Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gene Norman out at KHOU 11

Gene Norman to WIAT CBS42 Birmingham

Lots of rumors are floating around about Houston TV people and this one apparently is true - just earlier than what I originally heard.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that KHOU 11 chief meteorologist Gene Norman is gone. In fact the man is nowhere to be found on KHOU's website either. Crazy because we are still in November sweeps.

UPDATE 1/11/2013
What Gene Norman is doing now

I really should have seen it coming since someone just posted a YouTube link of Gene Norman's resume reel on my post about the big KHOU 11 weather department schedule change from last August (WATCH IT BELOW).

Here is where things get really interesting. The Houston Chronicle makes it appear that weather change could be a reason for Norman leaving. Here is more from the Chron:

On the day the change was announced, a message was posted to Norman’s Twitter account reading that “blondie moves to morning, morning moves to 4, 5. I am reduced” to 6 and 10. Later in the day, another message on the account read, “It appears my twitter account was hacked today be careful on social media,” and the tweets regarding the assignment changes were removed. Norman did not return a telephone call seeking details about the reported Twitter hacking.

So yeah, "blondie" would be Chita Johnson.

Now for the untold story (turn on Inside Edition music). That Norman tweet was how the Houston Chronicle and I found out about the KHOU 11 weather department schedule change.

Here is how things went on a different path at that point. Call me weak, too nice or sympathetic, but I called KHOU, said I had the news of the weather changes, they confirmed and I posted without the inclusion of Norman's wild tweet. Why did I do this? I thought it might cause Norman a lot of grief with Belo. The TV business is already bad enough for everyone in it - I figured he didn't need a guy with a stupid free account on blogger posting this. And KHOU certainly did not need to have anyone else leave them at this point (they might want to bolt the doors from the outside over at the Allen Parkway studios).

The newspaper business is pretty rough too, but the Houston Chronicle also saw Norman's tweet and ran with it on August 13th. The whole message was reprinted in the paper. Surprisingly the news did not go viral like I expected. Now it just might.

The lesson for young journalists here is don't be nice or sympathetic like me. I was nice and did not get the scoop of Norman's departure. The Chronicle posted the tweet, got the scoop and now I am linking to them for the news.

By the way, the Houston Chronicle says David Paul will be filling in on the 6pm and 10pm. Other folks are available to fill-in too. There is always Dr. Neil Frank and former Fox 26 KRIV's Matt Lavine.

Norman came to Houston in January 2008 from WGCL in Atlanta. Before that he was the weekend meteorologist at KTRK 13. Where Norman's resume really starts to differ is the fact he worked at NASA developing weather monitoring software for the space shuttle and did not get a degree from Mississippi State University (got his bachelor's from MIT and a master's in meteorology from the University of Maryland). He got into TV while at NASA by driving to Beaumont on the weekends and doing weather there.

As for the man with his own weather number, he has some powerful family connections and knows how to network.

When I interned at KTRK in the 90s, I found Norman to be a nice guy, and remember, I was an intern so that's saying something.

Good luck Gene.

UPDATE 1/11/2013
KHOU names David Paul the chief meteorologist COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here