Each week, we invite one lucky child to the studio to help FOX8 Chief Meteorologist Van Denton present the weather forecast. They’ll have a chance to see the studio in person, learn about meteorology and meet some of FOX8’s award-winning news team—not to mention the opportunity to appear live on TV.

Those interested in being a Van’s Weather Kid must send an email to weatherkid@wghp.com saying why they want to be a Weather Kid with a copy of their address, phone number and recent photo. The segment is limited to children ages 8 to 13.

How did Van’s Weather Kids get its start?

The Van’s Weather Kids segment has been a mainstay here a FOX8 since 1997.

The program was a dream for Van since he visited a station as a guest at 15 years old. In October 1980, Van sent a winter forecast to a Raleigh TV station, WPTF (NBC for the market in 1980), and he was invited to give the winter forecast on the air. They didn’t normally invite kids to be on the air but they decided to take a chance on Van. The highlight was the first snow forecast. It was still two months out, but Van predicted that the first snow would come on December 27, 1980. Sure enough, on December 27, 1980, it snowed. This moment helped to launch Van’s career as a meteorologist.

After realizing how significant the experience was for him, he thought it would be great to do this for others. When Frank Deal retired in 1996, he 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.

In 1999, Van shared his idea at the national American Meteorological Society Broadcast Conference in Orlando, Florida. After this presentation, many other stations around the country launched similar segments.

Who is Van Denton?

Van has been presenting the weather at FOX8 since 1990.

Before coming to the station, Van 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. He worked in New Bern (WCTI-TV 12, ABC) and Myrtle Beach (WBTW-TV 13, CBS).

For his first six years at WGHP, Van worked alongside the late Frank Deal. 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.

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.com 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 in the Reader’s Choice Awards, Triad Style and Rhino Times.

Van Denton has been married for more than three decades, 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.