Francis Davis

In April 1949, a national publication wrote this about Broadcast Pioneers' member, Dr. Francis Davis.

No matter what the weather, here's a good day to you." With those words, Francis K. Davis concludes three five-minute weather programs every weekday on radio Station WFIL in Philadelphia. Usually we think of the weatherman as a target of a lot of bad jokes but since Davis joined the WFIL staff in October 1947, he has become one of the station's most popular radio personalities and his mailbag is always packed with special requests.

"Straight weather information usually is dry, even when the weather is wet," says Davis, so he set about building a program that would be packed with human interest as well as authoritative facts. From his own weather stations at WFIL and his home eighteen miles away, from the U.S. Weather Bureau offices in mid-city and at International Airport, he gathers his information. Human interest elements come from the library, the record books, and the news wires.

Davis received his Bachelor's degree in Physics at West Chester College and his Master's degree in meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Four years in the Army with Air Force weather squadrons gave him experience in forecasting all parts of the country and he receive a special commendation for his forecasting for the B-29 "Dreamboat" flight from Tokyo to Washington. His research work has been published by the Army and the American Meteorological Society. Recently he addressed their 100th national meeting on the meteorologist's role in radio and television.

A Davis day starts at 4:30 am, when he leaves his wife and three year old son for work. He stops at the airport weather station en route. After his morning program, he goes to Drexel Institute of Technology where he is an assistant professor of physics. In the afternoon, he tries to work in some post graduate study at Temple University or the University of Pennsylvania before preparing his evening programs. He gathers data at the mid-city bureau before his 7 pm show and again for his late evening program. Then home and bed.

The WFIL staff relies on Davis' predictions, ever since the summer of 1948 when Francis Davis went on vacation just one day before the worst wave of heat in Philadelphia history.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Article originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Francis Davis
© 2001, All Rights Reserved

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