Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is it time to crown a new King – or Queen – of Cleveland weather forecasting?

I’ve lived in the Cleveland area all my life, and I’ve seen a lot of weather – and weather forecasters – come and go. I’m of the opinion that many people are loyal to a particular channel for only a few reasons, and one of those reasons is the credibility and likeability of the on-air weather talent.

I came to a conclusion last night watching the weather on Fox 8 during the 5:00 hour: It’s time for Dick Goddard to go.

Now that I’ve said it, let me qualify the statement. I have watched Dick on local TV since I was a kid in the mid-1960s, when he was with KYW (now WKYC, channel 3). He has been with channel 8 probably since the ice sheets started to melt. OK, that’s exaggerating but he’s been here forever. I own two of his books and find his weather forecasting on target and probably the most reliable in town. But watching him yesterday, I realized that I just don’t like him any more. He sometimes seems all over the place while delivering the forecast. It may sound like a minor thing, but I find it distracting.

I think it’s time to recognize some of the other Cleveland weather forecasters in town and identify those that I think are the best. Some of this is not based solely on my own opinion. Having friends and family in town, and since weather is always such a hot issue here, the subject of who is delivering the forecast comes up frequently.

Here’s my forecast on who is tops in Cleveland Weather:

1. Betsy Kling – WKYC Channel 3: Betsy has been with this channel since 2003, working mostly weekend evening weather, and recently moving to the weekday PM slot. Besides having great screen presence, she probably has the most informative weather segment in town. It’s not just informing of the forecast, but she has a way of explaining the weather that makes it very interesting. I also believe she is the best dressed of the lot, and possible maybe of any person in local news. Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that I wish I had one-tenth of her wardrobe. Seriously, I’ve had others comment that Betsy dresses classy and professionally, and also that they just plain LIKE her. You just can't buy that kind of compliment.

FORECAST: 7 Sunny days in a row

2. Scott Sabol – WJW Fox 8: Scott recently moved from the PM slot to the lengthy AM slot. I’ve seen Scott in both time slots and while I think he was great later in the day, he made the move very well to the morning. Scott’s weather delivery is relaxed, and he relays confidence in his forecasts. I think when he first made the move to the AM time he seemed a little out of sorts, as if he was shocked with the "looseness" of the show, but he seems to have fit into the spot very well.

FORECAST: 5 Sunny Days in one week

3. André Bernier – WJW Fox 8: While his weather forecasting is always solid, I am not quite sure that André fits into the PM slot as well as he did in the AM. Sometimes he has a little bit of an unusual fixation on poking fun of Bill Martin. I think Bill Martin and Stacy Bell have the best anchor pairing in town because they seem to have great chemistry and have fun together, but sometimes what André interjects into the mix seems a little – off. He also seems too fixated on cheesy special effects that distract more than add to his weather segment.

FORECAST: 3 Sunny days, with clouds forecast for the rest of the week.

And now – other notable mentions, both for good reasons and bad:

1. Jeff Tanchak – WOIO Channel 19: I may take some heat for this but I actually like Jeff Tanchak. But, I like him in smaller doses. His forecasts seem reliable, and he’s got good energy, but he sometimes moves around so much on screen that it makes me a little hyper. Oh yeah, and he works for Channel 19, not a very respected channel, in my opinion. He would work better at any other channel in the area.

FORECAST: Party Sunny, but with foggy mornings

2. Hollie Strano – WKYC Channel 3: I used to watch Channel 3 in the morning much more often than I do now, and my reason for defecting to another channel was because of Hollie. It wasn’t her forecast, it’s that she has become a little to sugary sweet for my tastes. While other channels have worked hard to feature local weather pics, Hollie would rather see dog pictures for the dog-gone weather segment. And frequently there is goofy music playing over her forecasts. It seems like her audience is geared for kids.

FORECAST: Party Cloudy

3. Mark Johnson – WEWS Newschannel 5: Best known for his never-ending interruptions to programs for severe weather alerts. I used to have more respect for him, but his “the end is near” style of forecasting has driven me away from Channel 5 news altogether.


That's my long term forecast for Cleveland weather on-air talent. Here's hoping that the "butterfly effect" will bring some needed changes in some cases.

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Anonymous said...

Hi, I love your blog. Happy holidays, and keep up the excellent work!

I like Betsy Kling, too, and agree that she is professional and informative. I hope that WKYC realizes her potential and promotes her to chief meteorologist very soon.

Anonymous said...

Interesting opinions ..... but, do you have any hard facts on who has the best forecast?

A good look or a good delivery do not make a meterologist. But,a good forecast does.

Enjoy your blog .... thanks for sharing.

All Things Cleveland said...

I actually DID do a quick comparison of each stations' main forecaster a little over a year ago. I measured, for a few days only, the forecast 24-48 hours out, and how close each person was for the overall forecast (rain/snow, sunny weather, cloudiness), high and low temps, and timing of storms. It became very difficult because the forecasts would sometimes change from day to day.

If I recall correctlty, I gave up because, for the most part, they were ALL very close. One day Tanchack would nail it, the next day he was off. Or Goddard would be off the same day but nail the next. Suprisingly, at that time, I think that Jeff Tanchak was the closest for every day I measured.

If we had someone who had a background in statistics, it would make for a great study. I don't think I have the expertise to do it right!

Marc Fannin said...

The Plain Dealer also did a comparison, in 2005.

"Weather forecasts don’t deserve downpour of complaints" (8/28/05)

HossManua said...

Excellent Appraisal of Cleve's
weather roundup.

Jeff Tanchak has proven himself by
proving Dick Goddard 's forcasts
to be off target so many Times.

But Tanchak wants to hog primetime
shows with his doom and gloom if
a rainstorm shows on the map.

Your in for at least a half hour
of his fancy animated maps.

Please bring back the days where
news was just the half hour.

Jeff Tanchak needs 5 mins max!
He just took a half hour out of
survivor 5/14/14. Please put a
muzzle on that dog!