Forecasting Legendary Skies. An interview with “Mr. G”, Irv Gikofsky

There are few things as difficult to predict as the weather but that doesn’t stop viewers from relying upon their weather forecasters to bring them the daily outlook as well as more than a touch of humanity and personality. Emblematic of this special viewer relationship is “Mr. G” Irv Gikofsky, a legendary New York City area weather reporter who is both beloved by audiences and revered by colleagues. Recipient of no less than 5 Emmy awards and the prestigious, hallowed Edward R. Murrow award, Mr. G’s impact on journalism and modern media is difficult to overstate. His story is also a living testament to the fulfillment of childhood goals and dreams.

Falling in love with the weather as a child, Irv Gikofsky is a graduate of Hofstra University and later Yeshiva University where he received his master’s degree, Mr. G worked at the Albert Einstein Intermediate School in the Bronx where he developed the first weather program using computers for New York City schools. From there he moved to television, starting as a weatherman at CBS New York.

Lauded from all corners of New York media and beyond, Mr. G is an institution unto himself and does not shy away from the speaker’s podium, bringing his inspirational message to young generations across the metropolitan area. In addition to his numerous Emmy awards and the Edward R. Murrow award, Mr. G also received the Friar’s Club Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and an induction into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame in October 2023, both further cementing his status as an inspirational model for media figures. In this interview, Mr. G explains the origin behind his iconic name as well as talks about his time in NYC public schools. We get some unique insights into his start as a weatherman and some insight into what makes the job challenging but also rewarding.

Beyond just the mechanical aspects of his job, however, Mr. G provides a connection and reliable touchstone for the media broadcast for many viewers. Coming to work every day and shouldering these expectations can’t be easy but Mr. G lets us know what he does to be his absolute best self for the viewers. Discussing technology, Mr. G gives us a useful insight when it comes to the rapidly changing landscape of presentation and production and that is how central his performance and personality are to the presentation of weather in an effective way no matter what technology is being used.

Beyond the screen, we talk with Mr. G about his writing as well as what a day in his life is like. Closing with some personal insights, Mr. G lets us know a few things that others don’t about him as well as giving us all some things to think about no matter where we are in our careers. Speaking on what he values and what he would change if he could, Mr. G gives us all a keen look into his values and global outlook.    

Can you tell us how your journey into the world of meteorology and weather forecasting began?

The first time, I saw snow, I immediately wanted to learn everything I could about it. I would watch the first flake and 12 hours of snow and the final flake. I read everything I could about the storm the next day.

What sparked your interest in this field?

The first TV weatherman was Tex Antoine, I watched him every day for many years and decided I wanted to be on Television. My head was big, my body was very thin. I did not know how I would do this but I decided to do weather forecast at 7 years old in front of my bedroom mirror. Later on, when I drove at a red light, I practiced weather forecast in my rear view mirror. Very funny and very true.

You’ve been known as “Mr. G” in the New York City area for many years. Could you share some memorable moments from your time as a weatherman at WPIX?

It’s a two-part question, first part, the name “Mr.G” came from my students. They could not pronounce my last name, which is Gikofsky. They called me Giffy, and Gobbowitz. Finally, it got to G-man, G-money, Yo-G and Mr.G. Mr.G stuck!

Mr. G

Image credit: Dave McDonald

Another memorable moment was in 1978, Channel 2 came up to watch me teach weather to my students in the Bronx and hired me right on the spot to be a TV weatherman on the weekends.

The third moment was in 1993, when Channel 11 with their rich history of community, children & caring asked me to join their team. It was a perfect fit!

What makes forecasting weather in a place as diverse and dynamic as New York City unique or challenging?

Great question! Mountains to the west, ocean to the South & East, urban area which retains heat, tricky rain snow lines in the winter, blistering hot days in the summer, but cool nights north and west. As a forecaster, you must be on your toes ALL the time!

Your on-air presence is well-loved by viewers. How do you connect with your audience and make weather forecasts relatable and engaging?

I always try to be the best version of myself. I learned all I can do is be me. The hope is that it is good enough. After 44 years, I guess the audience has spoken. What a treat for me to run in the park and do 34 marathons and people come over to me with so many kind words, thoughts, memories, and greetings. How lucky am I?! Interestingly enough, I always wanted to be liked. I sell my passion, my love, and my enthusiasm for the science on air. Every now and then, I tilt the needle towards fun. The audience needs and deserves that.

1986 New York Marathon

Irv Gikofsky. 1986 New York Marathon

You’ve witnessed significant technological advancements in weather forecasting during your career. How have these changes influenced your work, and what do you think the future holds for weather forecasting?

