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Former 11 Alive weather forecaster Paul Ossmann has had a rough summer

Paul Ossmann's current Facebook profile photo

Paul Ossmann's current Facebook profile photo

Paul Ossmann’s life appears to have crumbled like a building under siege by a raging torrent of flood water.

The TV weather personality filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in February. He lost his $900,000 Alpharetta home to foreclosure last month. He and his wife Faith separated at the same time. And on July 22, 11 Alive (WXIA-TV) let him go after 13 years at the station.

But Ossmann, 54, is not a man to drown in bitterness, especially toward his former employer.

“I don’t regret anything,” he said over lunch recently at the busy Jason’s Deli at Cumberland Mall. “11 Alive gave me a great opportunity. I have great friends there.”

Amiable and approachable, Ossmann may not have the gravitas and expertise of Glenn Burns at Channel 2 Action News or the steady longevity of Ken Cook at Fox 5. But he has his share of fans.

Dave Cohen, an Atlanta actor, said Ossmann came across as “genuine. Hated those ridiculous shirt collars he used to wear but enjoyed his sincerity in presenting the weather.”

Shawn Reynolds, a producer at the Weather Channel, worked with Ossmann while he was at 11 Alive from 2005 to 2009. “I always felt confident that we were given the right forecast when he was on the air,” he said. “He’s always willing to try new things. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.”

And his 11 Alive buddies check up with him regularly to make sure he’s okay. “I try to talk to him every day,” said Ted Hall, 11 Alive morning anchor. “I send him Bible verses every once in awhile to help him out.”

Ossmann said he received his first ever negative job evaluation last December. Research, he was told, indicated he wasn’t as popular as he used to be. He also wasn’t doing enough of his own graphics work.

A month later, management told him his contract would not be renewed when it was up in June. But the station gave him enough advance notice to give him time to seek another job. Unfortunately, none of the other local networks bit by the time his contract was up.

Ultimately, he said he wasn’t sure why he was let go, but news director Ellen Crooke hired a more hard-nosed meteorologist in Mike Francis from Little Rock. Ark. The storm chaser’s first day on air was August 8. Here is the elaborate intro 11 Alive gave Francis earlier this week:

Ossmann wouldn’t comment about Crooke and vice versa.

A Philadelphia native, Ossmann nabbed his first TV job in Abilene, Tx and after brief jaunts in Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala., found a job in Atlanta in 1988 at WAGA-TV. He started the same day as current 11 Alive evening anchor Brenda Wood. He became the original host of “Good Day Atlanta,” then moved to WXIA in 1998.

With all his travails, Ossman took solace in his hobby, the shot put. He did it in high school and college and picked it up again in 2004 after covering track and field at the Titan Games. Since then, he’s become a four-time national champion in the masters category and came in second last month in the World Masters Track and Field Championships. 11 Alive staffers nicknamed him “Big Swol” for his impressive physique.

“Even though I didn’t excel and win, people who knew my situation supported me,” he said. (He lost 25 pounds the past three months due to the stress.)

“The biggest muscle he has,” said anchor Karyn Greer in an on-air tribute on Ossmann’s final day, “is his heart.” (See the tribute here.)

Ossmann is now by himself in a rental home for $900 a month in Acworth and living within his means, something he didn’t do for years. He admits now that he was a blind optimist who let his wife handle the finances. (His bankruptcy filing in February indicated $83,525 in credit card debt and negative monthly cashflow despite his annual income of about $225,000.)

Despite his hardships, Ossmann said he feels a burden has been lifted. “I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time,” he said. “I have my health and my two sons are healthy.”

“The separation” from his wife, he acknowledged, “blindsided me.” (Faith Ossmann didn’t respond to an inquiry for comment.)

Ossmann plans to start taking classes next week to become a real estate agent, hardly a path many people would take in this day and age. But as a newscaster, he loved hobnobbing with fans. “Real estate gives me an opportunity to help some people who have been watching me for years,” he said.

