COLUMBUS (WCMH) — NBC4 meteorologist Ben Gelber is celebrating a major milestone this weekend: It has been 42 years since he joined Storm Team 4, days after completing his master’s degree in meteorology.
He recently received the Ohio AP Media Editors Award for First Place in the category of Best Weathercast.
Gelber’s debut was on the second Saturday evening in July 1980. He said he was supposed to have a two-week training period, but the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a severe thunderstorm warning moments before the 6 p.m. newscast, forcing Gelber to go on-air.
“I about had a panic attack,” Gelber said. “This was in the days of typewriters and carbon copies, and I was supposed to be handing the copies to the anchors, but the producer looked at me and said, ‘You’re doing the weather now!’”
Since then, Gelber has anchored many major severe weather events, including the blizzards of April 1987, March 1993 and 2008, the northeast Columbus tornado in October 2006, heavy flooding in northern Ohio in 2007, the Hurricane Ike windstorm in September 2008, and the historic derecho of June 2012.
Gelber has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards, winning for Best Weather Anchor in 2007.
He is an adjunct professor, teaching meteorology at The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College, along with making numerous school visits and giving community talks on weather and climate.
He was selected as the television representative on the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, and also participates in annual Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service Storm Spotter Training programs.
In addition to meteorology and broadcasting, Gelber also has a love for music, performing with the ensemble he formed, Friday Night Live Music, as the keyboardist and arranger. He is also active with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation from personal experience.
Gelber’s career at NBC4 makes him one of the longest-tenured meteorologists in the state, surpassing 40 years on the air.
Despite his long career, Gelber says he still gets anxious from time to time, but he said it’s something that comes with the job. “I have heard that a little stage fright can be a good thing, keeping you alert,” he said.
Happy 42nd anniversary, Ben! Here’s a look back at the Valentine’s Day 1995 debut of “Here Comes the Ben Gelber” on NBC4.