WTNH needs more than a proofreader

Mom got a call bright and early this morning from our neighborhood equivalent of Mrs. Rachel Lynde, with the news that Geoff Fox has been “fired”. I was in no mood this morning to hear any of “Mrs. Lynde”‘s news – but this got my attention.

It’s not quite true, depending on how you look at it: after 26 years on the air with WTNH Channel 8 as meteorologist, he was informed yesterday that his contract is not being renewed. His current one is over at the end of February, and he will be on the air until then, and that’s it. And I’m more ticked off by that than I would have thought I would be.

With all its many flaws, Channel 8 has been our news station my whole life primarily because the other two in the area are based in Hartford, and, theoretically, 8 – based out of New Haven, much closer to us – is going to be more relevant to us. It doesn’t really pan out that way (heaven knows the traffic reports never, ever did me a damn bit of good), but it’s become habit. It’s part of the pattern. And for 26 years Geoff Fox has been their kind of goofy, very geeky, often genuinely funny main Weather Guy. I believe Dr. Mel is still officially the Chief Meteorologist, but with his age and fragility he’s rarely onscreen, at least when I’m watching, so the forecasts have usually been done by Fox, Matt Scott (the one whose name I kept assigning to the 11th Doctor’s actor), and Gil Simmons – mostly Fox. I liked Matt Scott, and he left last month to go to WPLR – and now this. Leaving us with the new guy I think I’ve seen once (and who obviously failed to make an impression), and, heaven help us, Gil Simmons, who … (Be nice.) I don’t like Gil Simmons. At all.

I always liked Geoff Fox. As witness my proofreader posts, I’m fairly merciless on News Channel 8 or whatever they’ve decided they’re calling themselves these days – but he’s actually one of the few aspects of the evening news I can’t complain about. Quite the opposite: for one thing, he’s been a lone voice for many years reminding people that yes, Virginia, there is a space program. He is apparently a great big space geek – how could I not be fond of him? This is a country which has completely forgotten what it was like to be the first in orbit and the first on the moon, or the first at anything in space. This is a country which is told there is water on Mars and, while I’m having palpitations in a corner, says “Neat. Why do we care?” We have been relegated to hitching rides from other countries – the countries we used to spur ourselves to compete against – to the space station we helped to build. (*ahem* Where’d that soapbox come from?) His former colleague Scott was shocked, shocked I say, when there was a story right before his weather report one night about the last few shuttle launches; he had no idea the space program was ending. When I interviewed for my current job, I took note of the fact that there was a space shuttle in the logo; at the end of the interview they mentioned that the company was in the process of changing that logo. I said “Oh – because the shuttle’s being retired?” And they were surprised. I was, apparently, the only one they’d interviewed who knew about that. We’ve gone from Gemini and Apollo to … Lethe.

So, yeah, I’ve always had a fondness for Geoff Fox. He always makes note of meteor showers and eclipses and other phenomena to be watched out for. He never uses the truly obnoxious bouncing animations on the eight-day forecast board to mark holidays (I’m looking right at you, Simmons). He’s sharp, and funny, and able to take the many technical glitches the newscasts are prone to in stride. He doesn’t like snow, unlike some of the other boobs out there whose main desire from September to May seems to be for the world’s biggest blizzard on their watch. He’s been, if peripherally, a part of my life for well over half the time I’ve been around. I can’t help really, really hoping that Channel 8 is rocked on its heels by the backlash from this, on surface, astoundingly stupid idea (I’d love to know what their reasoning is), and recants. But I can’t help thinking that even if they do, even if they call him in and apologize prettily and offer him a re-up, it would be a bad idea for him to accept. For myself, I’d like to see things not change for once. But … that aside, it would be really nice if his dream job came along and he was able to laugh quietly to himself over how things turned out.

But I do dislike Gil Simmons. More, I hate change. If I had my way (which I won’t, really), if Geoff Fox really does leave (denial ain’t just a river in Egypt) we’d just watch Cash Cab in the evening and go off the internet for local news … We’ll have to see what the brilliant minds of WTNH do, and if necessary (and it will be if Simmons is given more air time) audition the other two stations. I sense a boost in viewership coming on for them.

WTNH needs a great deal more than just a proofreader … Between the evident idiocy of this decision and the fact that this decision releases one of their more intelligent voices – it’s starting to seem like they could use a massive infusion of intelligence.

This entry was posted in OT. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to WTNH needs more than a proofreader

  1. accountantgrrl says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    I didn’t realize that Geoff Fox had been let go. It does explain why Gil Simmons was doing the weather last night, though.

    We may just be switching back over to WVIT 30 after February.

  2. Pingback: World Spinner

  3. Heather says:

    Nobody ever said WTNH was a bit intelligent.

    I have never lived in their target market so to speak, WVIT & WFSB are obviously more local to me in Northwestern CT, but WTNH has been the news station in my home since birth.

    My parents moved to SC in 2007 and remarked that Geoff & Dr. Mel are who they wish they could smuggle down there because the weathermen down there suck in comparison.

    If these jerks don’t come to their senses and Geoff does leave at the end of February, then my viewing will be turning to NBC. I have always hated Channel 3’s weather. Scot Haney is an idiot, and their insistence upon naming winter storms like hurricanes has always pissed me off.

    Brad and Bob on NBC have at least been around nearly as long as Geoff and aren’t hokey and ridiculous like channel 3

  4. stewartry says:

    Amen. I don’t look forward to changing news stations – but I have a feeling it’s imminent.

    Yeah, not too fond of Scott Haney here, either, from the little I’ve seen. We’ll see … *sigh*

  5. DD says:

    Go to the “Keep Geoff Fox on Channel 8” Favebook page to see what viewers are saying. “Like” it and share your thoughts.

  6. DD says:

    See what almost 10,000 viewers are saying about Geoff Fox and WTNH. Thank you

  7. Nick D says:

    Yes i will say I am a fan of Geoff Fox, but Gil Simmons is a great meteorologist, he used to forecast specially for the United States Marine Corps and the only weatherman in CT with a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval, which is a great honor. He listens to everyone’s reports and has a good sense of humor. His forecasting has been almost perfect the last few storms. There is nothing that should be going against Mr. Simmons, for he is a great meteorologist, always there for CT.

  8. stewartry says:

    Hi! I have nothing against Gil Simmons as a meteorologist; I don’t have much confidence that anyone anywhere can claim real accuracy in a weather forecast. (Yesterday was supposed to bring “snow showers”; it “showered” steadily, and heavily at times, for at least six hours.) I’m afraid I just don’t *like* him, and I’m sorry to say most people I’ve talked to don’t either. But it’s not Simmons I’m walking away from – it’s WTNH, and their shoddy treatment of an employee who was with them for decades. (If you check out the post I put up on Monday I’m, er, wordier on the subject. :) Thanks for the response.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s