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Random Thoughts: A Community Conversation with Cindy Preszler

Cindy Preszler and her husband, Dave Mack [personal photo]

This week, Mid Rivers Newsmagazine talks with Cindy Preszler, founder of WeatherSTL.com and the former chief meteorologist at KSDK [1998-2016]. Before moving to St. Louis in 1998, the South Dakota native worked at several TV stations, including The Weather Channel. She has won five regional Emmy awards, an AP Award and six Missouri Broadcasters awards, among others. She also served as a fill-in on both The Today Show and CBS This Morning. Soon, she and her husband, Dave Mack, along with their cats, Sunny and Snowy, will be leaving St. Louis for sunny southwest Florida, where Preszler has accepted a meteorologist position with WFTX-TV.

What chance encounter changed your life forever?

I think what really changed my direction and my career was working with a wonderful meteorologist in Savannah, Georgia. His name was Pat Prokop. [He told me] if I wanted to do weather full-time for a career, “You have to go back to school get a degree in meteorology.” I followed his advice, and that was the best piece of advice I ever received. I’m so glad I did that because weather was the way I wanted to go. I actually started out as a reporter in Nebraska, and I was just fortunate that the weekend I started, the weather person quit. So, the news director asked me if I wanted to try it. Of course, I jumped on, because I love weather so much. So, that’s kind of how I started. From Hastings [Nebraska] I moved to Savannah where [Prokop] gave me the insight and knowledge I needed to continue in that direction.

What’s the single best day on the calendar?

The first day of summer. I love hot weather. I love humidity, so that first day of summer in June is just like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve gone to heaven now.” I know I have three or four months of sunshine and temperatures in the 80s and 90s. That’s the kind of weather I love. Even though I’m a little sad because, at that point, the days start getting shorter, but I know I have a lot of warm weather ahead of me.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve bought?

OK, this goes back. It was actually a gift I bought for my mom and dad. It was a ceramic pig, but it was not a little pig. It was a huge pig. I think it was probably around a foot tall and maybe two feet long, and it was ceramic. I don’t know why I thought that would be a good gift for my mom and dad. Maybe because my dad is a farmer, but I thought, “My parents are going to love this pig.” They did not love that pig. No. I think they gave it away maybe a month after I gave it to them … but I loved it.

What outdoor activity haven’t you tried, but would like to?

Paddleboarding. I see people doing it on the water all the time and I think, “Oh man, I need to try that.” I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I’ll have my opportunity very shortly. That’s one thing, but there are many things I’d like to do.

What do you think can be done to improve the media?

I think the media just needs to get back to doing real news. Get back to giving the viewers and readers what they really want, and that’s truth. Cover it the way it should be covered, the way it used to be covered. Forget about trying to please everyone, and letting the viewers pick the news stories. Really? We’re the journalists. We’re the ones that should know. Just stop the craziness and the silliness, and get back to doing things the way they should be done.

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