O-Town Weather Anchor Glen Richards is hitting a milestone in the Orlando market.
20 Years on the air.
The Orlando Sentinel says it's an unusual anniversary because it is split between two stations: WFTV-Channel 9, where he worked 10 years, and WOFL-Channel 35, where he has been chief meteorologist since 2003.
When a station doesn't renew a contract, TV talent usually moves on. But when WFTV dropped Richards in January 2003, he was determined to stick around.
"I found Central Florida to be a great place to live," Richards, 47, said Friday. "I found this to be a great place to stay, if I could." (He also wanted to remain in Central Florida for his daughter; she is now 19, a student at Indian River State College and a softball and baseball player.)
In July 2003, Richards began on the air at Fox-owned WOFL, an opportunity he says was enticing.
"That has made the last 10 years so enjoyable, to create something of my own, with the approval and guidance of my managers. It has been fantastic," Richards said.
He is diplomatic on the subject of his former employer. "WFTV was very stable," Richards said. "It was a well-run machine. I felt like everybody was a cog in a wheel in that machine."
A decade ago, he bemoaned that at WFTV he had to talk about the equipment. He still faults that practice.
"TV station groups can get into ruts. They have lingo, catch phrases," he said. "With so many outlets for news and weather, you have to be creative, to take a chance, to think outside the box."
The lingo hasn't been an issue at WOFL, where Richards said he has nearly complete freedom to deliver the weather his way.
"I don't have to worry about constantly promoting everything we do and every piece of equipment we have," he said. "If I’m a viewer, do I want to listen to a commercial or the weather?"
Ah, the weather. What was his most memorable weather moment?
"I would have to say Hurricane Charley," he said. "At the last minute, it veered off Tampa and came through Central Florida. It affected so many people. It was one of strongest wind events to come through the state."
Is there a day that goes by that he isn’t blamed for the weather?
"I don’t think so, even in my home," he said. "Even my own dogs blame me. They’ll give me this look. Everybody does it tongue in cheek. Viewers do. The people I work with do. People at the grocery store do. It's a fun part of being a weather person in television. Quite honestly, I enjoy the challenge every day of getting a forecast accurate. Most of the time, when somebody runs into me and they think the forecast is wrong, they've watched another TV station."