HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The forecast is bright for one of our own. Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson is making a career change. For almost ten years, he’s made this journey down the hall and into the News 19 studio. “It’s been short but long at the same time,” he said, “That’s how life is isn’t it?”
It is. And his has been full. “You know, we started when we moved here, we had Walt,” he recalled, “He was eight weeks old the first time that we walked in the door here.” Since that day, Jason and his wife Lacey have had two more children. “We’ve got Shelby. She was born at Huntsville Hospital in 2013 and then of course Brody was born in 2015 and life has taken some big turns since that day in May of 2015,” he said.
Balancing work and family in television news can be challenging. “When Brody came along, we thought, we’ve already done two. We can do three. And then Brody presented a whole new set of issues with health problems and after nearly losing him three times in his six years, it gives you perspective,” he said, “And it really makes you think about what you’re doing with your time. And what’s the most valuable thing you have?”
That weighed heavily on his decision to leave the TV business. “It did,” he said, “Some people will just say family is everything. Right? And that’s not always exactly true. You’ve got dreams. You’ve got hopes. I’m an extremely blessed person Jerry. I got to live my dream. When I was a kid watching WHNT, watching stations in Birmingham, I wanted to work in either one. I was fine if I could work in either. I got to work in both.”
Growing up just down the road in Cullman County, Jason felt right at home here. “I got to work with people that I watched on TV for years growing up. Standing shoulder to shoulder working severe weather, breaking news events. Having fun. Getting to know each other, becoming a family with people that I never thought as a kid growing up on a dirt road in Holly Pond, Alabama that I would be able to do,” he told me, “So I’ve been extremely blessed to be able to live that dream out, but life has a way of changing your dream.”
Life is now taking him to Dynetics in Huntsville. “I’ll be working with radar which I’m pretty familiar with. After doing this for 21 years, I’ve looked at a few radar images,” Jason told me, adding, “The future is not all weather. The future is going to be a lot of learning and growing but that matter. You know, if you’re not learning, you’re not growing. And I’m really excited to be learning a new kind of way to use the tools that I’ve only really known for weather use for all these years.”
It’s time for a new journey. “It’s a hard decision because like I said, this was my dream. This is what I wanted as a child but as a grown man now in my 40’s and watching my kids grow up, I realize it’s time to be their dad because I’ll never get that chance again,” he said.
It’ll also give him more time to be a husband and father. “I’ve never worked a normal shift in my life, Jerry,” he said laughing, “So I don’t know what this is going to be like. It’s going to be a big adjustment for us to be working on a more normal family schedule. We’ll get to have meals together, get to go to football games together, basketball games together, do all the things that a lot of people take for granted.”
Jason’s last day here at News 19 is Friday, October 1st. We hope you’ll join us for his final forecast that Friday evening at 6:30