BALTIMORE — Trudy Philson wants to be a TV news meteorologist when she grows up.
On Nov. 20, the 8-year-old Conowingo girl gained some practical experience — and some significant exposure — by giving in-studio weather forecasts on live television during WBFF FOX 45 News, which broadcasts from “Television Hill” in Baltimore and reaches more than one million households.
Trudy smoothly delivered two weather forecasts within approximately a 30-period while standing beside the real meteorologist, Jonathan Myers.
Myers gently guided Trudy as she looked at an off-camera monitor showing temperature readings, sun and cloud icons, towns on a map and other information and then pointed to corresponding spots on the “green screen” behind them.
“She did a great job,” Myers told the Cecil Whig during a phone interview Tuesday. “She is really talented and funny. She is extremely mature.”
It was a heady experience for Trudy, a third-grade student who had been nominated for the news station’s weekly Weather Kid Wednesday segment by her Conowingo Elementary School homeroom teacher, Maria Fanning.
A FOX 45 News meteorologist for about eight years, Myers noted that he cannot recall a previous Wednesday Weather Kid who resided in Cecil County.
“I was really happy to have someone from up that way, to fully represent our viewing area in Maryland,” Myers said, adding that he was “really surprised” when he learned that Trudy lives in Conowingo.
Fanning submitted the nomination letter at the request of Trudy’s mother, Cindy Philson, who told Fanning that Trudy had a strong desire to be the Wednesday Weather Kid on FOX 45 News.
Trudy had been practicing her map-pointing and other TV weather forecasting techniques, long before she was nominated and selected to do it, according to her mother.
“We watch FOX 45 every morning. Every time a Wednesday Weather Kid would come on the TV, Trudy would stand in our living room and mimic whatever they were doing. She really wanted to do this,” Cindy said.
After listing FOX 45 morning news anchors Patrice Sanders, Tom Rodgers and Megan Gilliland, as well as Myers and other newscasters on the program, Trudy’s mother chuckled and commented, “After watching for so long, you feel like you know all of them, like they are members of your own family.”
On Nov. 14, some three weeks after the nomination letter had been submitted, a FOX 45 News representative called and informed Cindy that Trudy had been chosen to be the Wednesday Weather Kid and that her daughter needed to arrive at the studio quite early on the morning of Nov. 20.
“Nov. 14 is my birthday, so that phone call was a nice gift,” Cindy said. Cindy and her husband, Mark, elected to tell Trudy at the dinner table that night, when the parents make a point of asking their children about their day to spark conversation. Trudy has two siblings who live at home — a brother, Trayvon, 7; and a sister, Trinity, 16 — and another sister, Tracey, who is 40 and lives elsewhere.
“When we told Trudy, she almost jumped out of her seat. She was so happy,” Cindy said. “She was not nervous. She said, ‘I’m going to do this, and I’m going to make you proud’.”
Trudy spent some time selecting the right outfit — which included a gold bow in her hair — for her Wednesday Weather Kid appearance.
Mark drove Trudy to the FOX 45 News studio on Nov. 20, while Cindy remained at home to see Trayvon and Trinity off to school.
“The studio is big. I saw Ms. Patrice and Mr. Tom. They were very nice. They let me sit behind the news desk (off air),” Trudy said, recalling the thrill of seeing those TV news personalities up close and personal. “Me and Mr. Jonathan practiced ahead of time. Mr. Jonathan was really nice, too.”
Trudy mentioned, “The green screen was kind of hard.”
At approximately 7:30 a.m., after Myers had spent about five minutes showing Trudy the ropes, they were on live television in front of the shifting weather forecast screens.
Trudy let viewers in Maryland and the surrounding area know that it was cloudy and 45 degrees and that it would remain overcast throughout that day, with the temps climbing into the mid-50s before falling to 33 degrees by night.
She also gave the 7-day Weather Authority forecast, pointing to each compartmentalized day on the chart and reading the pertinent weather information, such as high and low temperatures, chance of rain, and sunny or cloudy.
During a brief, on-camera Q & A session, Sanders asked Trudy to reveal one of her Christmas gift wishes, and the girl responded, “Baby Alive.”
After Sanders smiled and indicated that she thought Trudy meant a real baby brother or sister, Trudy sparked laughter when she explained that Baby Alive is a doll and then remarked, “My mom already has four children.”
Trudy also gave on-air greetings to her family, kids at school and her teacher.
In addition to sitting behind the news desk and seeing the studio equipment, posing for photos with Sanders and Rodgers was among the highlights for Trudy and her father, according to Trudy.
At school later that morning, after her father had treated her to an IHOP breakfast, Trudy realized she had gained some celebrity status.
“They said, ‘Oh, we saw you on TV’,” Trudy said, referring to comments made by some of her schoolmates.
On Nov. 24, four days later, Trudy was recognized by the congregation at the Community Baptist Church in Joppatowne, where the Philson family attends.
“The pastor called her up, and the congregation stood up and clapped. It seemed like everybody in the whole congregation saw her on TV,” Cindy marveled, adding, “They said she did a wonderful job.”
During her interview with the Cecil Whig, Trudy said she is appreciative of her parents and everyone else who played a role in giving her the opportunity to be a FOX 45 Wednesday Weather Kid, before commenting, “I would like to thank my teacher.”