Behind the Scenes with Jon Hansen
Jon Hansen can be seen all over town delivering the weather for 'The Jam' in a unique way! From marching with a high school band to cooking pancakes on the streets of Chicago, his weather reports will put a smile on your face even if the forecast is not so sunny. We sat down and talked with him about what he is doing when he is not out and about covering the weather.
We get to see you doing so much stuff on the show! What are you doing when you are not on camera?
Other than that, I do standard things like watch Netflix and try to work out. I am a coffee aficionado, so I love to visit new coffee shops.
One thing I really enjoy is a long walk. That helps me come up with my best ideas. I am never really off of "show mode."
You are not a foodie, but definitely a traveler. Tell us about that.
I do really like to travel. I go to Vegas a lot. I have friends that live out there. I never feel more relaxed and "off the clock" than when I am sitting at a blackjack table or a poker table. Not spending a lot of money, but sitting there and having a cocktail and just thinking about playing the game.
I also love road trips, because I like driving. Someone says drive eight hours...that sounds good to me! It is another time that I get to focus on something else without other things going on.
Since you love driving, what would be your ultimate road trip?
It would be to go to all 30 baseball parks in one summer. People have done that and mapped out the games to travel to all the parks. If I had a couple of months off I would do that.
I think traveling to the national parks would be great as well. I am not the most outdoorsy person, but I would go to the park, look at Old Faithful and then go to the closest nice hotel (laughs).
A lot of people find inspiration in their off time. When do you feel most inspired?
Really it is when I am talking to everyday Chicagoans. They have great ideas and amazing stories. I am always surprised by something that they say. When I put the microphone in their face, most of the time we have not talked at all. For example, I interviewed a woman the other day for a segment called "Tell Me Something Good." She said that she works for an agency that helps people gain citizenship. That was great, then I wanted to dig into her story more.
As cliché as it sounds, everyone has a story. Whether it is good, bad, or a bump along the road, getting to hear their story no matter where they are in their journey feels amazing.
Let talk a bit about how you got to a career in TV. Did you always imagine yourself in this role?
I think this goes back to when I was three-years-old. I wanted to be a game show host or a weatherman and I am kind of doing both (laughs). I went to college at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and majored in broadcast journalism. I knew I did not want to be a reporter on the scenes. The people who do it are great, but I like to do things that are more creative and energetic.
Right after college, I got the opportunity to run a radio station in Urbana-Champaign. I did that for four years. Then I worked in the US Senate for a year as a speechwriter and communications director.
That was a career left turn. I thought I was done with radio and TV and moved to D.C. I figured out that I did not love that as much.
I moved back to Chicago and became a traffic reporter. All of these experiences got me to my current role. On 'The Jam,' I get to do a little bit of both of my childhood dreams (laughs). I am really lucky to be able to do TV in my hometown.
What type of advice would you give someone who wants to get to where you are?
Say yes to everything. If you are asked to do something, especially when you are young in your career, do it. It may not be fun at first. It may be an overnight shift or on the weekends but just do it. When you are in your twenties that is what you are supposed to do. It may take a while, but people take notice. You become the person that people count on.
Also, fake it to you make it! You will be in situations when you do not know what to do. However, you see people on TV do what they do. No matter how long you are in this industry, there are still people faking it at times. Eventually, you will figure it out. I think the people who fake it the best make it the best.
Let's close with a bit of a speed round. You know so much about the city!
What is the best summertime activity in Chicago?
Just taking a long walk around town
Best coffee shop in Chicago?
Star Lounge in Ukrainian Village
Must-do annual activity in Chicago?
The Air and Water Show...and of course go to as many Cubs games as possible.