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.
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.
By Rodney Ho, email@example.com, AJCRadioTV blog