This year, WSBT news director John Haferkamp was faced with an unusual problem: the station’s two meteorologists, Cari Peugeot and Abby Weppler, were both pregnant and had due dates within weeks of one another.
“When Cari and Abby told me they were expecting, the first thing I did was check my anti-venom supply, because it felt like I’d been snake bit,” Haferkamp jokes. “Then I assembled the troops and we put together an action plan.”
In April, WSBT brought on Erik Larson, a former intern in the station’s weather department who recently graduated from Purdue with a meteorology degree, and he trained with Peugeot and Weppler as their due dates neared.
Weppler ended up giving birth on July 18th, to a baby boy, and Peugeot followed with a son of her own on August 21st. With both meteorologists now on maternity leave, the NBC-affiliate announced this week that Weather Channel veteran Cheryl Lemke would join the station on an interim basis.
“WSBT has always been committed to bringing our viewers the best weather coverage we can,” Haferkamp said. “We are more than fortunate to have Cheryl join our team for the next few months, as Cari and Abby enjoy being first-time moms. Her professionalism and many years of experience as a Weather Channel meteorologist mean WSBT-TV won’t miss a beat.”
Lemke spent over two decades with the Weather Channel, though most recently she worked at WXIA in Atlanta.
“When I became news director at WSBT, I thought I was prepared for all that came with it,” recalls Haferkamp. “The shootings, the accidents, the budget battles, the long days and nights. I never anticipated losing two very popular meteorologists to maternity leave in a matter of weeks from one another.”
(WSBT has a full account of Haferkamp’s dilemma HERE).