By Alan Pergament
If you are a regular reader of this blog and my previous blog, you probably are aware that I enjoy having a little fun with Channel 4 meteorologist Don Paul.
I have even nicknamed him Pope Don Paul, partly because he treats the weather as if it were a religion.
So it is with some degree of happiness that I can report this morning that Pope Don Paul and I can continue our Facebook exchanges about weather for three years.
Paul, who has been on Channel 4 for 26 of his 29 years in the Buffalo market (he spent three years at Channel 2), confirmed rumors that he recently agreed to a new deal.
“I don’t want to give too many details,” said Paul in a telephone interview. “I’m pretty pleased. It’s for three years, with their options each year. I found out LIN (Channel 4’s owner) isn’t doing any no-cut deals. The last deal was three no-cut years. This one doesn’t…. It had a happy ending. In a lot of ways, I’m pretty pleased.”
That wording suggests that Paul’s new deal has a modest raise or at the very least avoids a pay cut that has become commonplace since the Buffalo market went above No.50 in the nation.
Only a few months ago, Paul’s future appeared to be a little cloudy. There had been rumors that a recent candidate from out west for the weather job at Channel 4 left vacant by Amelia Segal’s departure might also have been a candidate for the top job. He left without either job and the station is still looking for Segal's replacement.
“That thought crossed my mind because nothing had happened,” said Paul. “When (News Director Joseph) Schalerth asked me if my intention was to say, things happened pretty quickly. There had been a lot of procrastination.”
Paul admitted to some uneasiness before contract talks moved along.
“I think it was my own paranoia,” said Paul. “I read message boards and read some awful things going on in other (TV station groups). You get paranoid.”
It turned out that Paul had no reason to worry and the delay wasn’t mean to send him any message.
“They (LIN) sent me a message with the kind of offer they made,” said Paul. “It was very pleasing and they made me feel I still am a major audience draw according to research.”
Paul, who started his TV career 37 years ago in Maine, wouldn’t reveal his age. But if he fulfills the entire three years of the new deal, he could approach retirement age.
“I’m a lot closer to David Letterman and (Channel 2 sports anchor Ed Kilgore than (Channel 4 morning anchor) Diana Fairbanks,” cracked Paul.
Letterman will be 66 in less than two weeks. Kilgore graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969, which would suggest he is approaching 65. I probably wouldn’t give Fairbanks’ age if I knew it. I suspect she is her 30s so you get Paul’s point.