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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:

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

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

355 comments Add your comment

dbm

August 12th, 2011
8:44 am

buh-bye, possman.. you will not be missed.

donny ballgame

August 12th, 2011
8:46 am

OSSMANN IN 2012!!!

James

August 12th, 2011
8:46 am

When a bunch of things happen like this, and your life totally derails and changes direction – follow God. Everything happens for a reason – and not always one that can be explained away logically (seriously, bad graphics?! that is weak!) – but God’s plan for each of our lives is better than we can imagine.

If there were no God, stuff trusting would be they only appropriate response to an uncertain future. But there is a God. And our God does not want His children to trust money. Max Lucado

I will pray for you & your family!

steve

August 12th, 2011
8:48 am

How could this guy be broke with a $225,000 a year income? Something aint right here… But in any case Paul seems like a very nice guy.. another victim of this jobless economy. I hope he lands on his feet somewhere soon.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

August 12th, 2011
8:49 am

Wouldn’t the most cost-effective way to do local Weather to be a computer generated 3-D avatar of the late Guy Sharpe? just a suggestion

PM

August 12th, 2011
8:51 am

I like Paul Ossmann, reporting on his setbacks is in bad taste & journalism. The good news is he’s moving in the right direction Life is About Change & Change is Always a Good Thing:)

Long Hot Summer

August 12th, 2011
8:53 am

Okay Paul, you’re a good guy. It’s time to bandage the wounds, circle the wagons and then move forward. Let’s start with some goals:
1) Burn the credit cards.
2) Don’t rush into another relationship.
3) DAMMIT, FORGET ABOUT REALESTATE!

Marcus Banks

August 12th, 2011
8:53 am

I wish you the best of luck. This isn’t a forum to post your negative thoughts about the guy. Some of you people have a serious problem. If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything.
As for the wife and his financial situation, none of us knows what really went on there. It’s best to just keep your mouths shut.

John

August 12th, 2011
8:55 am

Are you a finance management guru IceCreamSundae? Whatever your profession (if you even have one), you must be perfect based on your post. In case you haven’t noticed, Paul Ossman isn’t the only person who is struggling financially in this economy. Also, your comments definitely reflect what kind of person you are when you speculate on Ossman’s personal life (his marriage). Do me a favor and look up the meaning of what it’s like to have class, you might learn something you coward.

deegee

August 12th, 2011
8:55 am

I might start watching 11Alive again if the computer generated avatar spoke with a computer generated voice that simulated Guy Sharpe’s voice. The weather word of the day, “MOTS”

ane

August 12th, 2011
8:56 am

I haven’t watched Paul Ossman for a while. It was the direction WXIA took on the news that caused me to stop watching. The news lost its zing, it became like watching a magazine show, I can’t remember the last time I watched it. I watch Ch 46 before Ch 11 and it sucks too. Paul Ossman deservesd better. I watched him years ago on “Good Day Atlanta” and thought he was agreat host. The news shows in ATL are pretty bad on all the stations. Good bye Paul and Good Luck.

Valerie

August 12th, 2011
9:00 am

Sad to hear this news but Paul will be just fine. I’m certain one of the local stations will pick him up. Wishing him all the best!

Yellowdaffodil

August 12th, 2011
9:00 am

Geez, does anyone else feel slightly dirty reading the intricacies of Paul Ossman’s finances? Is that public record that the guy owes 80K in credit card debt and he now lives in a 900 dollar rental or did he offer that up? If I lost my house to foreclosure, lost my wife and my job, the last thing I would consider helpful is to broadcast my complete money woes in a newspaper. I feel embarrassed for him. I really hope he gave permission to publish all these intimate details.

never say never

August 12th, 2011
9:01 am

karma PO karma –you thought you were too good for me, and I am still waiting on that call back from you about coming to our event. That’s ok, we hired your replacement. He called back the same day.

Carmen

August 12th, 2011
9:02 am

He was my FAVORITE sorry for your loss; may God continue to comfort & keep you.

TR

August 12th, 2011
9:05 am

you think maybe the his low ratings were because of that dumb WIZometer? What a joke that is 11.

