It can be hard to fill someone’s shoes. But Brooke Buckner, daughter of THV11’s former Chief Meteorologist Ed Buckner, takes great pride in working beside the news legends that her father once did. 


Buckner has spent most of her life toddling around THV11’s studio, so it only felt natural when, this past July, Buckner found herself standing in front of the camera instead.


“My dad is the whole reason why I went into this career of broadcasting. My plan was originally to go into meteorology, just like him. I spent so much time in the studio watching my dad in front of the green wall and throwing paper wads at Craig O’Neill,” Buckner recalls with a laugh. “I’ve never really been strong in math and science, but I’m a good communicator, and I love connecting with people and meeting new people and telling their stories. Ultimately, I didn’t take the meteorology route, but I’m still at the same studio carrying on the Buckner legacy.” 


Brooke Buckner

Photo Credit: THV11


After graduating from Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock in 2016, Buckner attended Arkansas State University, declaring a major in multimedia journalism. Buckner shares that while there’s been pressure to fill her dad’s shoes, the pressure has come primarily from herself.


“When I was doing ASU-TV, they had me doing the weather. They just put me there and figured that would be my thing, and that was my first ever live TV experience on my own, without my dad. I wanted to do a good job. You really don’t learn until you’re actually doing the real thing. I had fun, even though it was challenging.”


Buckner shares that watching her father predict weather across Arkansas most of her life gave her an interesting perspective compared to her classmates. 


“Watching my dad in the studio gave me a different perspective. I’d seen the TV business firsthand, and a lot of my classmates didn’t. It was an advantage because I knew what the job was like.”


Buckner notes that even some professors noticed the legacy in the making.


“Jonesboro is outside of THV11’s viewing area, so some people didn’t notice. It took some professors longer than others to figure out the Buckner connection. One professor at A-State took several semesters to figure it out. There were some professors here and there who knew and quickly made the connection. It’s pretty cool — I’ve always looked up to my dad as a hero. I’m proud of him.”


Brooke Buckner


But Buckner’s real test would come a few months before she’d originally anticipated. Buckner, who was scheduled to graduate in May of 2020, found herself packing up her dorm and heading home early. 


“During the start of the pandemic, our time was cut short, as well as a few more months of practice at ASU-TV.”


Buckner shares that March of 2020 was a scary time to be a college senior.


“So many places weren’t hiring. I wanted to get into the news, and I tried to start in Arkansas because I didn’t want to move far away, and family is extremely important to me. I got my first job reporting and anchoring in Cape Girardeau, Mo., for KFVS-Channel 12. I didn’t know many people there and it was four hours away.”


The pandemic didn’t just change school for Buckner, but the journalism industry as a whole.


“The pandemic changed a lot in the TV news industry. We couldn’t meet with certain people face-to-face anymore, and sometimes we couldn’t go into the studio. We started doing Zoom interviews. We still do. If anything positive came out of this, it was meeting people where they were, virtually. I’d prefer to meet someone in person for an interview, but if someone is a few hours away from here, it helps. It has opened up our opportunities to flesh out a story with a quick soundbite over Zoom; it makes a big difference.” 


Buckner recalls that making the move to Missouri was the hardest thing that she’d ever done, but that it was the best thing for her.


“I was doing all these adult things for the first time and figuring out life and who I was. I did it for two years and moved back in May of 2022. It’s been a year of a lot of growth.”


Since returning, Buckner has gotten married and built up a life in front of the same cameras her father stood in front of for more than 20 years. She recalls what it was like growing up with a father who was a prominent meteorologist in a state often plagued by severe tornadic weather. 


Brooke Buckner

Brooke and her sister, Morgan Buckner


“I remember that there were times that he would have to miss family events. My older sister’s high school graduation was in May, and he had to miss it because tornadoes are worse in the spring in Arkansas. He had to miss some things, and he hated having to miss things like that. At the end of the day, though, he’s a hero, because he was able to tell his community to take cover and he’s been able to save lives every time a storm brews. Balancing work and family like that is a hard job on any meteorologist.”


This perspective has allowed Buckner to prepare for breaking news and developments in the future within her own career.


“The news doesn’t stop when my shift ends at 6 p.m. I’m always on-call and I keep my work phone on ring. If you have to cover breaking news, be a team player and put content out there so the public knows. They deserve to know all of these things.”


When she’s not keeping Arkansans informed, you can find Buckner playing songs on her guitar. Soon, you’ll be able to find her on the tennis court. 


“Music and tennis were my life in high school. In college, I traveled around the state to lead music at Catholic retreats, and I helped form the tennis club at A-State. I currently still pick up my guitar from time to time and hope to get back into songwriting — I haven’t written one since college. I have recently picked up ukulele for fun too, to add to the mix,” Buckner says. “I plan to join my mom’s tennis team in the spring. That has always been a shared hobby of ours, and with my dad, it has always been music. He actually sang a duet with me on my wedding day.”


Brooke Buckner

Photo Credit: Shelby Sorrells Photography


As Buckner fills her father’s shoes at THV11, she hopes that she’ll be able to become an anchor. Right now, she’s a multi-skilled journalist. The last few months have provided Buckner with the opportunity to reflect on how much she’s grown this year alone, not to mention that she’s now working with the news giants that she grew up with. 


“It’s taken months to let that sink in. I’ve known Craig [O’Neill] and Tom [Brannon] my entire life, and now they’re colleagues of mine, so it’s really cool. I stopped throwing paper wads at Craig, though.”


Buckner looks ahead to the future, but she’s thankful for the folks who were instrumental in her past; especially, her dad.


“I’m excited about the future, but I do look back on my memories fondly. At the end of the day, I’ve made myself and my dad proud.”


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