Signing Off In Houston

KTRK chief meteorologist Tim Heller says that he is going to hang up his Doppler and call it quits at the station. 

The Houston Chronicle writes that Hurricane Harvey played a part in his decision.

He says as a Weatherman, it gets no bigger than that. 

Heller announced last month that his last day at the station will be Jan. 11.

“I always wanted to control my destiny as much as I could,” he said recently during a break before going on the air. “As much as I could, I always wanted to go out on top and I thought — not my coverage, but our coverage, and our response as a city, nothing will ever top that in my lifetime. … It was so invigorating to see how the city responded. I think I decided in the middle of that that this is the pinnacle of my career.”

“My contract’s up in October, and I’ve been thinking about it for awhile,” he said. “I read an article in Money magazine many years ago about people who have second careers, who give up everything and start all over. … About three or four years ago, I started thinking about that. I initially proposed it to my wife, and I think she probably blew it off as a life crisis.”

Her health crisis last summer — she had what’s called a silent heart attack — also helped Heller put things in perspective. “You’ve got one life, one opportunity,” he said. “Like every family, we’ve had health issues, and so I’m like, ‘What do we want to do?’ I don’t want to work holidays anymore, which is required of this job. We can’t take vacations in May, November or February because of ratings. I can’t take a vacation in the middle of hurricane season.”

The one thing Heller, 54, is clear on is that he’s not retiring.

“I’m just retiring as an on-air broadcast meteorologist. I’m retiring from that part of the business. It’s been the same thing for 35 years, you know?” he said. “I’ve changed TV stations but, really, when you look at it, it’s been the same job. I went from a blue wall, to a green wall, to a video wall in those 35 years but you’re still in front of it and you talk for a few minutes. And, outside of a few crazy days, like Hurricane Harvey and severe weather days, it’s pretty repetitive. There’s a lot of partly cloudy, warm and humid days — over and over and over.

“My intention is to find something where I can at least be of service of some way to the public, because that’s why I got into the business in the beginning was to serve the public.”