Tag Archives: FPREN
May 12, 2022 – The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) today announced that meteorologist Jeff George will join the College as Chief Meteorologist and Director of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) on May 31, 2022.
George will have oversight over both FPREN and the South Carolina Emergency Information Network, which are partners with the states of Florida and South Carolina, respectively, to provide online weather and other emergency information to public media outlets throughout the states.
He will also oversee the WUFT Weather Department, which provides weather updates on public media stations WUFT-TV and WUFT-FM, and commercial TV station WRUF-TV. The department consists two meteorologists and a producer/editor who focuses on public safety and emergency management content for public television and radio stations in Florida and South Carolina. George will also manage the Meteorologist in Training program within the College and its various media properties.
George most recently was chief meteorologist at KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City for 15 years. In that role, he won awards for the best severe weather coverage from the Associated Press. Prior to that, he served as meteorologist or chief meteorologist at stations in Toledo, Ohio, Abilene, Texas, and Bismarck, North Dakota.
George was active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 1991 – 2000. Starting in 2019, he served as an Equal Opportunity Advisor for the U.S. Air Force Reserve at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, and will continue in that role at a Florida base, where he will be responsible for promoting a positive human relations environment and providing advice, consultation, education, mediation, and referral services to enhance mission effectiveness.
From 2016-2019, he was a weather forecaster for the Oklahoma Air National Guard Joint Task Force, where he provided lead weather support and acted as Meteorologist Liaison assisting in decision-making regarding natural disasters. From 1995-2000, he was a weather forecaster for the U.S. Air Force.
As Chief Meteorologist in Oklahoma City, George was heavily involved in the community as spokesman or emcee for JDRF, Special Olympics, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and served as Executive Board Member for the American Lung Association, IMCI (It’s My Community Initiative), and OK Bikes 4 Kids. He created and published the cookbook Firehouse Favorites with proceeds benefiting local children’s hospital, and created a weather safety program targeted to elementary students called Future Forecasters.
The board of Florida Public Media elected David Mullins, General Manager, WFSU Public Media, as its new chair in a special election. Mullins succeeds Phil Hoffman, former Executive Director of WUCF-FM/TV (Orlando).
The board also added David McGowan, President and CEO of WJCT Public Media (Jacksonville) as its At-Large member of the Executive Committee.
Other members chosen for the Executive Committee include:
- Vice Chair. Paul Grove. President and CEO. WEDU-TV. (Tampa-St. Petersburg)
- Treasurer. Amy Shumaker, Associate General Manager – Content, WGCU-FM/TV (Ft. Myers/Naples)
- Secretary. Chris Puorro, Station Manager of WQCS-FM (Ft. Pierce)
- Immediate Past Chair. Randy Wright, Executive Director, WUFT-FM/TV(Gainesville/Ocala)
Florida Public Media (FPM) is the organization of 24 public radio and public television stations in the state. The stations broadcast programming by NPR and PBS, and a wide range of news, public affairs, and music programs.
TV members provide the main distribution of The Florida Channel, and radio members serve as the backbone of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN).
FPREN is headquartered at WUFT on the campus of The University of Florida in Gainesville.
FPM is the state’s leader in educational programming and emergency communications.
Collaboration of Thirteen Stations Based at University of Florida
(WASHINGTON, DC) March 19, 2019—The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) today presented the Community Lifeline Award to WUFT-TV/FM (WUFT) and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) during a meeting of the CPB Board of Directors. The award recognizes public media stations providing outstanding service to their communities during local emergencies, natural disasters and other urgent situations.
“Public media’s services are especially important for communities affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. Under the leadership of WUFT, FPREN provided lifesaving information not only across Florida but also in North and South Carolina,” said CPB Board member Elizabeth Sembler. “The innovative approach demonstrated by these partner stations exemplifies both the spirit of public service and the powerful role of public media.”
From left, CPB Board Chair Bruce Ramer, CPB Board member Robert Mandell, FPREN Chief Meteorologist Jeff Huffman, WUFT and FPREN Executive Director Randy Wright and CPB Board member Elizabeth Sembler.
FPREN is the collaboration of 13 public radio stations based at WUFT in Gainesville-Ocala, Florida, and delivers emergency broadcast and social media content across the state. Their free app, Florida Storms, provides geotargeted live forecasts, information about evacuation routes and shelters, and live streams local public radio broadcasts. FPREN served millions of people through multiple emergencies including Hurricanes Michael, Irma and Matthew.
“We’re honored by this recognition from CPB for what we feel is a core mission of public media. We appreciate the ongoing support of CPB, Pat Harrison and the Board for their encouragement of innovative concepts like FPREN and look forward to providing these public safety services to even more Americans in the future,” said Randy Wright, executive director of WUFT and FPREN.
WUFT operates as a part of the University of Florida and incorporates hundreds of students annually from the UF College of Journalism and Communications into immersive professional experiences. WUFT also launched the South Carolina Emergency Information Network with South Carolina ETV/South Carolina Public Radio in 2018, serving South Carolina and parts of North Carolina with emergency messaging.
Established in 2012, this is only the second time the Community Lifeline Award has been presented. The inaugural recipients were WNET and New York Public Radio (WNYC/NJPR).
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services.