Veteran WLS Meteorologist Jerry Taft Retiring

Jerry Taft, one of Chicago’s most trusted and popular meteorologists for four decades, announced today he will retire from ABC 7 Eyewitness News on ABC O&O WLS.

Taft’s final day on air, after forecasting weather on Chicago television for 42 years, will be Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Taft is the station’s chief meteorologist and currently is in charge of weather duties for WLS’s 6 p.m. newscast as well as the 7 p.m. news on WCIU.

He joined WLS in 1984 as the meteorologist for the station’s 4 p.m. newscast and was given various responsibilities throughout his career including forecasting on the morning, midday, and afternoon newscasts.

In 1994, he was promoted to ABC 7 Eyewitness News at 10 p.m., contributing to that newscast’s perennial first-place ranking.

Jennifer Graves, WLS VP and news director, said: “Jerry Taft won the trust of our viewers with his knowledge and experience forecasting Chicago’s weather. He won the affection of our viewers with his self-effacing sense of humor, infectious laugh and relatability.  That combination has made him one of Chicago’s most respected and popular meteorologists for the past four decades.  All of us at ABC 7, along with his many fans, will miss Jerry.  We thank him and wish him nothing but sunny skies and a continued low handicap on the golf course.”

He started in the Chicago television market in 1976 as a meteorologist for WMAQ Chicago and was also the principal meteorologist on WMAQ-AM and later on WLS-AM.


He is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Chicago/Midwest Chapter Silver Circle, which honors excellence and longevity in broadcasting.  He is the winner of multiple Emmy Awards.

For 15 years, Taft served in the United States Air Force as a pilot and forecaster before he began his career in broadcasting.  He was also a classroom teacher for aviation and flight planning and as an instructor pilot in the T-38 aircraft.

A certified meteorologist with the AMS Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society, Taft also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin.

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