004.

Assembling "Robots": The Magic, the Music & the Comedy, Fox, 2005.

Greatest American, The Discovery Channel, 2005.

Host, Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, NBC, 2005.

Tricked Out Tailgating, 2005.

Al Roker's Christmas in New York, Food Network, 2005.

Cast host, The 2nd Annual Quill Awards, NBC, 2006.

The 49th Annual New York Emmy Awards, 2006.

Tribeca Film Festival Presents: Live from the Red Carpet, NBC, 2006.

Legends Ball, ABC, 2006.

Broadcasting & Cable Magazine's 16th Annual Hall of Fame Awards, 2006.

Rachael Ray: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2007.

Host, The Quill Awards 2007, NBC, 2007.

Also appeared in What It's Like to Be Al, MTV.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1986, 1993.

The Howard Stern Show (also known as The Howard Stern Summer Show), 1990.

Himself, Another World, NBC, 1990.

Himself, "The Cigar Store Indian," Seinfeld, NBC, 1993.

Himself, "Pandora's Box," Mad About You, NBC, 1994.

Voice of himself, "Hail to Mail," Reading Rainbow, 1994.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007,2008.

(As Albert L. Roker) Guy, "President," News Radio (also known as The Station), NBC, 1996.

Dr. Benjamin, "New Year," The Single Guy, NBC, 1997.

Late Show with David Letterman (also known as Letterman, and The Late Show), CBS, 1997, 2004.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.

Voice of weather man, "Little Girl Lost: Part 1," Super-man (animated; also known as Superman: The Animated Series), The WB, 1998.

(Uncredited) Himself, Saturday Night Live (also known as SNL), NBC, 1998, 2007.

Guest, Hollywood Squares (also known as H2 and H2: Hollywood Squares), syndicated, 1998, 2000, 2001.

"Chambraigne," Space Ghost Coast to Coast (animated),Cartoon Network, 1999.

Himself, "Acting Out," Will & Grace, NBC, 2000.

Sesame Street, PBS, 2001.

"Hurricane: Part 1," Sesame Street (also known as Open Sesame, Sesame Street Unpaved, and The New Sesame Street), PBS, 2001.

Bill Stanton Project, FX Channel, 2003.

Voice of himself, "Tween Town," The Proud Family (animated), The Disney Channel, 2003.

Voice of himself, "Twins to Tweens," The Proud Family (animated), The Disney Channel, 2003.

Henry McNeal Turner, "What Is Freedom?," Freedom: A History of Us, PBS, 2003.

Christian redorder editor, "A War to End Slavery," Freedom: A History of Us, PBS, 2003.

Voice of Sam Vander Rom, "Totally Rad," Cyberchase (animated), PBS, 2003.

Voice of Sam Vander Rom, "A Whale of a Tale," Cyber-chase (animated), PBS, 2003.

Voice of Sam Vander Rom, "The Wedding Scammer," Cyberchase (animated), PBS, 2003.

Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, syndicated, 2004.

Last Call with Carson Daly, NBC, 2004.

"Robots," HBO First Look, HBO, 2005.

The Daily Show (also known as A Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Global Edition), Comedy Central, 2005.

The Tony Danza Show, syndicated, 2005, 2006.

(Uncredited) Himself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2006.

Himself, "Fireworks," 30 Rock, NBC, 2007.

Television Work; Series:

Managing editor and segment producer, Going Places, PBS, 1997.

Executive producer, Roker on the Road, Food Network, 2003.

Executive producer, Recipe for Success, Food Network, 2004.

Executive producer, Renovate My Place, 2005.

Executive producer, D.E.A., Spike TV, 2008.

Television Executive Producer; Specials:

Al Roker's World Championship Barbecue, Food Network, 1999.

Al Roker's Bahamas Reunion, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Dining on the Strip, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Midwest Fest, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Colonial Christmas, Food Network, 2000.

Al Roker's Around the World in New York City, Food Network, 2001.

Intimate Portrait: Judge Judy, Lifetime, 2001.

Al Roker's Tailgating Party, 2001.

Al Roker's Big Bad BBQ, 2002.

Tricked Out Tailgating, 2002.

