James Spann, Meteorologist, March 18, 2014

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james spannJames is the Chief Meteorologist for ABC 33/40. He can be seen weeknights at 4, 5, 6, and 10 o’clock. He joined ABC 33/40 one month after the station signed on the air in the fall of 1996. In all, James has been a television weather anchor for 35 years. Along the way he has worked for WSFA in Montgomery, KDFW in Dallas and two other stations in Birmingham.

James has received the two highest awards in the nation for a broadcast meteorologist.

One is “Broadcaster of the Year” by the National Weather Association, which he accepted in September 2012. According to the NWA, James was selected to receive the award “For his passionate dedication to serving the Central Alabama community with critical weather information for over thirty years, especially during the deadly April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak.”

James also was the winner of the AMS (American Meteorological Society) “Award for Broadcast Meteorology” in January 2013. The AMS stated he was the winner in part because of “his tireless efforts to advance the public’s awareness of and engagement in the science of meteorology, particularly severe weather forecasting and response”.

James was elected to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in 2013. Essentially, it is the ultimate Emmy Award. It represents outstanding achievement spanning at least 25 years in the broadcast industry with a proven record of mentoring and community involvement. In 2001, James received another Emmy for live coverage of the deadly tornado which hit Tuscaloosa on December 16, 2000. His work during that storm also helped ABC 33/40 earn a prestigious national Edward R. Murrow award for spot news coverage.


Readers of Birmingham Magazine voted James as “Best TV Personality” in 2011, and “Best Tweeter” in 2012. He has been named “Best Weather Anchor” in Alabama by the Associated Press, and winner of the Alabama Broadcasters Association ABBY Award for “Best Weathercaster in Alabama” multiple times over his long career.

James was one of the first weather anchors in the nation to earn “Certified Broadcast Meteorologist” status from the American Meteorological Society. Among television meteorologists, the CBM designation is sought as a mark of distinction and recognition. To earn the CBM, broadcasters must hold a degree in meteorology or equivalent from an accredited college or university, pass a rigorous written examination, and have their on-air work reviewed to assess technical competence, informational value, explanatory value, and communication skills. He also has been awarded the seal of approval from the National Weather Association and holds a certificate in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University.

The University of West Alabama conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree to James in 2013.

James has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Trinity Medical Center since 2005, and is a member of the University of Alabama College of Communication Board of Visitors.

James and his wife Karen have been married for 32 years, and they have two boys: J.P., 28, and Ryan, who is 15 and in the tenth grade. Ryan is a member of the Spain Park High School Baseball Team. James leads Children’s Worship every Sunday at Double Oak Community Church in Mount Laurel.

In his spare time, James enjoys tennis and amateur radio. He earned his first ham radio license at the age of 14, and holds an extra class license.


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