Al Gusta

August 12th, 2011
9:06 am

A weather man makes $225,000 a year!? And still had to file for bankruptcy!? Do people in Atlanta not have windows or doors? Go outside. There is your weather forecast. FYI: it’s gonna be hot today and tomorrow and Sunday. It might rain. It might not. Rain feels a lot like when you take a shower in case you didn’t know.

PM

August 12th, 2011
9:07 am

That comment in here is correct, Paul, telling you that things’ll get better: “this too shall pass….” Although you may not see it now, you will prevail (or, at least YOU CAN – it’s up to you!). And let those Bible versus keep coming, and read and think about what God is saying! That IS our only hope.

Yes, it’s always about the money… Paula M.

Al Gusta

August 12th, 2011
9:07 am

That said, good luck Mr. Ossman.

na

August 12th, 2011
9:08 am

I liked Paul Ossman——– he seemed genuine—— down to earth and I thought he did a great job.
I thought he and Brenda Woods were very strong together. I hate to see that they let him go. You get used to the people you see on tv and they become comfortable to watch and listen to . Best of Luck Paul

Pandora

August 12th, 2011
9:09 am

That’s a shame that 11 Alive let him go! Shame on you 11 Alive! I thought he was a very thoughtful person. It’s sad how he and his wife are no longer together. Really sad. I wish him the best. He will get a better job, better wife and a better home. God Bless Him.

Black Kat

August 12th, 2011
9:10 am

Good Luck Paul! What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! I will miss you, I thought you were the best weatherman out of all the stations.

jj

August 12th, 2011
9:10 am

13 years is 3 lifetimes in the media. It sucks, but he had a good run here. He seemed like a nice guy, but there is no loyalty in the business. He will rebound. Maybe not to $200k, but he surely has the charisma and contacts to make it in one field or the other. Best of luck – to ALL of us!

duane

August 12th, 2011
9:10 am

been a fan of channel 11 – and i am not feeling all the changes they made to the night team… the morning team is great but the night team is just not the same…

11Alive

August 12th, 2011
9:10 am

Another example of politics in corporate America. Perhaps an example of discrimination based on the age? On the other hand – it is a matter of ignorance, and a plain stupidity to not be able to balance the books, while making over 250k/year. No excuse for that, he got what he deserved.

steve

August 12th, 2011
9:12 am

I wish you the very best Paul. I watched you often on 11Alive and I don’t really care for this new guy. Good bye 11alive…. I am moving to one of the other local networks.

Hammond

August 12th, 2011
9:12 am

The Atlanta TV Market blows channel 2 runs 4 hours of re run new 11 and 46 is just stupid
I hate them all and whats up with Monica’s hair these days, Paul your cool and will be fine
keep pumping that IRON

Ms. B

August 12th, 2011
9:15 am

Good luck Paul you are missed. I’m sure the new guy is nice but we want you back on Atlanta TV. Paul please don’t put your TV career behind you… there still room for you in this town.

The Reader

August 12th, 2011
9:16 am

@Pandora. If you are so sure about him getting better job, wife, and home, you may share that with him now. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.

deegee

August 12th, 2011
9:17 am

The last time I watched 11Alive morning news was the day that Chesley McNeil, the weather doctor, was asked a simple question posed by the viewers about dew point or something. He stumbled around and finally Jill Becker and Karyn Greer helped him get to the scientific explanation.

JC

August 12th, 2011
9:18 am

I slowly stopped watching 11 Alive when they moved Ted Hall off the 11pm newscast. Love Brenda but her with out Ted wasn’t the same.. 11Alive has always had the most likeable personalities but if they get rid of Fred or Brenda I’ll stop watching them alltogther.
As for his finances and personal life.. NO ONE is perfect and EVERYONE has an issue or two..Good luck Paul..

Cammi317

August 12th, 2011
9:19 am

I loved Paul and this royally sucks.

Irk

August 12th, 2011
9:19 am

No more 11 alive news for me. I loved Paul and I can’t stand Chesley and that stupid Wizometer thing. Moving to WSB Channel 2 now. Best of luck Paul…..you were the best we had. I’d take you over Glenn Burns anyday.

Rick Rose

August 12th, 2011
9:22 am

After the way channel 11 ran off Johnny Beckman and John Pruitt nothing they do suprises me. I actually think they gave Paul a long time warning of his fate and that is better than most tv moves by local stations. Its not the first time they poached talent from other local stations and then cut them loose and it wont be the last.