Thanks to YouTube, here’s a sampling of Ossmann’s work over the years:

Hosting a WAGA-TV history in 1991:

A weather promo from 1994 via WAGA-TV:

A promo from 1996:

The first 10 minutes of “Good Day Atlanta” on the fifth anniversary in 1997

Ossmann interviewing “Batman” star Adam West in 1999:

Ossmann winning a shot put competition:

These are two relatively recent weather forecasts:

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Update June 17, 2014: Ken Cook, long-time Fox 5 meteorologist, is retiring after 35 years in Atlanta

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

355 comments Add your comment

BJ

August 11th, 2011
5:06 pm

I wish him all the best…he has nowhere else to go but up!!!

KS

August 11th, 2011
5:14 pm

I’ve liked Paul since day one. I personally think Fox5 should bring him back, retire Ken Cook, move Jeff Hill to Ken’s position and Paul to Jeff’s.

Brett Martin

August 11th, 2011
5:19 pm

As someone who has seen tough times in the past I can only say that this will all pass for Paul. When I left Fox 5 as the Road Warrior back in 2007 it too hit me like a ton of bricks.
This, by no means, says anything about Paul’s ability on air. It has, as you might guess, have EVERYTHING to do with money. At least the company he worked for had the class to allow him to say goodbye on the air. I can’t say that for other media companies in the area.
Paul, if you are reading this know one thing. It gets better. Trust me. I may no longer be the Road Warrior but I have two very successful businesses now (flickedup.com and brettervideo.com).
You know you will bounce back. Just stay strong and don’t dwell on the past.
Peace.
Brett

Nerlman

August 11th, 2011
5:23 pm

11 Alive needs to be boycotted!!!! I will never watch them again!!!

Jen

August 11th, 2011
5:30 pm

Good luck Paul! I can relate to hard times and pray that things get better everyday for you.

Geo Native

August 11th, 2011
5:34 pm

I wish him well and prayer.
“There but by the Grace of God . . . . . .

Cheryl

August 11th, 2011
5:46 pm

Mr. Ossman, we all are going through something. Keep God first and everything else will follow. Things happen for a reason. I, myself, am going through some bad mess right now with my child. I understand the stress. I lost 25 lbs I did not have to lose. You will regain all the material things, job security, and so forth. You are missed on WXIA. Some people can never be replaced and you are one of them.

Paul O

August 11th, 2011
5:51 pm

Crap…here’s another Bible verse from Ted Hall. I gotta change my email address.

Ithica

August 11th, 2011
5:54 pm

Wow! This just goes to show you never know what someone is going through. I wish him the best of luck. Always know GOD has a plan. Trust in him & he WILL provide for all things.

Alisa

August 11th, 2011
6:12 pm

I want Paul Ossman back!

tmc

August 11th, 2011
6:23 pm

Like him or not (i personally do), No one deserves to be treated like 11Alive treated Paul in the end. The announcement of the other guy and not notifying him?

Don’t be fooled, the one bad evaluation is not a coincidence just before being let go. I bet Paul took less money over the years or increased his work load to help out 11Alive too… It’s pitiful how big company’s treat people who have been loyal hardworking employee’s for many years.

Karma’s a biotch 11Alive… be sure it will come back around.
Keep your chin up Paul!

Rodney Ho

August 11th, 2011
6:28 pm

@tmc Yes, Paul took a pay cut in 2008 but then again, a lot of others were taking pay cuts, too.

Cynthia

August 11th, 2011
6:30 pm

I wish Paul Ossmann all the best for his future ahead. He truly has gone through a lot and losing his job had to be super tough. I hope he knows long-time viewers are thinking of him!

yankee girl

August 11th, 2011
6:38 pm

Keep the faith Paul, you are missed on the tv. I agree with a previous post, all things happen for a reason. Trust in the Lord..If he brings you to it..he will bring you through it. Praying for you and wishing you all the best.

bulldogbubba

August 11th, 2011
6:55 pm

They broke up a good news team with Ted, Brenda,Paul and Fred. It will only be a matter of time before Fred is given his walking papers. I see 11 alive turning their news program into another Channel 46.BLAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yankee 76

August 11th, 2011
7:53 pm

Mr. Ossman, You will be missed! So sorry for the trials you are facing at this time, but remember, God is always with you.
My family and I lived in Willingboro, NJ and Debra(my daughter) graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. We admire you and pray the future will be full of good luck and happiness. You deserve the best!

