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WXIA-TV brings in new chief metereologist Mike Francis, replacing Paul Ossmann

Paul Ossmann is leaving WXIA-TV after 13 years.

Paul Ossmann is leaving WXIA-TV after 13 years.

Paul Ossmann leaving

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A Little Rock, AR meteorologist Mike Francis will be taking over for veteran Paul Ossmann as chief meteorologist at 11 Alive WXIA-TV next month.

Francis’ station KARK-TV in Little Rock made the announcement yesterday, then mysteriously dropped the news off its website. I hear the station inadvertently released the news prematurely before Ossmann knew about it. Neither WXIA-TV news director Ellen Crooke nor general manager John Deushane answered texts and calls seeking comment. Ossmann, via Facebook, declined to comment.

Ossmann has been with WXIA-TV since 1998, but his contract was not renewed. The news that he might be leaving leaked back in February.

Mike Francis

Mike Francis

Here’s the press release, as provided by an Arkansas website that tracks TV news:

KARK 4, Your Weather Authority, has proudly announced today that Chief Meteorologist Mike Francis has accepted the Chief position at WXIA in Atlanta, GA. Francis has been with KARK for ten years and was instrumental in building KARK’s brand as the station Central Arkansas can count on to be Your Weather Authority.

KARK 4 News Director Rob Heverling said, “We will certainly miss Mike and all that he has brought to KARK over the past 10 years. We are very proud that he has developed so much during his tenure here that he has been able to make a positive impression on a top-ten TV market. Way to go Mike!”

Heverling added, “The good news for us is that Mike leaves behind a weather brand that’s bigger than just one person, it’s about a dedicated team, working together to keep viewers safe during severe weather and help them plan for their day or their week.”

Mike Francis said, “Leaving Central Arkansas will not be easy for me. I want to thank our viewers, fans, friends and all my coworkers at KARK for helping me become the meteorologist I am today. The times we’ve shared together have given me and my family the opportunity to get the Chief Meteorologist position in one of the biggest TV markets in the country and we’re very grateful.” Francis also said, “It’s always been my number one goal as a meteorologist to keep people safe and it gives me great pleasure to know that with the weather team of Brett Cummins and Greg Dee, the people of Central Arkansas are in good hands. KARK is a great station and I wish them all the best.”

Francis started at KARK-TV on June 25, 2001 and was announced Chief Meteorologist on May 23, 2008. He has covered countless severe weather events in Arkansas such as Atkins on February 5, 2008, Mena on April 9, 2009 and most recently the tornado in Vilonia on April 25, 2011. Francis currently does his daily forecasting on the morning newscast, KARK 4 Today for both KARK-TV and KARZ-TV. His last newscast will be July 1, 2011.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

128 comments Add your comment

Kiki LaBlink

June 15th, 2011
6:38 pm

Is Mike Francis cute? Where is his pic…..

AJ

June 15th, 2011
6:41 pm

Kiki – Google is a magical tool.

Nancy

June 15th, 2011
6:52 pm

His picture is right there in the article

Rodney Ho

June 15th, 2011
7:02 pm

Nancy–I added the photo after Kiki requested one.

imluvinit

June 15th, 2011
7:12 pm

Terrible move! By Gannett cutting costs they just lost lots of viewers. Buh bye 11 alive hello Channel 2 Action News!!!

Twinkie The Kid

June 15th, 2011
8:15 pm

What’s with the Larry Wachs / Curly Howard look?

FM Fats

June 15th, 2011
8:46 pm

Been expecting this. Gannett loves to cut the higher paid talent at contract time these days.

eddie343

June 15th, 2011
9:15 pm

Rodney- I know they are only a few weeks into their 4pm broadcast, but I would love for you to do a report on how the ratings panned out after the first month or so since WSB added their 4pm newscast vs CBS46.

JimmyZ

June 15th, 2011
9:45 pm

Dear Boss Lady at WXIA:

You can “cute up” the news all you want. It’s fine to have Values Val, Commuter Goober (or is Pothole Charlie yours-I get ‘em mixed up) and things like that. When it comes to storms like the ones I’m hearing outside right now, I want to know that the meteorologist has the LOCAL experience to forecast what’s coming. All the high dollar weather equipment in the world can’t replace the years of knowledge that Paul Ossman brings to the table.