In 1982, my general manager, Ron Tindiglia interestingly enough, his daughter is my boss now, Nicole Tindiglia. Ron said to me, the weather computers of the future will be producing great graphics on television. “You better be more interesting than those graphics. Otherwise, we don’t need you.”

In addition to your on-air work, you authored the book “Don’t Blame the Weatherman: Mr. G Talks to You About the Weather.” Tell us about your writing work and did you ever want to author more books.

I’ve done two books. ‘Don’t Blame The Weatherman’ & ‘The Forecast is Love’. Both are weather related. I’ve visited over 500 schools, thousands of kids, hundreds of community activities, worked with the METS, & champion children whenever I can. The station is 100% behind all my efforts to connect and reconnect with all of New York on going! And my family, wife, Sang and daughter, Jaida support all that I do all the time. They both recognize my mission. As I said before, it’s a perfect fit, station with G and family for G’s efforts. Will I do another book, perhaps, too!

Visiting schools

Beyond the science of weather, you’ve become a familiar face and trusted source of information for New Yorkers. How do you balance the role of a weatherman with the responsibility of keeping the public informed during severe weather events?

People want a trusted voice, a trusted on-air person. Someone that makes them feel good while taking them through hurricanes, blizzards, thunderstorms, snow storms and more. In New York, you need to be consistent, your tone of voice must be correct, you must be calming and informative and by listening, the audience shows their respect. The drama is the weather. The weatherman must not be the drama!

Your career spans several decades. What advice do you have for aspiring meteorologists and weather reporters looking to make a mark in the field?

If you love the science of weather, get yourself in front of a computer and read everything you can about weather. Recommendation, my mentor Jim Witt has a site called It takes you from the second grade to a senior in high school with lesson plans to follow. I used those lessons when I taught. You will then be following my path. “You cannot start without commitment, you cannot finish without consistency.” Translated; don’t quit, show Grit!

How do you think your experience in the industry has influenced the way you see and appreciate the weather in your everyday life?

At times, the news can be very difficult and somber. The weather part of the show has taught me that you need to be uplifting and to always give the audience a look towards the future. For example; the seven day forecast is a look into what is ahead.

In October, you were inducted into the New York State Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. Tell us about the honor and meaning to you as a broadcaster and meteorologist.

This one shocked me. My general manager, Chris McDonald came down the hall showing me a letter he wrote, recommending me for the hall. I was honored and totally floored that days later, he came down the hall again and he told me I was accepted immediately and unanimously. When I spoke, I was only concerned about speaking from my heart. I didn’t even have a speech. I just wrote a few bullets. I was not concerned about being polished. I was only concerned about expressing my real deep feelings. Actually, I never heard the standing ovation because I was totally in the zone. Ten years of teaching weather, 44 yrs of TV weather, 37 years of CBS radio all coming together on what I knew would be a day of living my legacy. I’m a lucky man.

How is a day in your life?

A day in my life goes by very rapidly. I get up in the morning, I read 4 newspapers, check on my weather computers, check out my stocks, have 2 cups of coffee, walk/run 5-7 miles, take a nap, go into the studio, get there by 2pm, do my shows, come home for dinner between the shows, do the night time shows, and repeat, repeat, repeat!

What is something most people don’t know about you?

After 44 years, I think they get me. If I was to highlight one thought, it’s my concern about the human condition. Too many people are stressed. Too many people quit, too many people complain and too many people lack hope. I had a deeply flawed background filled with poverty and all that poverty brings. I feel my mission is to give people hope and a smile. That is the gift I offer.

What are two of your favorite quotes?

“The greatest gift we have to give is hope. The passion that we have if positive is the oxygen for that hope.”

“You cannot start without commitment, you cannot finish without consistency. Too many people never get to the starting line. And many people do not have the grit to finish.”

If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?

I would want all countries, and all governments to provide the best of resources, housing, healthcare, education, to children between the ages of birth to 8 years old, the formative years of life. If we nurture their liveliness, their curiosity, their sense of humor, the kindness, creativity, and fun, we will all be better off for it. If children come first, we will all be the beneficiaries. We have set up a relationship with Northwell’s Cohens Children’s Hospital with the support of the CEO, Michael Dowling, my general manager, Chris McDonnell, and my news director, Nicole Tindiglia, to work on behalf of children in need.

Anything else you’d like to add?

At 78 years old, I’d like to say I feel young, I act young because I remain curious, lively and engaged. I still believe that life is just like the marathon. You must get to the starting line, run the best race you can, and remember it’s the journey that matters & finish with dignity and grace. 

To know more about Mr. G, please visit PIX11

Front cover image: By David DuPuy Studios

Makeup artist: Jaida Kyi





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