Growing up, Hope Kleitsch spent her winters anticipating snow days and acting out fake weather forecasts, excitedly detailing the approaching winter storm for her parents. Inspired by her local broadcasters, Hope was fascinated by storms and dreamed of being on TV.

As a Ball State Meteorology and Climatology student, Hope has found a place to pursue her dream, and after several years of weather forecasting for NewsLink Indiana, “Waking Up with Cardinal Weather,” and more recently 21 Alive WPTA, it’s easy to say the camera loves her.

Broadcasting for Ball State

On her way to a geography class one day, Hope saw a flyer for NewsLink Indiana auditions. NewsLink is Ball State’s student-run news broadcast with five teams that work together to cover news, sports, and weather. Despite being the only freshman there, Hope auditioned to join the weather team.

“I was the only freshman who tried out, but putting your foot in the door is the biggest thing you can do. It was uncomfortable at first because I had no idea what I was doing, but eventually you get into your rhythm.” 

Hope standing in front of a green screen giving a weather forecast

Hope at NewsLink Indiana

By the second semester of her sophomore year, Hope was an Assistant Chief Weather Forecaster. The more she learned in her meteorology and climatology classes, the better she became at weather forecasting. Eventually, Hope worked her way up to Chief Weather Forecaster for NewsLink Indiana.

“My meteorology classes are way more in-depth than what we cover on NewsLink, but the more that I learn, the easier it is to provide information to viewers.”

Hope also joined “Waking Up with Cardinal Weather” and the Ball State Storm Chasing team her freshman year, immersing herself in the meteorology and climatology community. Her time in these activities has helped her gain broadcasting experience, witness cool storms across the country, and make impactful connections.

Working Weekends at WTPA

Hope at the 21 Alive studio

Hope at 21 Alive

Building her broadcasting portfolio and learning to network gave Hope a head start in the professional world. During the fall of 2022, Hope met with a recruiter from Gray TV who put her in contact with a News Director at 21 Alive WPTA news station. Now, Hope works part-time as a weather broadcaster for this local news channel, doing schoolwork on the weekdays, and professional work on the weekends.

“The experience I’ve gotten out of 21 Alive has been great. NewsLink got me to the point where I was ready for this work, but actually seeing how a real news station works is incredible. And learning from the Meteorologists there who have walked me through everything is really cool.”

Forecasting for a news station while still attending school is not always easy, however. On the weekends, Hope has a much different routine that her classmates.

  • Goes to bed by 6 p.m. and wakes up at 12:30 a.m. to get to the station. Arriving, still in her pajamas, Hope starts working on her show, which involves putting together a 7-day forecast and creating the graphics to go with it.
  • Around 3:00 a.m. she does a radio hit for the local radio station.
  • At 5 a.m. she does cut-ins for “Good Morning America.”
  • At 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., Hope goes live for her hour-long show, covering any weather that could impact viewers.

For Future Forecasters

Balancing school, NewsLink Indiana, and 21 Alive keeps Hope busy, but as she reflects on her time at Ball State, she is grateful for the opportunities she’s had. Hope especially appreciates the meteorology professors and classes that have helped prepare her for the future.

“Every meteorology professor is great. But I think for me specifically, Dr. Call has been especially helpful. He did broadcasts right out of college, and I was able to talk to him about it and learn what to expect.”

For incoming and current students in meteorology and climatology, Hope offers one piece of advice:

“Go out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t hurt to try. Even if I didn’t get into NewsLink at least I would have tried. Just put your foot in the door and go from there.”

Hope is no longer waiting for snow days to put on fake forecasts for her parents, instead she is giving real ones on the local news. Her work and experience as a meteorology and climatology student at Ball State have led her to where she is today, with a bright and sunny future.

For more stories on forecasting and information from the Department of Geography and Meteorology, visit our website or blog.