At least we still have Glen Burns and Ken Cook. I’m not a huge Monica fan, but there are times when having someone with years of local experience really counts.

Queen Nerfballteedi

June 15th, 2011
11:34 pm

Good luck Paul, you had a good run. I enjoyed watching you over the years. While they are at it they need to can Brenda Wood.

KatJ

June 15th, 2011
11:38 pm

All local news is becoming torture to watch! And I’m an Atlanta native

Will Be MIssed

June 15th, 2011
11:50 pm

Paul will be missed. Although the higher dollar contract is most of the reason, Paul has seemed more and more nonchalant as the years have gone by. Just didn’t seem to have that spark like the old days.

Hope he lands somewhere he’s happy with.

DeDe

June 15th, 2011
11:58 pm

Channel 2 is a better news station anyway.
It is a shame that 11 gets rid of someone like Paul. get rid of the sports casters, they are pretty bad on 11. Keep experienced weather guys.

Mike Francis fan

June 16th, 2011
12:01 am

I have been very very impressed with Mike Francis and his knowledge of weather. I watched him online during this year’s tornado outbreaks and he is very impressive. I just hope 11Alive lets him have autonomy and gets rid of the stupid WIZ thing. That’s for the birds. I hope Francis follows in the footsteps of someone like James Spann from ABC3340 in Birmingham. NO ONE IN ATLANTA TV WEATHER HOLDS A CANDLE TO THAT MAN IN WEATHER COVERAGE! Good luck Mike and welcome!

Fred

June 16th, 2011
12:09 am

Bring back Flip!

Peter Hoover

June 16th, 2011
12:19 am

I watch FOX or WSB anyway. But WXIA? Don’t you bozos know that you get what you pay for// third rate talent = third rate ratings

Action Jackson

June 16th, 2011
12:22 am

11 Alive – 11 DOA is more like it. John Deushane couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper bag. Come to think of it, he looks like a wet paper bag in those ill fitting suits of his. What a tool. How did he ever get HIS job? Somebody screwed up big time. And Ellen Crooke? Well let’s just say her name says it all.

Thank god there are alternatives in Atlanta news. I know which channel I won’t be watching!

4 Jacks

June 16th, 2011
12:24 am

Channel 11 is showing just how classless they truly are. I warch tehm every once in a while and Paul and the weather was one of their strengths I thought. Oh well, I will just stick with channell 46 totally now. Good luck Paul, you deserved alot better, but be happy you are getting away from the classlessness of channel 11, they are pathetic losers.

E Cobb Weather Geek

June 16th, 2011
12:27 am

Is it me, or are Atlanta network affiliates now prone to “out-sensationalize” each other? Please just give us the weather, watches & warnings, PERIOD. Enough with the Cuteness factor and “weather meters”. WXIA, you just got rid of a good one who indeed knows the intricacies of Atlanta weather.

Two points here:

1. Go for subtance over style for the sake of all of us who live in the Atlanta area.
2. Please just run a crawl on the screen instead of blotching out half of the screen with, “Hey, guys, it’s gonna rain” info.

Cammi317

June 16th, 2011
12:41 am

I love Paul and what a terrible way to find out you have lost your job. I remember when the aquarium first opened and every station was doing live weather and news from the aquarium. I was sitting down while my daughter ran up and down the area for children and he came and sat beside me while waiting for his next live feed. We talked and laughed for a good 30 minutes, along with his camera guy. He even took a few pictures with me. He will be missed!

Ch 11 Idiots

June 16th, 2011
12:51 am

Ch 11 brings in an old Ch 5 sports guy (Hullinger) and recycles him into a NEWS ANCHOR?!?! Then they follow that up by running off the BEST meteorologist on ATL TV?!?!? I won’t even get into another old Ch 5 recycle (Brenda Wood) and her bizarre 7pm newscast.

What a bunch of dumb f***ing idiots running Ch 11…..

