Harry Volkman

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Volkman with WGN-TV

Harry Volkman (April 18, 1926 – August 20, 2015) was an American meteorologist.[1] He was the first weatherman to issue a tornado warning.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Volkman was born in Medford, Massachusetts. Having an interest in radio since childhood, Volkman and his brother built a radio station at their Boston area home. The brothers worked hard on their radio productions even though only the family was able to hear the broadcasts from their small transmitter. His interest in radio carried over into the Army where he attended radio classes, but opted to study physics at Tufts University before meteorology captured his imagination and brought him to the University of Tulsa.[1][2]


Volkman got his start as a weatherman at KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January 1950. While there, he also served as a booth announcer, model, on-air salesman, sportscaster, variety show host and switchboard operator. He also claims to have worked briefly as a custodian for the station and not having been paid for his first three months. His beginning pay was $25.[1][3]

A fine vocalist and a member of his church choir for many years, Volkman would often mix a little music into his weather forecasts wherever he worked.[1] His most recent contribution to society is a book about his life as a weatherman, Whatever The Weather: My Life & Times As A TV Weatherman.[2][3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Volkman was the father of three sons and a daughter. His son, Ed, formerly hosted a long-running morning radio show in Chicago titled "Eddie & JoBo" on WBBM-FM B96.[5] Volkman's long-time work in Chicago area television was recognized in 1998 when he became a member of the local Emmys Silver Circle.[6] During the many years Volkman spent at various Chicago-area television stations, he received local Emmys for his weather forecasting in 1961, 1964 and 1967.[7][8][9] At the time of his 2004 retirement, Volkman had spent 54 years in television.[2]

Volkman died from respiratory failure in Des Plaines, Illinois, aged 89.[10]

Meteorology career[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Singing Weatherman (PDF). TV Radio Mirror. June 1956. p. 12. Retrieved 3 February 2012.(PDF)
  2. ^ a b c d Constable, Burt (April 21, 2013). "Harry Volkman weathers wild Chicago climate". Daily Herald. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Tulsa TV Memories-Weather". Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Legendary Chicago TV Weatherman Harry Volkman Releases Autobiography". Chicagoland Radio and Media. April 25, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Volkman, Ed (April 9, 2011). "Harry Volkman Turns 85!". KHiTS 104.3. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  6. ^ "Silver Circle-Harry Volkman". Chicago Emmy Online. 1998. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  7. ^ "Chicago area Emmy winners-Harry Volkman" (PDF). Chicago Emmy Online. 1961–1962. Retrieved May 25, 2014.(PDF)
  8. ^ "Chicago area Emmy winners-Harry Volkman" (PDF). Chicago Emmys online. 1964–1965. Retrieved May 25, 2014.(PDF)
  9. ^ "Chicago area Emmy winners-Harry Volkman" (PDF). Chicago Emmys online. 1967–1968. Retrieved May 25, 2014.(PDF)
  10. ^ "Legendary weather forecaster, Harry Volkman, dies at 89". WGN TV.com. Retrieved August 21, 2015.