ABOUT

A small, hard-working consulting firm (The WeatherMayor LLC) based in MS, owned and operated by Meteorologist Sam Rikard,  providing services in the field of meteorology. We provide video weather forecasts to small social media companies and TV stations at a reasonable cost. We also provide daily or as needed weather briefings to clients across the country. 
Established in 2009, we began to provide daily weather forecast's and updates via Facebook and Twitter. In late 2014, Sam  began providing daily video forecasts on OBTV19, a local PEG channel. After equipment upgrades, video forecasts  began in late summer of 2015 via livestreaming on OBTVlive.com. In late 2018, we began broadcasting on a Roku and Amazon Fire channel as OBTV Channel 2.
 
Recent upgrades provided by Intelliweather.com allow us to further improve and professionalize our products. To contact Sam about creating video forecasts for your page of station, please send an email to weathermayor@gmail.com
Sam Rikard
Founder and Owner

 

 Left Bellsouth in 1997 after 25 years to become the Mayor of Olive Branch MS for 16 years. Studied Broadcast Meteorology at Mississippi State University.

Volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician and as a firefighter. Served in all positions in the local volunteer fire department including Chief. Led Olive Branch during periods of unprecedented growth. The city was listed as a top 100 American city to live in twice, America's fastest growing city, and numerous statewide quality awards. Provided daily oversight and planning for a city of 36,000 and a budget of $55 million. 

 

Today, Sam provides daily weather forecast via FaceBook, DeSotoCountyNewsRoom.com, Twitter, Google+, OBTV19, and OBTVlive.com to the DeSoto County, MS area and makes a daily video forecast for the Nashville, TN area via Nashville Entertainment Weekly. Three times a week morning forecasts are provided to Hillsdale, MI via HTV1. Sam also was given the opportunity to be the on air meteorologist on one occassion by a Memphis TV station, of which he is very grateful for the experience. 

 
 
 

Rain, snow and even the brutal Southern heat intrigued Sam Rikard, a boy growing up near Memphis, Tenn. He wanted to be a “weather man” – or a major league baseball player.

 

He became a telephone repair man like his father. He played on the church softball team and raised a family. And then he became an alderman. And then mayor of his boyhood town.

 

While the weather had fascinated him since his earliest days, politics captivated him, too. Asked once by a teacher what he wanted people to say about him, the young Rikard replied:

 

 “Ladies and Gentleman, the President of the United States.”

 

Rikard unseated a 20-year incumbent in 1997 to win the mayoral job. As he began what would become a 16-year span in office, he couldn’t have possibly forecast that his political label would someday be useful as he pursued that other dream, to be a “weather man.”

 

Rikard, you see, is known today as The Weather Mayor.

 

He rises hours before dawn each day to issue weather forecasts to a variety of communities, including those in the Nashville area, Jackson area, and in DeSoto County, Miss., the home of his native Olive Branch, where he was mayor until 2013. During the waning years in the top spot at City Hall, Rikard took online courses and earned his broadcast meteorology certificate at Mississippi State University. At that time, he wasn’t entertaining that old ambition to be a television meteorologist.

 

“I had no aspirations like that,” Rikard said in his fully-equipped, one-room studio inside – you guessed it – City Hall. “My goal was to learn more about weather, why it does what it does.”

 

His 24-hour predictions are now available on OBTV, a Comcast public access channel, and on Facebook. He also tailors forecasts for a few cities that aren’t close to major markets and for a corporate client that sends planes carrying time-sensitive laboratory products to various cities.

 

“People say I’m more accurate than anyone,” Rikard said, “but a TV meteorologist is talking about a 100-mile area. It’s not that I’m better than anyone else. It’s just I’m forecasting for a smaller geographic area. That’s easier.”

 

Rikard’s ambitions for his meteorology education evolved after a newspaper reporter wrote about his decision not to run for re-election after four terms in office.

 

His boyhood appetite to be Commander-in-Chief dissolved – he’d entertained seeking higher office earlier in his political career but the timing was never right – Rikard had presided over an incredible season of growth as mayor. Olive Branch’s population soared 490 percent between 1990 and 2000, from 3,567 residents to 21,054. By the time his time in office had ended, Olive Branch was home to more than 33,000 people and had received several accolades, including the title fastest-growing city in America by Bloomberg Businessweek.

 

Having heard of his Facebook weather forecasts, a local news director suggested they might want him to fill in for their meteorologist. Rikard hadn’t dreamed such an opportunity was within his reach, but he began to train on the station’s equipment.

 

Though skilled at giving speeches and ad lib media interviews, Rikard was nervous. The news station’s people suggested he make his presentation as though he was speaking to one person sitting on a couch in front of him. He practiced editing out verbal crutches like uh and oohs, but in the end, the station decided while he was mayor, it would be a conflict of interest if he appeared on air regularly. Other stations were interested, too, but came to the same conclusion.

 

After Rikard left office, the local school system gave up its operation of OBTV, and the new mayor, Scott Phillips, who’d been Rikard’s assistant fire chief, took on the access channel and moved it to City Hall. At OBTV, Rikard added video and graphics. While the forecast is available 24 hours, Rikard takes the full screen in the mornings. He provides updates in cases of severe weather, and in cases of potential snow, he issues his a guideline of his own making – the BMHI, or Bread and Milk Hysteria Index. The higher the chances for snow, the more likely an anxious public will run to stores for food supplies.

 

Ron Childers, WMC-TVs chief meteorologist, was astounded by Rikard’s ambitions, his career transformation and his success.

 

“I’ve known many former mayors who became CEOs or got in other businesses,” Childers said, recalling his thoughts on the matter at the time. “And he wants to be a TV weatherman … from mayor, for heaven’s sake!”

 

Rikard took to the hands-on training “very naturally,” Childers said, and though there was not a place for him at the news stations, he “took what he had and created his own opportunity.”

 

That, said Childers, is evidence of Rikard’s genuine commitment to be of service to his community. It is worthy of admiration.

 

“He did not let age or position stop him from pursuing his dream,” Childers said. “He’s a role model.”

 

-821 words-

 

Rikard’s Recipe for Understanding Weather Forecasts:

 

  • 60 percent chance of rain doesn’t mean that’s the chance of raining at your specific home or business is 60 percent but that it is expected to rain over 60 percent of the coverage area. If you move around, your chances of seeing rain that day increase.

  • Weather apps forecast local conditions based on algorithms, which won’t be as accurate as a local meteorologist’s predictions. Warning systems tied into your cell phone GPS are “about as good as you can get” and alert you regardless of your city or state.

  • A tornado watch means conditions are right for severe weather while a warning means either the sophisticated weather radar reveals tornado-like winds or an eyewitness has sighted severe weather. Shelter should be taken immediately.

Sam Rikard, The WeatherMayor LLC

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