Weather Alert: Horstmeyer Joins Fox 19
Steve Horstmeyer quit WKRC-TV (Channel 12) today to accept the chief meteorologist job at WXIX-TV (Channel 19). Wow! What a shrewd move by Fox 19!
This will pay double dividends for Fox 19: Not only do they get the most veteran TV meteorologist in the market -- and one of the most respected -- but the "Fox 19 Morning News" ratings could go up without reliable Horstmeyer on Channel 12's top-rated "Good Morning Cincinnati" newscasts.
Horstmeyer, 54, gave notice this morning. He will continue to work at Channel 12 through March 31, then sit out his "non-compete." He starts at Fox 19 on August 7. He will do the 10 p.m. news.
The 1971 Moeller High School graduate was hired by WLWT-TV weather icon Tony Sands to work off camera in 1977. He started on air at Channel 5 in 1978 doing weekend nights. In 1989, a year after Tim Hedrick came to town, Channel 12 hired him. He has worked for most of his 18 years at Channel 12 on the morning weekday news -- arriving at the station (often bicycling from his Madisonville home) at 2:30 a.m., and doing live weather segment for three hours.
Horstmeyer tells me he just wanted to have a normal life, and be a chief meterologist (which wasn't happening at Ch 12 as long as his buddy Tim Hedrick was there). He was chief meteorologist briefly at Ch 5 in the early 1980s, when DJ Pat Barry was hired to do the 6 & 11 p.m. weather.
"After all these years of doing mornings, you'd think you'd get used to it, but you never do. It was getting harder and harder. And at Channel 12, there's nowhere I could really go, " he says. "I have no ax to grind. I was treated nicely. I have no complaints."
He started talking to Channel 19 after his contract expired Feb. 4. He signed a deal Saturday with John Long, Channel 19 vice president and general manager. Then he surprised his boss, Channel 12 News Director Elbert Tucker, with the news Monday morning. Horstmeyer will remain on the air at Channel 12 through March 31 (Opening Day), then sit out his the rest of his six-month "non-compete." Ch 19 has been without a chief meteorologist since Paul Horton quit in September. The station has two meteorologists hired in the last 10 months, Christie Dutton and Frank Marzullo.
"Steve brings more than 30 years of television weather experience to Fox 19 along with the trust he has earned from an entire generation of
Long noted that Horstmeyer "has consistently ranked as one of the top two meteorologists in the market." He declined to name the other one, but I'm guessing it's Hedrick.
Tucker announced Horstmeyer's departure to the staff by saying his "contributions to our weather coverage have been phenomenal." He didn't mention that void he creates in the morning. Losing Horstmeyer means Channel 9's Larry Handley has the most tenure among the morning meteorologists.
Hedrick wishes his longtime colleague well: "I wish him the best. He's a great guy. It's been absolutely awesome working with him."