WSAW visits Spencer Public Library
By Kris Leonhardt
SPENCER — As part of the Spencer Public Library’s monthly programming, WSAW Channel 7 meteorologist Mark Holley and reporter-news anchor Holly Chilsen delivered a presentation Tuesday, Oct. 4.
The pair of local broadcasters talked about their careers and what led them on their respective paths.
“The blizzard of 1996, I was living in Pennsylvania at the time,” said Holley. “I was a sophomore in high school, and we got 32 inches of snow in 30 hours. We missed a week of school. Then when it melted we missed a couple days of school because it was flooding.
“That year, we missed like 16 or 17 days of school because it was a very active winter. When you are at that age, that’s how I got into weather.”
Holley added, “Everything weather-related is a global heat transfer, so when you are at home and it’s snowing, just say, ‘Honey, it’s a global heat transfer.’ Everything is a global heat transfer.
“The whole goal of the atmosphere of our world is to take warm air north and cold air south, and it’s that fight. I could argue that the 45th parallel, which goes through a lot of Wisconsin, is the most intense fighting because it is halfway between those two regions, … which is why I love the weather we do (here).”
Holley and Chilsen explained the tumultuous nature of their jobs and how it varies from day to day.
“Weekend newscast is always different because televised sporting events can always change it,” said Chilsen. “Sometimes we won’t have the early show, or we will have the condensed version, like 10 minutes for a show and that’s it. … Sometimes the 10 o’clock will be on later.”
“It’s very frustrating,” added Holley. “When I had to fill in a weekend, every show got cancelled, so I am sitting there ready to do something, but because of sports, … I had literally nothing to do.”
“You’ve got to be prepared no matter what,” said Chilsen. “You have to be ready to go behind the desk.
“Every day is different, which I love. I never know what I am going to get into. I never know when there is going to be a breaking news story or a fun and light-hearted story where I get to meet a kid who saved his parents or little sister from fire.
“I never know what it’s going to be, so it keeps it exciting. I love the storytelling aspect of it. … I think that is what really drew me toward it: wanting to tell stories to a larger audience.”