Voice: This morning we are chatting to Penny So, the well-known weather presenter from TVT's breakfast show, 'Good Morning'. Penny has been doing this high-profile job for twelve years and has won the 'Best Television Weather Presenter' award seven times.
Good morning, Penny. You are the face of television weather. What are your tops tips for being a successful weather presenter on TV?
Penny: Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. Let's start at the beginning. Getting into weather was a total accident. I trained as a journalist, and for many years worked as a columnist for various lifestyle magazines. I also did a bit of freelance television work, writing scripts for news magazine programmes and doing bits of presenting. One day my agent suggested that I should audition for a job at the local office of Weather Plus. I thought she was joking. I went along for an interview and to my surprise they took me on. From day one, I fell in love with weather and was hooked.
Voice 1: Does presenting the weather have anything in common with other types of tv presenting?
Penny: Of course. My parents taught me always to be polite and courteous, and I believe that no presenter should ever be rude or bad- mannered or grumpy.
Voice 1: Tell us a bit about the training you did to become a weather presenter.
Penny: When I got the job with Weather Plus, they sent me to their headquarters in America to train. I took a long course in meteorology and had to pass five exams. It was tough but I loved learning the subject. I did some presenting in America and then moved to London when Weather Plus opened a TV channel in the UK.
Voice 1: What brought you to Hong Kong?
Penny: A promotion! Weather Plus was setting up channels in lots of cities around the world and I came to Hong Kong as a senior presenter. But WP didn’t do very well here, and the company decided to pull out of Asia.
Voice 1: But you decided to stay.
Penny: I applied for a job with TVT, never thinking in a thousand years that I’d get it. I had four interviews. They knew what they wanted and they were tough. When I got the job, I was sent off to do more training in meteorology. It was all long-winded, but it was worth it. I love presenting the weather on early morning TV.
Voice 1: The job must get you out of bed very early!
Penny: It does! I get up every weekday morning between quarter to three and three o'clock. I try to be in bed by eight each evening. On average I get between five and six hours sleep a night. I'm in a conference call in the studio with weather experts at different observatories and research facilities at five every morning. They are all experts in their field and if they say it's going to rain, it's going to rain. The weather team in the studio gathers all the information together and off we go. I give the first weather bulletin at six on the dot.
Voice 1: And you always look so immaculate and in control.
Penny: That's thanks to the make-up girls who slap the stuff on and make me look a hundred years younger than I feel. They are brilliant!
Voice 1: You make it all look so easy!
Penny: That’s kind of you to say. I love presenting the weather, but it is not easy! It's probably one of the hardest presenting jobs on TV. We don't have an autocue like newsreaders and other programme presenters. So everything I say comes from the top of my head as I look at the charts and maps. Scary, don't you think?