Monday, July 06, 2009

Earl Finckle - Mr. Weather - dies

When I worked at WOWO, Earl Finckle, who died this past Friday, was the voice of weather. His slightly raspy, down-home voice fit right in at the station, which pumped his forecasts out across the Midwest and near South with its 50,000 watts.

Listeners didn't seem to care that Earl wasn't in Fort Wayne -- or most of the other cities where he was the voice of "the weather." Or that sometimes the telephone line noise almost drowned him out. More often than not, when people in Fort Wayne talked about the weather, I remember hearing back, "What does Earl say?"

His Central Weather Service was in Chicago, and there's something right with the karma there -- the city of broad shoulders was home to the man on whose intellectual shoulders rested many the fortunes of farmers, pilots, and just plain folk wanting to know if it was OK to go to the lake.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Finckle died Friday in Highland Park Hospital. He was 81.

You'll find several snippets from his forecasts on the airchecks on the WOWO history site.

It's a reminder that no matter how many computers, databases, interconnected networks and flashy green-screen graphics, one of the most powerful forces has always been a person's judgment to make sense of it all and personality to make us listen, read or watch.

Thank you, Earl, for reminding us of that day after day, even though we didn't know it at the time.

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1 Comments:

At 7/15/09, 5:21 PM, Blogger Davisull said...

Just saw this. I may have been a particularly dumb listener, but it never occurred to me in the 1970s that Earl wasn't in Fort Wayne. He was at the WOWO Weather Station, which I imagined to be some shed of corrugated metal out on the Baer Field Thruway, filled with obscure instruments and a phone line on which he talked to the DJs downtown. It wasn't just that I was credulous; it was that it seemed perfectly logical that WOWO, the giant of Indiana radio, the voice of the Hoosier farmer, would have paid the money to set up its own weather station out in a field somewhere. It was WOWO, it was Group W, they paid Jay Bushinsky to be in Jerusalem and Rod MacLeish to do erudite commentaries, of course they would have paid a guy to sit out there and watch the isobars.

 

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