By Judith Salkin
CBS Local 2 Chief Meteorologist Patrick Evans has a philosophy on work and life: Find a job you love and a community where you’re happy, and call your life a success.
Evans has lived that life with every broadcasting job he’s had and place he’s lived throughout his nearly 30 year career. Especially here in the Coachella Valley.
“I thoroughly enjoy being here,” says Evans, 46, who has lived and worked in the valley since the CBS affiliate went on the air Sept. 2, 2002. “I love the community and having the time to really be a part of it.”
Last Friday (May 31), Evans spent his morning playing in a charity golf tournament before heading to the Palm Desert studio to do his weathercasts on the station’s evening news shows. “You can’t beat that schedule,” he said.
The Washington, D.C.-born Evans got his start on the road to weather as a teen, with his first job at a small station in his Charlottesville, Va., hometown.
“When I was 17 may dad told me that it was time to find a job,” he recalls. “I got what was a really cool job for a high school kid as the floor director and camera operator for the 6 and 11 p.m. news show at our local NBC affiliate.”
Evans worked after school, had a break after the 6 p.m. slot and went back for a couple of hours for the 11 p.m. newscast, and got home at midnight. Initially the schedule didn’t sit too well with Evans’ dad. When reminded that he was the one who had insisted that the kid find work, he was caught, Evans recalled. “He told me I could do it only if I kept my grades up.”
Evans continued working at the local station all through college, even working seven days a week when he went on air as the weekend anchor. “I was off campus as much as I was on it, and I probably missed out on some normal college activities,” he says. “But it also exposed me to a different type of life. My parents were older when they had me and I gravitated more toward adults, so this was normal for me.”
When Evans graduated in May 1989 he started full-time as the station’s morning weather anchor, and within six months he’d been promoted to main weather forecaster at noon, 6 and 11 p.m.
They were long days, but the schedule allowed Evans to take graduate courses in weather sciences, “and keep one foot in academia.”
Within a year, Evans had been approached by a station in Roanoke, Va., to take over the weather desk. It was a move to the number 65 television market, and an expansion of his talents.
During his 10 years in Roanoke, Evans built a cadre of local weather watchers who reported in on a daily basis, going from a few hundred to more than 120,000 when he left. The station also resurrected its version of the “College Bowl” with Evans as the host/moderator. “That was a blast,” he recalled. “We took the winning team to the National Scholastic Championships, took in a Cubbies or White Sox game, maybe go to a couple of museums. It was great fun.”
The station also sent Evans to Peru for two weeks and New Orleans for a national football championships on assignment, and with its proximity to home, allowed him the opportunity to return to the University of Virginia to catch home games by the football team. “It was a great place to work.”
In 2000, Evans heard the call of the west and headed to Santa Ana to work at the hyper-local station run by the Orange County Register and later operated by Adelphia Cable.
“We had a ton of fun there,” he says. “We were on the air all the time. We weren’t making L.A. money, but it was fun.” Unfortunately, the station folded when Adelphia went belly up. “If it wasn’t for Enron, Adelphia would have been the poster child for corporate greed,” he says.
That’s how Evans got to the valley. He was hired as the early morning anchor, “Something I’d done before,” he says. And when originating weatherman Rich Fields left the station for his own dream job, Evans was asked to step up to the main role.
From October to May, Evans has a busy schedule. “I tell people that I don’t have to buy groceries during season because of all the events I’m asked to host or participate in,” he says with a laugh.
Evans says he wouldn’t like living in L.A., “being here gives me the opportunity to go there, the beach or the mountains when I want to,” he says.
About the only thing that hasn’t improved in his life since moving to the desert is his golf game. “If anything, it’s gotten worse,” he says with a laugh. But if he had to rate the Coachella Valley as a place to live and work, “This may be the best small market in the world,” he says.
You can hang out with Patrick at AMFM Festival’s Celebrity Go Kart Racing Event at Xceleration Go Kart’s on Thursday, June 13 at 9pm.