Ellen N

August 12th, 2011
9:24 am

I remember Paul from his days on Fox 5. I wish him all the best. It’s too bad another local station hasn’t snatched him up. Hang in there Paul! We’re pulling for you!

Daren Gray

August 12th, 2011
9:25 am

It not about the come up its about the come Back ! anybody have success once I expect to Paul to be successful again !

Deanna

August 12th, 2011
9:27 am

Good luck, Paul! I’ve always enjoyed your work. Hope to see you around the shot put ring next year at some of the Emory ATC All-Comers’ meets.

Greg Rodgers

August 12th, 2011
9:33 am

Wow…I really liked Paul Ossmann. I thought Paul, Brenda, Ted and Fred were a great team. I’ve always watched 11 Alive because all of the other channels (2 with Monica crazy head Pearson) is simply terrible.

Paul..I’ve been there and done that…it does get better. You seem to be a very good guy. Times will change for the better.

Next time…please watch your own pockets! Never turn your finances over to anyone at anytime!!

Al Gusta

August 12th, 2011
9:34 am

I still can’t get over the fact he made over $200,000. To quote Bob Dylan, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
Will someone PLEASE tell him Realty is a bad idea.

Joe Mama

August 12th, 2011
9:35 am

Fire the Wizometer, not Paul Ossmann.

Big fan

August 12th, 2011
9:35 am

Hey, the “woman in charge” who’s making all of these stupid moves and firings over at 11Alive is Ellen Crooke.

She’s got a facebook page – go over there and let her know you don’t approve of her firings! Type in her name in the search and only 2 come up, easy to find. She’s also at:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1278866104

LET HER KNOW!!!

Cammi317

August 12th, 2011
9:37 am

I work in a law office and we have people coming in all the time for divorces, both men and women, who do not have a clear picture of their financial situation. They have no idea of the debt they are in because they have relied on their spouse to totally handle their finances. It’s crazy but true. They have their check direct deposited into a joint account and just assume that the spouse is paying the bills. A lot of time that spouse has funneling funds into “secret accounts” and opening up all kinds of credit cards and spending money that the other has no idea about. They never seem to know what’s happening until they are getting sued, calls from credit card companies about accounts they know nothing about, or forecolsure notices from the mortgage companies.

Kb

August 12th, 2011
9:40 am

Paul, hang in there. Sometimes, a firing is a good thing. It lets you see things from a different point of view. I have been in corporate America for 20 years and seen some of most vicious and backstapping the last two. Companies are treating people like batteries: as soon as you are up (or you are not trainable to their way), they are trying to replace you with a kid right out of college.

To people like Angela, before you spew venom on people, learn the whole story about people in foreclosure. Paul was making enough money for the payments. Him getting a divorce was a deal breaker. He might have to pay spousal support, child support, and the like. So chill for a moment and stop judging without knowing all of the facts.

To Paul: hang in there. Life will change for you better soon. Just hang in there:)

Alpharetta Ron

August 12th, 2011
9:44 am

11 Alive lets Paul go and keeps Brenda Wood? WTF? I can’t think of anyone more annoying that Brenda – Wonder what kind of “research” management undertook to justify letting Paul go….Good Luck to you Paul.

Greg Rodgers

August 12th, 2011
9:47 am

Cammi317…is telling the truth!!…Happened to my brother, but Paul..he was able to turn it around and is back on top after a few short years. You will get back too! Hang in there!!!

Lisa

August 12th, 2011
9:48 am

11Alive got this wrong. Paul is such a likeable guy. Ken Burns and his ‘Just for Men’ hair (and eyebrow) color is unwatchable. Bring back Ossman.

Michelle

August 12th, 2011
9:48 am

I’m going to miss him!!!! Good luck Paul!

Ron Burgundy

August 12th, 2011
9:49 am

I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…

JASon

August 12th, 2011
9:50 am

If you lose your job, and you’re married, you can pretty much guarantee your wife is gonna leave you too. Just one more reason to never get married.

NBC Fan

August 12th, 2011
9:51 am

Where’s Jim the traffic guy?