Tami

August 11th, 2011
7:58 pm

There has GOT TO BE a place for Paul in the Atlanta market somewhere. He’s a very congenial guy with major credentials. I don’t want to see him rely on real estate as a possible next career move because of its instability as well right now. I hope some producer sees this and offers him a position. He needs to be on Atlanta TV. I feel his pain right now in the economic front. What terrible timing, though, to have all this happen and see his wife leave. The 2nd blogger on here is right: He only can go UP from here.

Renee'

August 11th, 2011
8:02 pm

I MISS PAUL!!!!!. I really don’t like the new guy… Just know that you have a fan club Paul. Much success and blessings to you. Hang in there!!

Sonji

August 11th, 2011
8:53 pm

I liked Paul. He was the best dressed weatherman. Keep your head up and keep praying!!! Things will get better!!

sherry warlick

August 11th, 2011
9:09 pm

I remember not only in Atlanta, but for many years in Augusta, Ga also. I wish him the best. I am sorry that this has happened to him and I hope he finds true happiness in whatever he does.

Hinky Dinky

August 11th, 2011
9:36 pm

Paul always wore suits that were 2 sizes too small. Kinda reminded me of the Michelin man. But good luck to him and I know he will land somewhere.

Kulaz

August 11th, 2011
9:45 pm

Paul is the best and I wish him good luck and God speed along with keeping the faith.

Diana

August 11th, 2011
9:51 pm

this is so sad… I am an Atlanta native and always liked Paul. I pray the tides turn and that he has other family around to support him.

Ricky

August 11th, 2011
9:55 pm

I have to say that 11Alive took the coward’s way out on this one. If he was doing such a bad job, why didn’t anyone say anything before his review? I have been in management and if I had an employee whose stats were not up to par, we would always give warnings and/or coaching tips to help them improve their performance. Sounds like they were just scrambling to find a reason to let him go. They knew when they did his review in December they were going to let him go. This might be his blessing in disguise. Good for him for picking up the pieces and moving on. Sounds like he has learned some very hard lessons, but he is determined to move ahead. I wish him all the best.

Dynamic

August 11th, 2011
9:59 pm

I have been divorced and lost a job all together and I KNOW things get better!! It felt like the worst time of my life and it was an all time low, but you can rebound and rebuild!! I am now remarried to a man that is incredible and is so much better than what I had and I have a wonderful job!! Life moves on and is embraceable!! My thanks to God and my faith because without God I would have nothing! He controls everything and until you realize that and form a relationship with Him- you will never move forward in life.

Mia

August 11th, 2011
10:02 pm

This is just a remainder that Atlanta or Georgia should I say is a palce that can just up and fire you. Although they told him they would not renew his contract, I feel they have no loyality. Please do not hit me with the phrase “it’s just business”. In terms of the wife, well that should tell you about her loyality also. One can have it all and that is all a person see. When the going gets tough that is when one will know who is i their conrner. She is off to the nest fat check, so I am sure he will be ok without HER for sure. But just no this when a job do not value your worth they are not worth working for. In the end SORRY CHANNEL 11 cannot blame their ratings on Paul , please know that a copany fails for more than one empkoyee. Get it together SORRY 11…….

Former 11Alive Employee

August 11th, 2011
10:07 pm

Paul was released because She Who Must Be Obeyed has to do everything her way, including staffing the station with her people. The “doesn’t make enough graphics” thing really is a lame add-on to a performance review — I don’t know if he really was less popular than he used to be, but I do know that, when I was there, a lot of people didn’t do a lot of things they were required to do and were never called out for it (and when I did call them out, I was the one who got the backlash).

With a major media conglomerate right here in Atlanta, I’d be surprised if Paul doesn’t land somewhere on one of the Turner properties.

He really is a great guy, and I hope he continues to land on his feet.