Al Roker Investigates, Court TV, 2003.

Al Roker's Christmas in New York, Food Network, 2005.

Honor Deferred, History Channel, 2006.

Celebrity Food Fight, Food Network, 2006.

The Second Annual Quill Awards, NBC, 2006.

Uncovered: Hidden Lives of Miss USA, E! Entertainment Television, 2006.

Executive producer, Profiles in Courage: A Kennedy Legacy, NBC, 2006.

Childhood Obesity: Danger Zone, Food Network, 2006.

The Quill Awards, NBC, 2007.

Stage Appearances:

Mystery guest star, The Play What I Wrote, Lyceum Theatre, New York City, 2003.

RECORDINGS

Audio Books:

Narrator, Don't Make Me Stop This Car! Adventures in Fatherhood, Simon & Schuster Audio, 2000.

WRITINGS

Don't Make Me Stop This Car! Adventures in Father-hood, self–illustrated, Scribner, 2000.

Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, Scribner, 2002.

(With Marialisa Calta) Al Roker's Hassle–Free Holiday Cookbook: More Than 125 Recipes for Family Celebrations All Year Long, Scribner, 2003.

(With others) Big Shoes: In Celebration of Dads and Fatherhood, Hyperion, 2005.

Columnist for Parents. Contributor to periodicals, including TV Guide.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 12, Gale, 1996, Volume 49, Thomson Gale, 2005.

Newsmakers, Issue 1, Gale Group, 2003.

Periodicals:

Black Enterprise, April, 2005, p. 144.

Crain's New York Business, June 26, 2006, p. 1.

Entertainment Weekly, February 11, 1994, p. 42; January 31, 1997, p. 43.

New York, August 17, 1987, p. 20.

New York Times, September 2, 1992, pp. C1, C10.

Parade, January 5, 1997.

People Weekly, October 2, 1995, p. 72; April 12, 1999, pp. 85, 86, 88.

USA Today, April 9, 2008, p. 10D.

Variety, September 26, 2005, p. 22.

Electronic:

Al Roker Website, http://www.roker.com, September 20, 2008.

ROSENBERG, Melissa See RIVERS, Melissa

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Roker, Al

Al Roker

1954

Television weathercaster

Al Roker may describe himself as "goofy-looking" and "nothing special," but his combination of accurate forecasting and warm, relaxed delivery have won him possibly the most visible weather anchor position on television. Roker is the weekday weathercaster for the National Broadcasting Company's Today Show, a morning news-and-information program watched by millions and millions of Americans. Roker inherited his position on Today from the equally affable Willard Scott in 1995, adding a new laurel to a two-decade career in the television weather forecasting business. He is also host of his own cable channel weekend talk show, The Al Roker Show. Success has done little to alter Roker's working methodsor his opinion of himself. "We know weather is one of the main reasons people tune in to the news," he said in the New York Times. "So I try to do my best to be accurate. Then I hope for the best."

Roker comes from a blue-collar background where his hard-working parents stressed education and achievement. His father, Albert Lincoln Roker, was a bus driver who also served as a labor-relations negotiator for New York City's Transit Authority. His mother was a homemaker who raised the six Roker children in a home in the St. Albans section of Queens, New York. Al Jr., the oldest in the family, graduated from Manhattan's Xavier High School, where he spent four years developing his comic skills and indulging his interests in graphic art.

The cost of tuition at a private college was out of reach for the Roker family, so Al attended the State University of New York at Oswego. There he majored in graphic communications, but he took classes in meteorology to satisfy the university's science requirements. Roker found he had a talent for meteorology, and his interest in the science grew as his studies progressed. While still a sophomore in college, he landed a part-time job as weekend weather forecaster at nearby WTVH-TV in Syracuse. By the time he earned his bachelor's degree in 1976, he had been promoted to weekday weather-caster at the station. Roker did not earn a degree in meteorology, but few television weather forecasters do. In fact, his back ground contains more science than that of many of his colleagues, and he became known for writing his own forecasts and using NBC's radarrather than the National Weather Serviceto keep him up-to-date on local and national weather.