Prime Star

June 16th, 2011
1:03 am

Anybody complaining about any weather person doesn’t remember Guy Sharpe. The only thing worse than his screaming over 2 snowflakes was his bawling over 2 dollars for Jerry Lewis.

john

June 16th, 2011
1:08 am

Yep Paul and Ken are top notch in Atl, for those who like to channel surf!

bulldogbubba

June 16th, 2011
1:23 am

I have been happy with the way 11 alive has kept a decent news team together until Feb. when they started playing with Ted Hall’s schedule.You never know when he was going to deliver the news or if he had been lost for good.I think Hullinger has been a decent addition but not a replacement for Ted Hall.Now we are losing a good weather man and breaking up a good team at 6 and 11.I hope Paul ends up at another local station after his non-compete expires.Bad decision 11alive and Paul I wish you well!!!

bulldogbubba

June 16th, 2011
1:28 am

If 11alive is hurting for money why not bring back 80 year old Johnny Beckman?

J.R.

June 16th, 2011
1:31 am

I predict stormy weather ahead for 11-Alive. Or to be more accurate and dependable…you’ve skrood the pooch.

Jo Jo

June 16th, 2011
1:48 am

I will really miss Paul Ossmann. Paul I wish you good luck and very good life after ll Alive. Paul, you will land on your feet at a new gig. Salute

Rick Rose

June 16th, 2011
2:02 am

The channel 11 weather department has not been great since they ran Beckman off. They used to spend money to steal talent like Beckman, Pruitt, Moore, Sharpe, Ossman and even Brenda but times have changed. Channel 2 has by far the strongest weather team with 3 meterologists with over 25 years at the station. Five has Cook which i think is the best in town. Burns knows his stuff though. Whe Burns and Cook retiire what will we have.

Praveen

June 16th, 2011
2:23 am

It’s the freaking weather. Local news spends way too much time on the weather anyway. Why the hell do I care where low pressure winds are coming frrom. Just tell me the temperature forecasts and any predictions of how bad the storm is in simple language. That Wiz guy on 11 had some dumb promos when he came on.

Oh, and Hullinger is a good addition to 11. So I wouldnt whine about that.

N-GA

June 16th, 2011
3:31 am

Maybe they’ll get rid of the stupid, meaningless weather grading system (1 to 11). Talk about dumbing down the weather. Can you imagine people on the street discussing the weather? “Good grief, Ben. It’s got to be a 3 out here today.” “No Wilma. It’s at least a 4 and tomorrow we can expect a five!” “Oh no, Ben. It’s no more than a 3 because we had a class 2 hurricane that spawned a class 4 tornado.”

Just plain stupid….

Colin

June 16th, 2011
3:35 am

First they got rid of Flip in the mornings (replacing him with that idiot Chesley) and now they are axing Paul. I’m not sure what is going on over there. That 7 pm news cast is a complete joke. At least they don’t begin every story with “We ask the tough questions.” Good luck Paul, you deserve better!!!

Kathy

June 16th, 2011
4:23 am

I will not watch 11 Alive anymore. Unless there is something going on that the viewers don’t know about, Paul Ossmann did a GREAT job. I wasn’t a fan of the Wiz O Meter, but I was a fan of Paul’s. I also am not a fan of Chris Holcomb, I would rather see Paul. This seems to be like a really bad move on behalf of 11 Alive.

CmdrR

June 16th, 2011
5:14 am

Paul Ossmann is a class act. Here’s to hoping he lands on his feet quickly.

Rufio

June 16th, 2011
5:42 am

What a joke for Paul Ossman to learn of this from someone other than management at 11alive. That in itself shows how low class their management truly is.

I hope Paul and his weather dog, Doppler, land on their feet quickly!

john

June 16th, 2011
5:46 am

They need to put Chesley at the drive up window.

Rhett Butler

June 16th, 2011
5:58 am

That Mike Francis is funny looking. I hope he doesn’t have an annoying hick accent.

Weather R Knot

June 16th, 2011
6:01 am

Come on people, it’s just freakin weather. That and sports are supposed to be the the “fru-fru” part of the broadcast. Like the man said gimme the temps, the forecasts, the cutsie parts and then back to the news, which by the way has turned into a scorecard of how many Atlantans, have killed how many other Atlantans today. Jeez. The city too busy to hate? Right! Replaced by the “HipHop” capitol of the world. And by the way, one more word about Johnny Beckman and that old man is likely to drive his motorcycle up your a$&@! If he doesn’t, I will.

