It's not a retirement. It's more a passing of the torch, as WOOD-TV8 announced Portage native Ellen Bacca has been appointed Chief Meteorologist at the station, and long-time weather forecaster Bill Steffen is assuming a new title as Chief Meteorologist Emeritus, while cutting back his workload.

(WOOD-TV8 via

Bacca joined WOOD-TV in 2014 after working in Montana and North Carolina. She has her degree in meteorology from Valparaiso University. She becomes the first female chief meteorologist in West Michigan television.

Steffen has been on TV in West Michigan for a long time, first working at WZZM (Channel 13) in the mid-1970's, becoming chief meteorologist in 1985. He joined WOOD-TV in 2001. The Chicago native and Wisconsin graduate also did radio in Grand Rapids early in his career.

Having worked several telethons with Bill in the early 2000's, I can echo the sentiments of all those at WOOD-TV in that Steffen is truly one of the nicest and most genuine people in the industry. And he's is really dedicated to his work and craft. At one of those telethons (for the MDA), he and I were hosting from a car dealership that year, on Stadium Drive, and heavy weather came into the area, and in-between local breaks on the telethon, Bill got on one of the dealership's computers, checking out the path of the storm and relaying information back to the studio in Grand Rapids.

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