Soon after graduating from college, Roker took a job as weathercaster for WTTG-TV in Washington, DC. WTTG is a local independent station, and while there the young Roker had ample opportunity to study other weather anchors' techniques. One local hero Roker studied was the chubby and avuncular Willard Scott, who was then forecasting weather at the NBC affiliate in the nation's capital. Today Roker credits Scott with teaching him the secret to a long career on the air. "I used to be crazy, do all kinds of gimmicky things," Roker admitted in the New York Times. "Willard took me aside one day and said, 'Just be yourself. It'll last a lot longer.'"

From WTTG Roker moved on to WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio. The job in the Midwest was Roker's first with an NBC affiliate, andas an avid weather-watcherhe admits that he misses the assignment in Cleveland. After five years at WKYC, Roker moved on in 1983 to WNBC-TV in New York City. His parents, who were still living in Queens, were thrilled to welcome him home.

Roker's first position with WNBC was weekend weather anchor. By 1985 he had worked his way up to weekly weather forecaster, earning New York magazine's "Best Weatherman" award. Roker had the same easygoing, ordinary-guy delivery that characterizes his weather spots now, but he also exhibited a keen understanding of meteorology on both a local and national level. He seemed at ease urging New Yorkers to play hooky from work on sunny spring days, and deeply committed and serious when tracking Atlantic hurricanes and other dangerous weather. With an 80 percent accuracy rate, he quickly earned the American Meteorological Society's prestigious Seal of Approval.

Asked in a 1987 New York magazine profile if he would like to replace Willard Scott on the Today Show at some point, Roker disclaimed any ambitions. "Willard is my idol. The idea of stepping into his shoes terrifies me," he said. Over the next decade, Roker had ample opportunity to shed his fears and prepare to be Scott's replacement. In addition to his duties with the weekly local NBC newscast, he became weathercaster for the weekend edition of Today and a substitute for Scott on weekdays. By the time Scott retired in 1995, Roker had firmly established himself as the heir apparent and continued to hold the position a decade later.

A yo-yo dieter with thick glasses who stands about five-feet-eight, Roker thinks a great deal of his appeal lies in his "ordinary Joe" persona. "It's part of my stock in trade," he explained in the New York Times. "People look at me and feel superior." Whatever the secret of his success, Roker has achieved what many would consider the pinnacle of television weather forecasting success as the national weather correspondent for the highly rated Today Show. Unlike his predecessor, however, Roker has not just settled into the staff of Today with no further ambitions. Late in 1995 he inaugurated The Al Roker Show, a weekend talk show run on the cable channel CNBC. He also served as narrator for a Public Broadcasting System documentary on weather entitled Savage Skies.

Roker's fans are many and diverse. Entertainment Weekly once dubbed him a "Cool Ordinary Guy." MTV did a feature on him called "What It's Like To Be Al." And everyone from New York's mayor Rudolph Giuliani to reporter Barbara Walters turned up at his 1995 wedding to television journalist Deborah Roberts. Roker, who lives in New York, seemed truly content with his celebrity status and his high-profile job at NBC. "Our problem is that sometimes we have too much fun," he said of himself and his Today co-hosts in the New York Times. "We forget we're on television."

At a Glance

Born Albert Lincoln Roker, Jr., on August 20, 1954, in New York, NY; son of Albert Lincoln (a bus driver and union negotiator); married third wife, Deborah Roberts (a television journalist), September 16, 1995; children: two daughters and one son. Education: State University of New York at Oswego, BA, communications, 1976.

Career: WTVH-TV, Syracuse, NY, weekend weather anchor, 1974-75, weekly weather anchor, 1975-76; WTTG-TV, Washington, DC, weather anchor, 1976-78; WKYC-TV, Cleveland, OH, weather anchor, 1978-83; WNBC-TV, New York City, 1983, began as weekend weather anchor, worked as local weekly weathercaster, currently weather anchor for Today Show ; CNBC-TV, New York City, host of weekend talk show The Al Roker Show, 1995.

Awards: Recipient of two Emmy Awards for weather forecasting; twice named Best Weatherman by New York magazine; holder of American Meteorological Society's Seal of Approval.

Addresses: Office NBC-TV, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112; Web www.roker.com.

