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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Ed Brandon has passed away

Legendary abc13 KTRK weatherman Ed Brandon has died

abc13 KTRK chief meteorologist Tim Heller has announced Ed Brandon, 75, has died. Heller says the longtime channel 13 weatherman passed away peacefully last night.

Brandon was a very popular figure on Eyewitness News from May of 1972 until April of 2007.

In an interview I conducted with Brandon in 2017, he talked to me about his recent health issues.

"I was diagnosed with chronic heart disease after a heart attack in 2002," Brandon told me a little more than a year ago. "With proper diet and medication, I am managing well. My heart medications adversely affect my kidneys, so I am also being treated for that. I won’t be climbing any mountains or running any marathons, but I can do most anything I want to."

Since retiring, Brandon had been involved in the recovery movement after his public battle with substance abuse. Each year he held the annual Ed Brandon/Cenikor Golf Tournament to raise funds for those struggling.

In his spare time, he enjoyed traveling and seeing lots of plays and films.

While Brandon forecasted and covered a plethora of weather events, he was an avid news junkie. He would sit in on the afternoon news meetings at KTRK and pitch story ideas. One of his ideas of fun was watching the Houston City Council meetings available on cable TV.

"I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have lived, as a listener and a viewer, through the '60s and then, as a participant, through the '70s and '80s on television in Waco, television and radio in Houston," Brandon told in 2007. "And those were some great times."

Brandon grew up in Texas and worked for radio and television station in Central Texas.

"When I was eight years old, my parents took me to visit a friend who was a disc jockey in Waco," he told me in 2007. "I saw him and that just fascinated me, and I wanted to be on the radio. When I was in junior high school, a teacher took me and a group of other students to be on a TV program in Waco. At that point, not only did I want to be in broadcasting, I wanted to be in television too."

It was at Austin's KHFI where he lived his dream to the fullest.

Winham Edward Branstetter (Known to many as Ed Brandon) official obiturary

"They determined that since I was the disc jockey on the radio in the morning and I did the noon talk show and I did the six o'clock weather, they after the six o'clock news which ended at 6:30 they had me tape the weather cast for the ten o'clock news," Brandon recalled.

Ed Brandon, Dave Ward and Dan Lovett pose for Houston Rodeo parade ad (courtesy of Dave Lovett who explained to me in email, "All on horseback and none of us knew how to ride, let along look like cowboys. But those were the days...")

"Ed Brandon was truly like a brother to me," Dave Ward posted on Facebook. "Our bond extended thru our careers and beyond. He will be missed by me and the entire city. Ed, we will always love and miss you, brother."

"Ed Brandon was the consummate communicator because he connected with audiences at all levels...with warmth, wit, understanding, and deep knowledge," former KTRK anchor Shara Fryer told "Ed could just as easily have been a news anchor because he knew it all and was excited about events, people, history, Houston and Texas...he brought all of that to his insights into good weather and bad. In many ways, we trusted our lives and our property to his guidance. Yet, whenever he entered a room, his humility always came first. I loved him like a brother and will always be grateful for the unforgettable years (27) we shared."

"I remember Ed joining Dave Ward and myself on Eyewitness News back in the beginning, he had been hired out of Austin TV and became a fixture and important figure on the news program," former KTRK sports anchor Dan Lovett told "It was great working with Ed and his many fans will miss him."

"I mourn the death of a friend," former KTRK investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino told "So many memories. Such an awesome colleague. Viewers loved Ed Brandon because he was on TV, the same person he was in real life, part of the magic that was Channel 13. Ed was a key ingredient in the greatest run in what is the story of a great TV station. His death reminds us all of great memories."

In 1972 Houston came calling, and Brandon worked the rest of his career for KTRK.

"I consider a lot of it just incredibly good luck and I can't ignore the fact that I came to channel 13 at exactly the right time," Brandon told me a decade ago. "They hired Marvin Zindler six months later. I started in May of '72, he started in January of '73. They hired Marvin, they brought Bob Allen in from KPRC radio to do the sports, we had a manager and a program director and a promotions manager and a production manager who were the absolute best and who built the station in to a power house. As far as I know it's probably one of the most successful local television stations in the country. It just has to be it's a very big profit maker."

That's when Eyewitness News started to become the top newscast in Houston and the staff had a lot of fun according to Brandon:

"One time, Mayor Louis Welch was in the television station, for some reason that I've forgotten. Our station manager, Ken Johnson, arranged as a surprise for me, for Louis Welch to stand on a ladder behind the weather set and at the point when I gave the forecast and said whatever the chance of rain was, the mayor poured a bucket of water down on me and said, "You never get that right. Let's face it: it's always 50 percent; either it's going to rain or it's not going to rain." And it was a big joke. But the manager of a television station did that; that was his idea."

Then there was the time Brandon did the weather in disguise:

"For some reason, there was a wig, a very bad full hair wig in the studio. And it was one of those Mondays, I think, when the weekend had been totally different from what the forecast had indicated. It was probably a rainy weekend after it had been forecast to be a sunny weekend.

And Dave and Shara [Fryer] turned to me for the weather segment and, when the camera came on me, I was wearing the wig. And they said, "Ed, what's the weather?" and I said "Ed couldn't be here today; I'm his cousin Kevin", and I made up an excuse about why Ed couldn't be there. It got a good laugh, which was what it was all about."

Ed was a big fan of blogs and was a reader of this one. In fact, he put my blog on the map when he announced his retirement on it. Any fan of Brandon's or media will enjoy this 2007 interview he did with me about his career.

Ed Brandon's memorial service details

- Ed Brandon guest blogs on
- KTRK 13's Ed Brandon on 24 hour news radio in Houston
- VIDEO: KTRK 13 Eyewitness News promo 1995
- Ed Brandon's luncheon thrown by Dave and Laura Ward

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