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Great Meteorologists on Channel 7 WNAC and WNEV TV in the 1970s

As a family, we almost always watched WBZ-TV Channel 4 for weather forecasts back in the 1970s -- it was almost as automatic as going to the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain on long road trips and Child World in Medford for the best toys.

With meteorologists like the old-fashioned, cerebral Don Kent and the energetic, smiling Bruce Schwoegler getting us through the legendary Blizzard of 1978 while giving accurate every day forecasts, our parents felt no real need to tune in anywhere else. Yes, we would occasionally watch Bob Copeland and Bob Ryan on WHDH and starting in 1972, WCVB Channel 5 -- tremendous weathermen, also -- but Channel 4 won the Nielsen ratings in our home.

Thinking back on meteorologists way back when, however, WNAC Channel 7 (which became WNEV in the late 70s) wasn't too shabby, either, and  in fact, looks better now than it did then. Harvey Leonard, with a full head of hair, started his career on Channel 7 in 1977. He was every bit as thorough then as he is now as chief meteorologist on WCVB, Channel 5. From 1971 to 1979,  Fred Ward, a PhD and MIT grad, brought a more mature, formal and somewhat dry approach to weather forecasting on television, although he was capable of fun moments like posting the word "COLLLDD!" on the weather map to emphasis the low temperatures. The late Stuart Saroka might have come across as sort of a modified hippie and on-air goofball, but make no mistake about it: he knew how to get a forecast right.

Why do the former Channel 7 meteorologists look better now than they did back in the 1970s? Well, it really had nothing to do with the meteorologists. Channels 4 and 5 offered more established news anchor, sports and reporting staffs along with high ratings and little turnover, so the whole packages led to more trust in who we were watching for the news. Yes, Channel 7 had some incredibly talented journalists like Chuck Scarborough, who went onto fame as a New York City and national anchor and reporter but the station just couldn't get any momentum going -- at least until the late 1970s when anchors Tom Ellis and Robin Young brought a viable alternative to TV news watching in Boston. For the record, WNAC did have high rankings briefly in the mid-70s when the Candlepins for Cash bowling show led into the 6 p.m. news, but they just couldn't sustain that energy.

So, you see, the Channel 7 meteorologists were ultimately fine weathermen that did their jobs as well as any in the area, but were associated with a less popular television station. Looking back on it, though, I wish I had given those meteorologists more of a chance. One wishes the forecast for a consistent Channel 7 newscast in the 1970s was as rock solid as the forecasts given by its meteorologists!

2 comments:

  1. I know. I've been there! Thanks for the memories. I remember all these folks well!

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  2. Thanks, elizabethanbabe glad you are enjoying the blog. Seems like not so long ago these meteorologists were on the air. Time flies!

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