While Roker continued to hold his spot on the Today Show, he continually branched out in diverse directions. He set up Al Roker Productions, Inc. in 1994 to do "all things Al," according to Roker's Web site. He has published a parenting book and two cookbooks. He appeared on Dateline in 2004 to report on his health status two and a half years after undergoing gastric bypass surgery to reduce his weight. He hosted a special on NBC called "All Roker Investigates: Katie.com," which offered viewers information about Internet predators. And he hosted a Court TV show called "Faulty Forensics" that revealed the devastating consequences in the criminal justice system due to poor procedures in a Houston crime lab. His travel series called Going Places won high ratings on PBS. Whatever his interest, Roker seemed able to craft it into a package for audiences, making TV Guide contributor J. Max Robins wonder: "Is Al Roker laying the groundwork to be the next Oprah?" It seems the answer is yes.

Selected writings

Don't Make Me Stop This Car: Adventures in Father-hood, Scribner, 2000.

Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, Scribner, 2002.

Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook: More Than 125 Recipes for Family Celebrations All Year Long, Scribner, 2003.

Sources

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, June 27, 2004.

Entertainment Weekly, February 11, 1994, p. 42.

Grand Rapids Press, August 25, 2004.

Houston Chronicle, November 5, 2004.

New York, August 17, 1987, p. 20.

New York Times, September 2, 1992, pp. C1, C10.

People, January 23, 1995, p. 73; October 2, 1995, p. 72.

TV Guide, September 2002.

On-line

Al Roker, www.roker.com (January 31, 2005).

Other

Additional information supplied by NBC News, Inc.

Anne Janette Johnson and

Sara Pendergast

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"Roker, Al." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Roker, Al 1954(?)—

Al Roker 1954(?)

Television meteorologist

College Courses Lead to a Job

The Nations Weatherman

An Ordinary Guy

Sources

Al Roker may describe himself as goofy-looking and nothing special, but his combination of accurate forecasting and warm, relaxed delivery have won him possibly the most visible weather anchor position on television. Roker is the weekday weatherman for the National Broadcasting Companys Today show, a morning news-and-information program watched by millions and millions of Americans. Roker inherited his position on Today from the equally affable Willard Scott in 1995, adding a new laurel to a two-decade career in the television weather forecasting business. He is also host of his own cable channel weekend talk show, The Al Roker Show. Success has done little to alter Rokers working methodsor his opinion of himself. We know weather is one of the main reasons people tune in to the news, he said in the New York Times. So I try to do my best to be accurate. Then I hope for the best.

Roker comes from a blue-collar background where his hard-working parents stressed education and achievement. His father, Albert Lincoln Roker, was a bus driver who also served as a labor relations negotiator for New York Citys Transit Authority. His mother was a homemaker who raised the six Roker children in a home in the St. Albans section of Queens, New York. Al Jr., the oldest in the family, graduated from Manhattans Xavier High School, where he spent four years developing his comic skills and indulging his interests in graphic art.

College Courses Lead to a Job

The cost of tuition at a private college was out of reach for the Roker family, so Al attended the State University of New York at Oswego. There he majored in graphic communications, but he took classes in meteorology to satisfy the universitys science requirements. Roker found he had a talent for meteorology, and his interest in the science grew as his studies progressed. While still a sophomore in college, he landed a part-time job as weekend weather forecaster at nearby WTVH-TV in Syracuse. By the time he earned his bachelors degree in 1976, he had been promoted to weekday weatherman at the station.

Roker did not earn a degree in meteorology, but few television weather forecasters do. In fact, his background contains more science than that of many of his

At a Glance

Full name Albert Lincoln Roker Jr; born ca. 1954 in New York, NY; son of Albert Lincoln (a bus driver and union negotiator); married third wife, Deborah Roberts (a television journalist), September 16,1995; children: (second marriage) Courtney (daughter). Education: State University of New York at Oswego, B.A., 1976.

WTVH-TV, Syracuse, NY, weekend weather anchor, 1974-75, weekly weather anchor, 1975-76; WTTG-TV, Washington, DC, weather anchor, 1976-78; WKYC-TV, Cleveland, OH, weather anchor, 1978-83; WNBC-TV, New York City, 1983-, began as weekend weather anchor, worked as local weekly weathercaster, currently weather anchor for Today show; CNBC-TV, New York City, host of weekend talk show The Al Roker Show, 1995.