DVB

June 16th, 2011
6:06 am

11 Alive has been unwatchable since the beginning of the Brenda Wood era. If they put Hullinger in charge–who was great to see again on Atlanta TV–people might watch. Same with Jill Becker. Wood, though, is abysmal. Ossman was little better. Bringing in another person from outside Atlanta to do local weather will only perpetuate WSB’s total dominance.

11 Alive’s heyday was the 80s. It’s been steadily downhill since then.

nikita

June 16th, 2011
6:08 am

I stopped watching fox 5 when Paul left. Loved him in the mornings, and his occassional “Sprinkler” dance. Never could stomach WXIA’s news, seems to watered down. It saddens me that they’d do something so under handed. I wish Paul much success and happiness in his new endeavor.

rod

June 16th, 2011
6:10 am

as much i love pau and think this is garbagel i left last year with the wizometer, chesney, commuter dude etc. i cant stand monica whatever her name is today but channel 2 does a better job on the news. this hurts as an atlanta native because I have been with 11 dead or alive since i can remember,

Weather R Knot

June 16th, 2011
6:12 am

Hick accent? Frankly Rhett, I thought you didn’t give a damn!

SA

June 16th, 2011
6:16 am

The worst thing on 11is watching Jill Becker suck up to the Today Show crew every morning. I am embarrassed for her.

Billy

June 16th, 2011
6:22 am

Really liked PO. He was hyper in the early days when on FOX 5 news, but calmed down a bit while he put on a few pounds at 11dead news. Yes, Brenda Wood was once good, but is now full of herself and needs a modesty adjustment. I agree with the above poster–the only thing uglier than a bald man is a bald man with a goatee. Thank goodness we’ll all be looking at the weather map instead…

JW

June 16th, 2011
6:37 am

I don’t know who makes the decisions over there at WXIA but that station has literally gone to hell-in-a-handbasket. What used to be the only news station that I ever watched on TV has now become the only one that I don’t even bother to channel check if looking for the news. Instead of replacing the players and promoting gimmicks, such as WIZ, it looks like that someone would finally realize that they need to replace the coach that calls the plays.

bhorsoft

June 16th, 2011
6:40 am

I hope another ATL station picks Paul up. The local CBS affiliate could probably use some weather help. And yes, when it comes to reporting, having someone with a depth of local experience when it comes to politics or the weather is an asset that shouldn’t be let go of lightly. Not a bright move WXIA.

Francis fan

June 16th, 2011
6:41 am

ATL… you have no idea what you are getting. Mike Francis is NOT a hick, he is from California. He graduated from the best school in the US for meteorology..OU… He took a 3rd place station in Little Rock and made them #1. He started at the bottom and worked his way to Chief in 8 years. He is an on-air talent that is beyond reproach. He has a heck of a connection with his viewers. He is a severe weather expert! You should be proud you are getting talent like him….

Twin Peaks

June 16th, 2011
6:56 am

the last two chicks on 46 – not that plate lip beast now – were great to watch for obvious reasons, I often had “flying perciptation” and “heat strokes” watching them. local news blows, wish those two would

Mr. KnowitAll

June 16th, 2011
7:10 am

This is all part of 11Alive’s CHICKiFICATION of the news. They’ve been on this binge for over a year. For God’s sakes, who gives a crap about “Pay-it-forward”, “Try it before you buy it”, “Moms like Me” and the blatant soft-sell of sports and hard news.

Pretty soon, the only audience WXIA will have is young single mothers and others of the effeminate persuasion.

Go ahead, WXIA–shoot yourself in the foot.

The Ghost of Guy Sharpe

June 16th, 2011
7:12 am

Here’s a rundown of tonight’s news in Atlanta…on ANY given night

1. Bad weather may be on the way, brought to you by Kroger
2. Apartment fire in Dekalb
3. Disfunctional local government in Clayton/Dekalb/Fulton
4. Somebody said/did something to make somebody else mad and retractions are demanded
5. Braves or Hawks lose
6. UGA college player arrested
7. Ump-teenth anniversary of some unsolved crime – family demands answers
8. Drive by shooting at hip hop event or party

….there ya go!

Darko

June 16th, 2011
7:13 am

Who cares? These TV meteorologists are over hyped, rely too much on technical gimmickry and aren’t overly accurate.