FOX8 WGHP’s Van Denton is the chief meteorologist of the FOX8 Max Weather Center. He also hosts “Van’s Weather Kids,” a segment that gives Piedmont Triad children a chance to learn about meteorology and present the forecast live on air.
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Van Denton came to WGHP TV more than three decades ago after working in New Bern (WCTI-TV 12) and Myrtle Beach (WBTW-TV 13). After arriving at WGHP on April 1, 1990, he anchored the weather at 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, and a few months later the 5 p.m. weather when WGHP became the first station in the market with a 5 p.m. news. For six of these years, he had a chance to work with the late Frank Deal and did team weather with Frank at 5:30 p.m. once that newscast was added. Frank was with WGHP from 1969 until 1996. There have only been two chief meteorologists at WGHP since 1969. Not too many stations have that kind of stability.
He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology from North Carolina State University in 1987 and received the AMS TV Seal of Approval shortly after.
Van is a five-time Emmy nominee for best weather in the Mid-South region of the United States.
In 2015, he was voted America’s Favorite Weathercaster in a Weatherist poll of more than 600 weather people in 45 of the largest TV markets in the United States.
He was also voted best meteorologist in the Triad by:
In 1997, he started a weather segment called Van’s Weather Kids and, in 1999, gave a presentation to the national American Meteorological Society (AMS) Broadcast Conference in Orlando, Florida, on the Weather Kids program. After this presentation, many other stations around the country began the segment too. He gave another presentation to the AMS for Van’s Weather Kids in 2017.
This program had been a dream for Van since he visited a station as a guest at 15 years old. In October 1980, he had sent a winter forecast to a Raleigh TV station, WPTF (NBC for the market in 1980), and was invited to give the winter forecast on the air. They did not normally invite kids to be on the air but did in this case. The highlight was the first snow was forecast to be December 27, 1980, and was presented on-air two months in advance. On December 27, 1980, it did snow and he was invited back to the station. This opened many doors for his television career.
After realizing how significant this experience had been for him, he thought it would be great to do this for others. When Frank Deal retired in 1996, Van brought the idea to the general manager and news director and they came up with Van’s Weather Kids. He had saved the names and phone numbers of young people he had met between 1990 and 1996 and called these young people to start the program. Once others saw it, the letters started pouring in from others wanting to be a part of the program. This program has been nominated for two Emmy Awards.
Van credits two people for inspiring him in his career. He interned under the late Skip Waters at WCTI in New Bern, where he got his first job as a TV meteorologist. Skip even allowed Van to fill-in and anchor the weather on a Friday night when he took a vacation day; Van was only 17 years old and still in high school. He also learned a lot about the business from Frank Deal with whom he remained good friends until his passing in 2010.
He has been married for 31 years, and he and his wife have two children.
Van anchors the weather on WGHP from 5 to 7 p.m. and 10 to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.