After years of moving at the speed of “a giant cruise ship,” Sam Champion has become a sprinter.
“This is the most fun in the world, but I’ve never run so fast,” he says. “Information changes moment to moment. This organization is like a sprinter – it can change, bob and weave, and respond immediately.”
“This organization” is The Weather Channel, which Champion joined last month as managing editor and anchor. The “giant cruise ship” is ABC, where he was ‘Good Morning America’s’ popular weatherguy for seven years.
Labeled as “our No. 1 draft pick” by TWC chief David Clark, Champion will host a 7-to-10 a.m. morning show, beginning in March. His on-air debut occurred far sooner, however, thanks to Winter Storm Janus last week.
“I knew there would be storms to cover,” Champion, 52, says. “While we’re building this [new] show, I would do work in the field. When this storm turned into more than a foot of snow during commuter rush times, it became a public emergency. We went around the clock.”
Had he been back at ABC, or at any major network, for that matter, Champion says he would have had to fight for airtime.
“I’d go to the News division and say, ‘I need to talk about this storm. I need resources.’ There’s a lot of other news that needs resources, too. That’s not a criticism, it’s just the way it works. … Then the story would be put in a lineup of other news, and I’d have to wait for the show [‘World News.’]”
At Atlanta-based TWC, “I’ve got 220 meteorologists and scientists watching that storm. We had crews covering it right away.”