Published on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 21:02
WFLD-TV has hired meteorologist Bill Bellis as its new weekend and afternoon weatherperson. He will be replacing Chris Sowers, whose contract expired last month, but has been filling in on a freelance basis since.
Although there is not yet a firm start date, Bellis will soon take over the weather forecasts for WFLD-TV's newscasts on Saturdays at 9:00pm, as well as the Noon newscasts on Wednesday-Friday.
Bellis is coming to Chicago from KNXV-TV, the ABC station in Phoenix, AZ, where Bellis has been their Chief Meteorologist since July 2003, doing four newscasts each weekday.
A native of Long Island, NY, Bill Bellis first went to college Williamsport, PA, majoring mechanical engineering and playing some college football for Lycoming College. However, after two years, he decided to study weather instead and changed to the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Science.
His first job out of college was a weekend weather anchor role with KLFY-TV, a CBS station in Lafayette, LA. Soon after, he was hired as the weekend and fill-in weatherman at KPRC-TV, the NBC station in Houston, TX, where he worked from 1999-2003. In the summer of 2003, he returned to Arizona to KNXV-TV, where he has been ever since.
A popular media figure in Arizona, the readers of Phoenix Magazine once named Bellis as "Favorite Weather Person." He has a fan-favorite weekly feature on his forecasts on the station's website called "Tell Us Bellis," where he answers weather and weather-related trivia questions.
Bill Bellis has the Seal of Approval from both the NWA (National Weather Service) and the AMS (American Meteorologist Society). He is a three-time Emmy award winner for special weather reports he has done.
The Bellis family includes Bill, age 36, his wife Julie, a personal trainer/group training specialist, their daughter Briyana, son Avry, and golden retriever Sammy.
Word of Bellis' upcoming hire at WFLD-TV was first broken by the Chicago Tribune's media columnist Phil Rosenthal last month on October 23rd
WFLD-TV's Chief Meteorologist remains Amy Freeze, who has been with the station since February 2007. It should be noted that her current contract with the station expires in February 2011, less than three months from now, and has not been renewed as of yet.
UPDATE: Despite previous reports, Bill Bellis' exact work hours for WFLD-TV are not yet determined. He will be making his debut around the start of February, and could very well be taking over the lead meteorological role at the station, depending on Amy Freeze's status by then.