Signing off in O-Town


Longtime Orlando Weatherman Danny Treanor is signing off this week.

The News 13 meteorologist will retire Wednesday after being in the Orlando TV market since 1978.

"I'm not going to say goodbye," Treanor, 68, said recently. "It's not a farewell. It's like another day."

"Danny will never really be gone," said Tim Geraghty, News 13's senior director of news. "The memories of Danny — people aren't just going to forget Danny on Wednesday."

Treanor seems embarrassed by the attention. "I would save it for somebody more important," he said.

Told that his name means something, he shoots back, "Well, so does Ted Bundy's."

The reference to the serial killer reflects Treanor's offbeat, self-deprecating humor. "I think what people think is 'Oh, you're so well-known.' So are some of the bad people," he said to the Orlando Sentinel.

But the people who know Treanor say he exemplifies a lesson: You can fix your life. And he did it while the world was watching.

"Danny and I have been close both professionally and personally for 35 years," said former WFTV anchor Carole Nelson. "We have gone through marriages, divorces and the challenge of raising boys. Danny battled alcoholism. I battled depression."

Treanor will mark 22 years of sobriety next month, an anniversary of the moment he said his life changed for the better.

"Up until that point, I was a loose cannon, arrogant. I was the leading authority on my own opinion," he said.

The turnaround came at WFTV, where he worked 18 years in all. He could be outrageous on live television, but a new general manager wondered what was wrong with Treanor.

"They were the people that said, 'Maybe you ought to consider rehab,'" Treanor said. "I thought, 'I am my job.' I thought, 'If I don't drink I can't be funny.' My job was threatened. Without my job, I'm nobody. I didn't want to be a nobody."

WFTV welcomed him back from rehab. But five years later, the station didn't renew his contract, saying it was going in a different direction. Treanor said he was surprised because he thought he had a job for life. And yet, getting sober prepared him for the setback by clearing his mind.

"That's what drinking really is, it's running away," he said. "If you can get yourself straightened out, you can do this, walk through some fear, get to the other side, find yourself a stronger person."

He was off the air eight years, working as a substitute teacher, a real-estate agent, a salesman of time shares and jewelry and an ID checker at a Universal CityWalk bar. Treanor calls them the growth years of humility and just learning to be a person.

Despite it all, his strong connection with viewers remained. Anchor Nelson recalls that the audience picked up on her rapport with Treanor as co-anchors of the noon WFTV news. When one viewer died, her child sent a note: "My mother was bedridden and apartment-bound for several years. She had no friends, but she loved you and Danny."

News 13 recognized Treanor's enduring appeal and gave him a job. In turn, he helped lift the cable channel's profile.

"Danny brings a lot of experience," said News 13 chief meteorologist Jeff Day. "He personalizes the weather. He makes it easy for people to comprehend and follow things and stay safe."

By working weekend mornings, when the pace is less rushed, Treanor could share his conversational style. "That was a better fit for me," Treanor says. "I could be the guy next door, the guy next door who always shows up in a tie."

News 13 meteorologist Dave Cocchiarella marvels at Treanor's willpower. "Don't underestimate the strength of a man who can choose to stop smoking after 45 years of doing it," he said.

Twice divorced, Treanor lives alone these days. His sons are Patrick, 27, who works with lasers and computers, and David, 24, a cook. Treanor describes the News 13 job as a really good run that worked out for him.

"I have more money in my pocket, thanks to not smoking and not drinking," he said. "That's just wasted money. You can't buy beer. You can only rent it."

In retirement, he hopes to work as a substitute teacher. He has wisdom to share.

"Try to live in this world," he said. "This is the one that's going on. Be here. Be now. Be present. Stop worrying about all the things in the past. Stop worrying about what's going to happen in the future. All we've got is right now."

H/T Orlando Sentinel