Now in his 31st year at KXAN, Emmy Award-winning weathercaster Jim Spencer has been forecasting Austin and Central Texas weather longer than anyone in the history of Austin television.
Jim grew up in Lindsay, Oklahoma, in the heart of tornado alley, to which he credits his life-long fascination with weather.
Jim joined KXAN in 1990, becoming the first weathercaster on Austin’s first hour-long morning newscast, News 36 Firstcast. In 1993, he became chief weathercaster, taking over the evening broadcasts, until his semi-retirement on March 1, 2021. Jim continues to work part-time.
Jim’s broadcasting career began the same month he started college at East Central University, in Ada Oklahoma. He spent two years at KADA-AM Radio before moving into television at Ada’s KTEN-TV in 1983. He became chief weathercaster at KTEN upon graduating college, and remained there until joining KXAN.
Jim has received national recognition for his work. He is a past recipient of the National Weather Association’s Weathercaster of the Year award. Jim has been awarded three Emmys and has been nominated for several more. He is also a five-time winner of the Texas Associated Press Best Weathercast award, and has been voted Austin’s Best Weathercaster 21 times by readers of the Austin Chronicle. He has been named TV Personality of the Year by Austin’s American Women in Radio and Television Chapter five times, and was named Best Weather Reporter in the Austin American Statesman’s Best of the Best Awards in 2018.
Jim has a long history of involvement in community and charitable organizations. He is on the board of directors of Service Dogs, Inc., and along with KXAN’s mascot Kaxan, promotes animal welfare and rescue for numerous local agencies and non-profit groups. He is a member of the Community Advisory Board for Austin Wildlife Rescue.
He also serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Helping Hand Home for Children, where he has served as a “buddy” to abused and neglected children served by the Home.
Jim has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children of Travis County. He has been a mentor in Austin’s Communities in Schools program and was named Langford Elementary School’s Mentor of the Year.
He represents KXAN in the station’s longtime partnership with Family Eldercare’s summer fan drive. He is a member of the Advisory Council for Travis County’s Coming of Age–Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and has worked with the ARC of the Capital Area, an organization dedicated to helping area residents with developmental disabilities.
Jim co-hosted the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for 19 years. He emcees charitable events regularly for area non-profit organizations, and visits numerous area schools each year, teaching thousands of area students about severe weather safety.
Football officiating has been another of Jim’s passions. As a line judge and head linesman, he officiated high school football for 31 years as a member of the Texas Association of Sports Officials and Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. He has officiated NAIA and NCAA Division 2 and 3 college football games. His favorite officiating experiences include his state semi-final and state championship assignments, and playoff games in the Astrodome, Alamodome and Texas Stadium. He has been a member of the chain crew for Big 12 Conference officials during UT home football games, and has officiated scrimmages for the University of Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.
Jim does have interests other than weather and football. He loves to spend time with, and brag about his nieces and nephews, Falicia, Krysta, Zach, Zak, Kandis, Joaquin, a.k.a. Broc, Jaxson, Braelyn, Zoey, and Kenedy.
His professional affiliations include the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.
Follow Jim on Facebook @jimspencerKXAN