Jennifer Valdez named CBS46 chief meteorologist

Originally posted Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

CBS46 has named Jennifer Valdez, a morning staple, as chief meteorologist, replacing Paul Ossmann.

She will transition to afternoons in June. A permanent new early morning meteorologist has not yet been named and her exact on-air schedule has not been finalized.

Valdez has been a staple during CBS46’s morning show over the past 11 years, surviving a raft of morning host changes and multiple bosses.

“I was super excited and humbled and grateful and honored,” Valdez said in an interview Wednesday. “There’s a million adjectives going through my mind. I’m lucky to have a job I absolutely love and to be able to move to the next chapter is super exciting.”

As chief, she will oversee severe weather coverage and the station’s team of meteorologists.

Valdez is well respected and liked by both viewers and those inside the CBS46 newsroom. There’s a reason CBS46 promotes her heavily during prime time.

Ossmann, whose sudden departure remains publicly unexplained, said she was a wonderful colleague: "A great attitude and amazing connection with co workers and viewers."

"A ray of sunshine," added evening anchor Sharon Reed, who is departing May 22 for unspecified new ventures she plans to reveal after she leaves.

CBS46 news director Steve Doerr raved: "She's terrific. It was a no brainer."

Ella Dorsey will continue to do evening programming at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Molly McCollum and Rodney Harris will cover morning weather until a permanent replacement is named.

Valdez, who is married with two young kids, received a bachelor’s in telecommunications from the University of Florida  in 2003 and a master’s degree in geosciences (with an emphasis on meteorology) from Mississippi State University in 2005. She worked at a station in Greenville, S.C. before moving to WGCL-TV in 2008.

From a personal standpoint, the new schedule will enable Valdez to see her son and daughter (ages six and seven respectively) in the mornings and when they go to sleep for the first time on weekdays. She said they were super excited by the news. Currently, her bedtime is 6:30 p.m., earlier than her kids and her wake-up call is 2:35 a.m.

Before Ossmann, CBS46 has had two other chief meteorologists this decade: Jim Kosek (2014-2017) and before Markina Brown (2010-2014). Dagmar Midcap, now at a San Diego station, was not a meteorologist but was the primary weather reader prior to Brown and Kosek.