Jim grew up in Lindsay, Oklahoma, in the heart of tornado alley, to which he credits his life-long fascination with weather.
After graduating with honors from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, Jim continued his Meteorology studies at Mississippi State University’s Broadcast Meteorology program.
Jim’s career began in 1981 at KADA-AM Radio, where he spent two years before moving into television at Ada’s KTEN-TV in 1983. He joined KXAN in November 1990 as the first weathercaster for Austin’s first hour-long morning newscast, News 36 Firstcast. In 1993 he moved to the weeknight newscasts, where he can be seen today.
Jim’s coverage of the Jarrell, Cedar Park and Lake Travis area tornadoes on May 27, 1997 brought him international attention and much local praise. His warnings were first on the air during that tragic tornado outbreak.
Jim is a five-time winner of the Texas Associated Press Best Weathercast award, and has been voted Austin’s Best Weathercaster by readers of Austin Chronicle 12 times. He has been named TV Personality of the Year by Austin’s American Women in Radio and Television Chapter four times, including his most recent 2010 award. Jim is also a past recipient of the National Weather Association’s Weathercaster of the Year award. Most recently, Jim Spencer was voted the 2011 winner of the Best Weathercast Award by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters.
Jim does have interests other than weather. He’s crazy about his nieces and nephews, Falicia, Krysta, Zach, Zak, Kandis, Joaquin, a.k.a. Broc, Jaxson, Braelyn, and Zoe.
Football officiating is another of Jim’s passions. He is a line judge and a member of the Texas Association of Sports Officials. He has officiated NAIA and NCAA Division 2 and 3 college football, and has officiated high school football games since 1981. His favorite officiating experiences include his 2006 state championship assignment, playoff games in the Astrodome, Alamodome and Texas Stadium. He is a member of the chain crew for Big 12 Conference officials during some UT home football games, and has officiated scrimmages for the University of Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.
He is very involved in community and charitable organizations. Jim has co-hosted the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for 19 years. He is a mentor in Austin’s Communities in Schools program and was named Langford Elementary School’s Mentor of the Year for the 2009-10 school year. He serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Helping Hand Home for Children, where he is also a “buddy” to abused and neglected children served by the Home. He has served on the Advisory Council for the Travis County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and worked with the ARC of the Capital Area, an organization dedicated to helping area residents with developmental disabilities. Jim has also served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children of Travis County. Jim speaks to hundreds of area school children each year about severe weather safety.
His professional affiliations include the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.
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