Science - November 9, 2012

The making of the new Erwin

The new Erwin Kroll (Dutch tv weatherman) begins his career in Wageningen today. Who will this person be?

Thirty weathermen and women get a shot at fame on television in Lumen. Their sight is set on a much-coveted job as NOS weather expert. These 30 have already gone through a pre-selection, explains weatherman Gerrit Hiemstra, an ex-Wageninger. 'There were more than a hundred applicants. The 30 are chosen from these, of whom five have made it so far. One of these five will be it.'
The screen test takes place in Wageningen because the autumn symposium for professional meteorologists (NVBM) is held in Lumen. The job application procedure of the NOS fits into the programme. Very handy, since the new weather person has to be a meteorologist anyway. There is a chance that this will be someone who has studied in Wageningen. Besides Wageningen, Utrecht University is the only other university with this programme.
Be yourself
How does the ideal weatherman look like? Hiemstra: 'He must be able to engage the viewer. This is most important.' Which begs the question: what do you have to do? 'You have to have a flair for attracting some attention: with your use of words, the way you look, the way you move. Someone with this natural ability will be most suitable,' Hiemstra suggests. 'You have to communicate through the camera. Being yourself is therefore most important. You should not put up an act. Many people are prompted to behave differently when they are in a studio. By being yourself, you can tell a story much better.'
The candidates are each given 15 minutes for a presentation. Not much preparation is needed for this. Improvise, says Hiemstra, and show what you're made of. But there is no audience; this is after all not an 'Idols' show, but a job application process. At the exit at Lumen, a young man in a strange-looking blue suit has something to say. Anonymous, in any case, so that his colleagues would not get wind of it. He is pleased; it went well. Will he be the new Erwin?