And… to She Who Must Be Obeyed — I believe it was Rodney himself (although I’m not 100% sure) who, when you were hired, wrote a column telling you that what worked in your old markets will not work here in Atlanta. Have you learned that lesson yet? From what I hear, you blew it with Ted Hall, and now you blew it with Paul Ossmann. Jill Becker is retiring, most of the commentary I hear about Chesley is negative (despite the fact that I happen to like him), Chris is still relegated to weekends for some insane reason, and, while your “news that helps you” really is a great idea, Channel 2 remains at the top because, despite what people say in surveys about wanting good news, all they REALLY want is the crime-and-disaster blotter.

To my friends at 11Alive — get out while you can. To another station, to a national network, to a job that allows you to plan a vacation and not cancel it because of breaking news. Trade on your fame before it’s taken from you. And best of luck to you all.

You’ll need it.

Jeanise

August 11th, 2011
10:12 pm

I really enjoyed Paul. He will be missed. But Paul remember that when one door closes, another one opens…It will get better, keep your faith.

Bobby B

August 11th, 2011
10:20 pm

I’ve been through everything Paul is going thru now. I also liked Paul from day 1, and all I would tell him now is that time takes care of a lot of things.

Downtown Heffa

August 11th, 2011
10:25 pm

For once, I’m speechless! Who knew this would ever happen to Paul? Paul- Atlanta is not the only place that recruits great talent! Best of luck to you!

SMD

August 11th, 2011
10:28 pm

Good Luck. May GOD guide you. You will rise up.

MTer

August 11th, 2011
10:29 pm

Gosh, just wanted Brett Martin to know if he reads this column any further, my husband and I both were surprised when you were no longer there, had no idea about your abrupt leaving and we loved, loved, loved you as the road warrior, they have never had a better one since!

Gayle

August 11th, 2011
10:34 pm

What a huge loss for Atlanta! Paul is a terrific meteorologist…. loved watching him!
This is a new “do over,”a new beginning…. You will continue to do great things…
Your many Atlanta fans wish you nothing but happiness in this next chapter of your life!

Georgia Peach

August 11th, 2011
10:47 pm

After watching 11 Alive exclusively for about 10 years, my husband and I are now checking out the other local networks. One by one, our favorites at 11 Alive are “leaving” or being moved around. Truthfully, whether they are being fired or retiring or whatever, the once enjoyable news family no longer exists. Kick a man when he’s down — what an awful business ethic. Paul, we miss you but look forward to seeing you again soon with another network!

Trisha D.

August 11th, 2011
10:48 pm

I have been wondering for weeks about Channel 11. Don’t understand why this lady is being allowed to destroy their news team. So what if they are not number one. After being a regular follower of Channel 11 for 20+ years our family has decided they are doing their employees WRONG and we will no longer be viewers. We truly enjoyed Ted and Paul — don’t understand why they were both mistreated. Channel 11 you are destroying yourselves!!

Angela

August 11th, 2011
10:50 pm

Who really cares? People are fired everyday. He lived beyond hs means on a $225,0000 salary and filed for bankruptcy~took the easy road out. I do not feel sorry for this man at all. Grow up Paul and stop the pitty party. Man up! Unless you work for yourself, you never know when you are next on the chopping block. Wish I had a $900,000 home, damn!

Paul fan

August 11th, 2011
10:54 pm

I have always loved Paul Ossman, and would love to see him back on TV. He runs circles around most of the meteorologists out there, especially the morning ones. His positive attitude is exactly what we need to see on TV these days. My prayers is that he BURNS IT UP in the real estate market. Who wouldn’t work with him??? I’d use him to list my house!

yo mama

August 11th, 2011
10:59 pm

the dude was cool. i was an intern in sports over at waga when he got his start, and you left out the part where he was a finalist in the replacing pat sajak in wheel of fortune. that was cool.

get er done, Ossman.

luckie1

August 11th, 2011
11:01 pm

Paul Ossman story is an example of many office politics playing out in the corporate world. His was just done publicly. A lot of people don’t think job loss can happen to them (esp. if making six figures), but it can. One has to stay humble. Like my Mother would say: What happens in the dark will come to the light. With grace, Paul will do fine.
When it comes to divorce, there’s two sides to the story. Marriage problems do not happen overnight, it brews and then cuts like a mighty sword. One partner can only take so much; hence, blindsided. During the tough times one must stay active in the marriage.

