Ever since he was writing weather journals in third grade, it’s been Johnston native Anthony Macari’s dream to secure a meteorology job in his home state.
The long and winding road has taken Macari, 25, from Lyndon State College in Vermont to the hamlet of Presque Isle, Maine, and even to AccuWeather in Pennsylvania. Now, nearly a decade of dedication has paid off, as Macari was recently hired as a digital weather producer and meteorologist at NBC 10 WJAR.
He mostly writes for the station’s weather blog and posts to various social media accounts, but he has proudly filled in on the air for esteemed colleagues like chief meteorologist Mark Searles.
Macari was beaming ear-to-ear for almost the entirety of an interview on Aug. 22, and rightfully so. He is back home with his dream gig.
“It’s been incredible,” Macari said. “I never would’ve expected this to happen. Just very fortunate for the opportunity, and great to be back home, really.”
Macari ventured to Lyndon State after graduating from Mount Saint Charles, heading to one of his favorite New England locales to study atmospheric sciences with specifications in broadcast and private industry.
He grew up loving the weather, specifically snow and hurricanes, and would jot down notes while coming up through Winsor Hill Elementary School. While other children were watching Disney or Nickelodeon, Macari was anxiously awaiting the next “Local on the 8s” update on the Weather Channel. He even had the opportunity to meet one of his idols, fellow Lyndon State alum Jim Cantore, who teaches a one-day class at the school annually.
“I’m telling you the story of how I loved it when I was a kid. Believe it or not, sounds unique, but then you go to school with a bunch of weather nerds and most of us have the same story,” Macari said. “We were all interested when we were young and nothing changed our minds. So it was just a coming of age, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, we get to meet the person who inspired a lot of us.’ It was just a great moment, especially for broadcast students.”
Over the course of his four years at Lyndon State, Macari grew more comfortable with working in front of a green screen and adapted to the trial-and-error nature of using one. He said it took quite a bit of practice to become acclimated, but he still prefers finding his way around a green screen to, say, speaking in front of a large crowd of people.
“Everybody looks the same in front of the green screen because they can adjust the camera. So you just need to stand in front of it,” Macari said. “You move your arm and what we see around us, there’s other screens, left, right and in front, we see exactly what the viewer sees and we use that to gauge where we’re pointing.”
Macari was a member of one of the last graduating classes at Lyndon State, months before a 2016 vote to merge the institution with Johnson State and form Northern Vermont University. He wears his Lyndon State colors proudly, as evidenced by the shirt he wore to the interview.
Just one week after donning his cap and gown, he traded it in for a shirt and tie at WAGM in Presque Isle, Maine. It’s the only station in the area for the 77.6-square-mile city, and Macari made the most of his opportunity.
After all, there was plenty of his favorite weather phenomenon.
“They get tons of snow, five times as much as you do here,” Macari said. “So I got my share … People are very friendly up there, and I really enjoyed my time [and] made a lot of great friends.”
He was on the air five days and about 40 times per week, cutting his teeth in the industry. After three years in Presque Isle, which sits only 10 miles from Canada, Macari left for AccuWeather in Pennsylvania this March.
He served as an off-air weather producer there for three months before the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself. A position had opened up back home at NBC 10, and Macari seized on his chance to come back home.
He said he felt badly about leaving AccuWeather, but he couldn’t pass up his dream.
“I had a great amount of people on my side, like the chief meteorologist, Mark Searles,” Macari said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the wonderful support from my parents, my family, my friends, my brother and so on and so forth. But everyone was trying to help me out, get this job, and now I’m here and I want to do the best job I can.”
When Macari was asked where he envisions himself in a decade, his answer was quick and simple.
“Hopefully here,” Macari said. “I don’t really want to leave. You can’t take that for granted, especially in this business. If you don’t work hard enough, you’re gone.”
He repeatedly expressed his excitement at returning home to Rhode Island after more than seven years of education and work across Vermont, Maine and Pennsylvania. He even hopes to return to Winsor Hill, where he spoke last year, to chat with the third-graders again.
“I was just so excited from within. I thought, ‘I finally did it.’ I didn’t know if this was ever going to be possible,” Macari said. “I was just beyond joy. I think my parents were probably more excited than me. They wanted me back so bad, and I wanted to be back, too.”