Richard McCollough: Legendary Meteorologist WDKX-FM 10-3.9, Rochester (Hall of Fame Class of 2022)

Rochester is known for its tough winter weather. You do not go outside without first listening to meteorologist Richard J. McCollough on the #1 rated WDKX 103.9 FM, where he has broadcasted the weather for the last 20 years. A Rochester legend, McCollough has also worked at WHEC-TV 10 NBC and 13 WHAM-TV ABC. He is a true broadcast veteran!

McCollough’s career began to take off in the eighth grade when he was selected to participate in an aerospace training program at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. While there, he built an environmental space robot for a science project. The University of Maryland graduate began his career at Maryland Public Television, where he served as a production assistant and learned everything about television stagecraft. He worked on the nationally syndicated PBS program A.M. Weather.  Always busy holding multiple jobs, McCollough also worked as a videotape news editor for WJZ-TV Channel 13 ABC in Baltimore. But he soon began to focus on meteorology, working on the syndicated aviation weather program for PBS affiliates, first in production and then eventually as one of the directors.

McCollough moved on to the Financial News Network in Los Angeles as a Studio Supervisor for 5 years. There, he developed his “on camera” skills while working after hours and putting together weather forecasts & presentations on the “green screen.” He did this for 2 years. He also produced a number of science reports including a two-part series on the Voyager space mission. At the same time, he studied broadcast journalism at UCLA during this period.

Guided by his New York agent Alfred Geller and mentor Tom Kuelbs, McCollough’s next stop was WLWT-TV, Channel 5 in Cincinnati as the morning and noontime weatherman and science reporter. This was McCollough’s first full-time job as a meteorologist. During this period, he studied meteorology at the Miami University of Ohio.

But Rochester beckoned. WHEC-TV, Channel 10 needed a meteorologist, and McCollough was ready. The station offered him a job as the chief meteorologist and he stayed for nine years.  McCollough, a warm communicator, known for his “forecast accuracy and detail,” was also the first African American weatherman in Rochester history. He also produced a public-affairs series, “Rochester in Focus,” and became the face of the station for its many community-oriented promotions.

While at Channel 10, he was hired by Andrew Langston to be chief meteorologist at WDKX 103.9 FM in 1999. Eventually, he left channel WHEC-TV Channel 10 to join Channel WHAM-TV Channel 13 as a weekend meteorologist.

McCollough also traveled south for two years to become the first African American meteorologist in Spartanburg, South Carolina at WSPA-TV Channel 7 CBS. There, he helped the station’s historic transition from an analog to a high-definition digital broadcast.

Rochester always called.  Even while in South Carolina, he continued to deliver the daily weather forecasts for WDKX 1039 FM back in Rochester. You can hear his forecasts today on this station.

McCullough has continued to show his production expertise. Working with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT, he developed the American Abilities Television Network which created local television programs to educate people about hearing loss. He has been honored with over 45 national & international production awards. His civil rights documentary “Lulu and the Girls of Americus, Georgia 1963” won five major awards including Accolade, Telly, and Aegis honors. Recent award-winning efforts include programs on three Rochester civil rights legends — Constance Mitchell (Monroe County’s first woman and African American legislator), David Anderson (illuminated the contributions of Frederick Douglass), and Walter Cooper (President of the Rochester NAACP, founder of the local chapter of the Urban League, a state Regent, and a leader in education issues). He produced historical programming such as “Poplar Hill on His Lordship’s Kindness” about Prince George’s County, Maryland in addition to a 10-part documentary series about notable African Americans in Maryland. Of course, he continued to forecast the weather and his program has earned the American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval.

McCullough has always given back. Starting in 2009, he worked with Art Peace and ran a summer program teaching young people about entrepreneurship for several years. In 2011, McCollough began a five-year stint as a teacher in Rochester. He was the President of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists and led the organization to be recognized as the best chapter in the United States. In April 2020, he moved from the city to Weatherfield Farm in Conesus, NY. McCullough is a true renaissance man, collector of antiques, coins, political memorabilia, and 18th Century Tall ship models. On top of everything, he is a farmer and raises organic blackberries, raspberries, and herbs to make a variety of herbal teas, juices, and flavored vodka.

 

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