Selected awards: Recipient of two Emmy Awards for weather forecasting; twice named Best Weatherman by New York magazine; holder of American Meteorological Societys Seal of Approval.

Addresses: Office NBC-TV, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112.

colleagues, and he became known for writing his own forecasts and using NBCs radarrather than the National Weather Serviceto keep him up-to-date on local and national weather.

Soon after graduating from college, Roker took a job as weatherman for WTTG-TV in Washington, DC. WTTG is a local independent station, and while there the young Roker had ample opportunity to study other weather anchors techniques. One local hero Roker studied was the chubby and avuncular Willard Scott, who was then forecasting weather at the NBC affiliate in the nations capital. Today Roker credits Scott with teaching him the secret to a long career on the air. I used to be crazy, do all kinds of gimmicky things, Roker admitted in the New York Times. Willard took me aside one day and said, Just be yourself. Itll last a lot longer.

The Nations Weatherman

From WTTG Roker moved on to WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio. The job in the Midwest was Rokers first with an NBC affiliate, andas an avid weather-watcherhe admits that he misses the assignment in Cleveland. After five years at WKYC, Roker moved on in 1983 to WNBC-TV in New York City. His parents, who were still living in Queens, were thrilled to welcome him home.

Rokers first position with WNBC was weekend weather anchor. By 1985 he had worked his way up to weekly weather forecaster, earning New York magazines Best Weatherman award. Roker had the same easy-going, ordinary-guy delivery that characterizes his weather spots now, but he also exhibited a keen understanding of meteorology on both a local and national level. He seemed at ease urging New Yorkers to play hooky from work on sunny spring days, and deeply committed and serious when tracking Atlantic hurricanes and other dangerous weather. With an 80 percent accuracy rate, he quickly earned the American Meteorological Societys prestigious Seal of Approval.

Asked in a 1987 New York magazine profile if he would like to replace Willard Scott on the Today show at some point, Roker disclaimed any ambitions. Willard is my idol. The idea of stepping into his shoes terrifies me, he said. Over the next decade, Roker had ample opportunity to shed his fears and prepare to be Scotts replacement. In addition to his duties with the weekly local NBC newscast, he became weatherman for the weekend edition of Today and a substitute for Scott on weekdays. By the time Scott retired in 1995, Roker had firmly established himself as the heir apparent.

An Ordinary Guy

A yo-yo dieter with thick glasses who stands about five-feet-eight, Roker thinks a great deal of his appeal lies in his ordinary Joe persona. Its part of my stock in trade, he explained in the New York Times. People look at me and feel superior. Whatever the secret of his success, Roker has achieved what many would consider the pinnacle of television weather forecasting success as the national weather correspondent for the highly-rated Today show. Unlike his predecessor, however, Roker has not just settled into the staff of Today with no further ambitions. Late in 1995 he inaugurated The Al Roker Show, a weekend talk show run on the cable channel CNBC. He also served as narrator for a Public Broadcasting System documentary on weather entitled Savage Skies.

Rokers fans are many and diverse. Entertainment Week ly once dubbed him a Cool Ordinary Guy. MTV did a feature on him called What Its Like To Be Al. And everyone from New Yorks mayor Rudolph Giuliani to reporter Barbara Walters turned up at his 1995 wedding to television journalist Deborah Roberts. Roker, who lives in New York, seems truly content with his celebrity status and his high-profile job at NBC. Our problem is that sometimes we have too much fun, he said of himself and his Today co-hosts in the New York Times. We forget were on television.

Sources

Entertainment Weekly, February 11, 1994, p. 42.

New York, August 17, 1987, p. 20.

New York Times, September 2, 1992, pp. C1, C10.

People, January 23, 1995, p. 73; October 2,1995, p. 72.

Additional information supplied by NBC News, Inc.

Anne Janette Johnson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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  • Chicago
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"Roker, Al 1954(?)—." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Roker, Al 1954(?)—." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/roker-al-1954

"Roker, Al 1954(?)—." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/roker-al-1954