As a news junkie in my early childhood, I read the newspaper every day to get my politics fix and to satisfy my burning curiosity about the world. But I also liked a dash of humor in my news recipe, so I enjoyed watching legendary TV journalists like David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite, who often added a wink and a smile to an otherwise "hard news" broadcast.
In college during the late 1960s, my love of language and literature led me to major in English, while choosing to minor in journalism. I also played varsity baseball and had a Major League tryout in my junior year. It was clear, though, that my journalistic skills exceeded my baseball talent; so I wisely followed my nose for news.
I began my career as a news reporter in 1971, at the NBC TV affiliate in Richmond, VA, just 25 miles from my childhood home. Aside from general assignment reporting and lighthearted features, my regular "beat" included state and local politics, the federal courts, and education. I could not have forecast then that weather would be my ticket to the big time. But, following a two-week stint "filling in" on weather, I became the station's main weatherperson; and by the mid-1970s, after a brief stop at the NBC station in Baltimore, I was on my way to WABC-TV in New York. Skies were looking sunny!
I spent nine years at WABC, serving first as weatherman, then morning show host, and finally main sportscaster. During all of those years, I made frequent appearances on ABC's Good Morning America, filling in on weather and doing feature reports and interviews. In 1986, I joined GMA full time as weather forecaster, feature reporter, and guest host. Over the next 13 years, I not only travelled the world, but I also served as spokesperson for ABC's literacy campaign, wrote and published a series of children's books, and had the opportunity to indulge my passion for wine as the host of "Spencer Christian's Wine Cellar", which aired on HGTV and later on the Food Network from 1995 to 2000. More recently, in 2018, I released my memoir entitled "You Bet Your Life: How I Survived Jim Crow Racism, Hurricane Chasing, and Gambling."
After 22 years in New York, I heard the Bay Area and the wine country calling my name. ABC 7 has been my home since 1999, and I now get to test my forecasting skills for the Bay Area's micro-climates. In my time away from work, I enjoy visiting wineries, watching baseball (or just about any sport), working out at the gym, and doing community service. But my greatest joy is spending time with my son and daughter, Jason and Jessica--and more recently my grandsons, Noah and Zach.
Having been blessed with so many memorable career experiences, I find it difficult to name just a few, but here's a short list:
- Interviewing then-Senator Barack Obama just before he announced his candidacy for President
- Emceeing former President Jimmy Carter's 75th birthday celebration in Americus, GA, in 1999
- Surviving and reporting from the Loma Prieta earthquake, while on World Series assignment for GMA in 1989
- Suiting up and playing baseball with the NY Yankees and NY Mets in their spring training camps
- Playing basketball against the Harlem Globetrotters at Madison Square Garden
Follow me on Twitter for quick weather updates. We can also talk wine and weather on Facebook. I'd love to hear from you. Here's the link to my page.
Get Spencer's weather forecast every weekday at 4, 6, and 9 p.m. on ABC7 News.
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