Jaine

August 11th, 2011
11:12 pm

Paul Ossman was the only thing Channel 11 had going for it – have never watched ANYTHING on that channel…save for an occasional forecast by Paul. I am and have always been a fan of Channel 2 – and ABC. The staff @ Channel 11 should be horeewhipped for treating a member of their “family” in such a manner. Business is Business …but those that make it possible for the rest of those Bozo’s to even have a bottom line are what make it possible. I would be shocked if anyone at Channel 2 was ever treated in such a manner. You can also forget about Channel 46 – especially their weatherGIRL. I don’t watch the news/weather for the latest display of T & A – I watch it for…surprise surprise – the News & the Weather! Every single presenter on 2 is professional – as was Paul for Channel 11. Paul needs to be aware that this only means something really GREAT is in the works for him – he can bank on it! His future is secure! God Bless & Good luck to him!

AtlantaNative62

August 11th, 2011
11:16 pm

Why does this surprise anyone? The media market in Atlanta is and has been run by idiots for a very long time. Look how Jeff Hullinger was treated? Like him or not, he was good. I would be curious to know how old (meaning how young) the decisions makers are at 11Alive. I’m sick of these young MBA types who don’t know the butt from a hole in the ground. Good busines – no matter what business – is about people. It blows me away how often that simple tenet is ignored. The sad part is the same thing will eventually happen to these idiots and they will be caught totally off guard.

Paul's fan

August 11th, 2011
11:27 pm

@ Angela, if you read carefully, he trusted his wife and she burned him and all his money. Love the sympathy…hope you don’t need any anytime soon.

Tony T

August 11th, 2011
11:28 pm

what a shame. he is/was may favorite. i like 11 alive, but they made a bad decision. hopefully, one of the other locals will pick him up. paul, please don’t waste you’re talent being a Realtor.

Debbie

August 11th, 2011
11:31 pm

Good luck Paul. I loved watching you report the weather. You’ll succeed at whatever you decide to do.

michele

August 11th, 2011
11:37 pm

I usually watch channel 2, but the Wizometer on channel 11 made me lose any respect I had for them. That is the dumbest thing. “What is the weather like?” “Oh, it’s an 8.” What does that mean???

Greg

August 11th, 2011
11:39 pm

I have watched 11 alive since moving here in 1993. I am always sad to see any of them leave. In the case of Paul it is simply a dumb decision. He gave his heart and soul to that show and cared about his viewers. Really dumb move 11 Alive!

Greg

August 11th, 2011
11:40 pm

Very dumb move 11Alive

Peaches

August 11th, 2011
11:43 pm

I love how he blames his wife for his financial downfall. He was making $200+ a year for how many years, and he was just clueless about his finances? Really he should have kept that thought to himself, makes him sound childish or just plain dumb.

Mr. C

August 12th, 2011
12:00 am

I admire Mr. Ossman. Sometimes you have to hit bottom to realize what is important. I wish him well in whatever his career and life takes him. I would hope that some weather/news organization would realize what a following he has and scoop up his talent. He is a class act and there aren’t many of those left. Good luck Mr.Ossman. I am sure you will land on your feet and prosper!

IceCreamSundae

August 12th, 2011
12:09 am

I agree with Peaches and I vote dumb! You bank 255k+ per year and have no idea about your credit card debt, or being close to foreclosure on your million dollar home, then you “teflon” the blame over to your wife? That’s just a bit narcissistic…not accepting any of the blame.
And if you get a review in December that’s not so good, you don’t just rest on “Everyone loves me, I’m Paul Ossmann”, you get better at what you are supposed to be doing! The graphics that Mike Francis has brought with him are excellent. And he is the kind of weatherman that explains and tells us WHY things are happening, not just rattling off numbers and playing with the news anchors at the desk. I feel bad for Mike Francis because some, not a lot but some folks are really not showing him any southern hospitality and it’s not his fault at all.

Yes, Paul is somewhat of an institution here in Atlanta, but all these things didn’t just “happen” to him. And the wife leaving…it’s not rocket science people. Think about it. Rumors have been around for years.