Wilton grad making ‘dreams come true’ as a broadcast meteorologist

Photo of J.D. Freda

WILTON — Since entering high school, Jackson Dill has had a pretty clear idea of what his passions were, how he wanted to chase them and that he certainly didn’t want to wait.

Those passions, he explained Monday, are meteorology and broadcasting. Now, the College Television Award-nominated senior at the University of Miami is capitalizing on that hard work with a full-time gig lined up and detailed his journey that started as a young child growing up in Wilton.

“It really first started with Hurricane Sandy in 2012,” Dill, 21, said of his fascination with weather. “I didn’t really know what was happening much at the time because I was pretty young, but I remember how bad the storm was.”

The storm left he and his neighbors without power for more than a week and brought trees down on almost every road. With so much of the Northeast affected, Dill said it was “pretty crazy” how a severe weather event could change people’s lives instantaneously and he quickly became hooked.

“I became a weather nerd,” Dill said, describing how he would follow detailed forecasts and subscribe to numerous websites.

By his sophomore year of high school, Dill started his own website where he posted his own personal forecasts for all of southwestern Connecticut.

“I made my forecast every day,” he said. “Like, a whole description for the next seven days, graphics, posted them on social media. Then, during the winter time, I made my own snow day predictions.”

Dill’s family and close friends were well aware that he was interested in the weather and creating his own forecasts. They supported his forecasting website and soon his classmates caught wind of his snow day predictions.

“That kind of made me know this is what I want to do and that people would actually rely on me,” he said.

At one point in high school, he said, that Wilton Schools Superintendent Kevin Smith reached out and told Dill that he had been following his forecasts and the two would talk to each other on their thoughts for an upcoming forecast. Add to the fact that Dill started gaining some buzz on social media when weather broadcasting mainstays started following him, he was sure this was the direction his future was meant to go.

Along the way, Dill said he also gained a passion for broadcasting and wanted to combine his two interests into one career path.

The choice for college was easy, Dill said, as “not that many” schools offered a meteorology major with a successful broadcasting program to boot. He said that the University of Miami edged out Penn State, partly thanks to its warmer weather, too.

Enter UMTV, the university television station run by its communication department and NewsVision, a 30-minute weekly news programming special that Dill and his colleagues produce. Dill joined UMTV in his first semester of college and he has yet to look back.

Dill produces and writes general news stories and segments for the show as well as help with the weather programming. The quality of NewsVision garnered a nomination for the 41st Annual College Television Awards, which Dill said is an honor to be recognized. A total of 54 students have been nominated in six categories for the 2022 awards selected from 185 entries submitted from 58 colleges nationwide. The awards ceremony will take place on March 26.

The college senior has no time to rest until the awards show, though, as he is up daily at 3 a.m. to prepare weather segments as a full-time weather producer and stand-in anchor for WSVN News in the Miami-metro area. Having previously worked as an intern and freelance producer for CNN in 2021, Dill said that he is constantly making sacrifices to fulfill the dream he had as a young child in Connecticut.

“I’ve had this focused goal since the beginning of high school,” Dill said. While he admits there is a lot more work to be done, attaining his first full-time on-air job before graduating “seems like a dream come true.”

In 10 to 15 years, Dill said, he would like to return to the New York City Metropolitan Area to give his on-air forecasts for the region that inspired him to start on this journey in the first place.