Changes are coming to WKRC-TV weather sooner or later. My guess is sooner. In 10 days, the November ratings' sweeps start. Don't be surprised if WKRC-TV names a chief meteorologist to succeed the late Tim Hedrick before sweeps start Oct. 27.
Six months after Hedrick's death in April, it's time to move on. The station posted the chief meteorologist job on June 7, four months ago.
We're already seeing a change in the weather on Channel 12. Erica Collura, who was doing Hedrick's late news shifts since February, was moved to "Good Morning Cincinnati" last week. Longtime "Good Morning Cincinnati" weatherman John Gumm, the meteorologist with the longest tenure at Channel 12, switched to nights last week.
Is this a look at the future? Or are these just auditions? Channel 12 could be conducting some quick audience research into what viewers think of Gumm working with main anchor Rob Braun, and Collura working with John Lomax, Sheila Gray and Bob Herzog.
It's very tricky for Channel 12 to replace an icon like Hedrick, arguably the most popular TV personality of the past 25 years. The stakes are extremely high for Channel 12, which is No. 1 for news in the evenings and mornings. The station has branded itself as the "Weather Authority," so the chief's job is critical. And could making changes at morning and night wreck ratings for both?
Gumm is Channel 12's most experienced forecaster, with 11 years at the station and 20+ overall. But by promoting Gumm, a Clermont County native and Glen Este High School graduate, the station could jeopardize ratings in the morning and evenings. (Anchor changes – messing with the familiar – often provide us the chance to check out the competition.)
Why not just keep Collura in the evening, where she has been seen since hired from Dayton's WHIO-TV three years ago? Usually the chief works nights, when there are the most viewers. (That's why they call it prime-time!) So making Collura chief would place her in charge of two more experienced coworkers, Gumm and Scott Dimmich, a Blue Ash native and Sycamore High School alum who joined Channel 12 in 2011.
Or Channel 12 could hire someone from outside the market, as the station did hiring Hedrick in 1988. More often than not, stations have found chief meteorologists outside of Cincinnati with varying degrees of success: Pete Delkus, Steve Raleigh, Jim O'Brien, Derek Beasley, Rich Apuzzo, Paul Horton, Byron Webre, Tom Burse, Dave Fraser, Eric Warren, etc.
Viewers in this market love seeing one of our own on the anchor team (Braun, Dierking, Horstmeyer, Macke, Paolello, Herzog, Cooney, Vogel, Danneman, to name a few, following in the footsteps of Schottelkotte, Clooney, Janson, etc.).
Hedrick was rare. He was so personable and popular that people eventually thought he was born on the West Side, not in Illinois. He's a tough act to follow.