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Bob Soper to retire


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Veteran TV weatherman Soper to retire

 

Weatherman Bob Soper has been a fixture on South Florida TV since 1979, except for a brief but public departure in 1992 after he was fired by WSVN-Fox 7.

 

BY GLENN GARVIN

 

ggarvin@herald.com

 

 

TV weatherman Bob Soper, whose firing a dozen years ago as an unstylish relic of television's prehistoric era touched off a firestorm of viewer protest, is leaving again -- but this time under his own steam.

 

''Everybody's day comes, and it's about time for mine,'' said Soper, who announced Thursday that July 27 -- the final day of the summer Nielsen ratings sweeps -- will be his last day on the air at WFOR-CBS4.

 

''July 1 is my 62nd birthday,'' Soper said. ``I've got a couple of grandchildren, 8 and 10 years old, and I want to be around them now, before they get to that teenage era where they don't want to be around a granddad.''

 

Soper, who does the weather on WFOR's 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts, was at pains to say the decision to retire was his own. ''Nobody at WFOR is pushing me out, nobody is trying to get rid of me,'' he said. ``I don't want anybody writing the station angry letters.''

 

FOX DROPS THE AX

 

It was a none-too-subtle reference to the last time Soper left the air in 1992. Back then, Soper worked for WSVN-Fox 7. Station officials there said Soper lacked ''style, fashion and glamour,'' and abruptly fired him after 13 years. He was replaced by a young women who favored high skirts and low necklines.

 

Petitions demanding his return flew faster than the bullets on WSVN's if-it-bleeds-it-leads newscast. Some Miami Beach hotels, already angry about the way crime reports dominated WSVN's news, blacked out the station. And viewers bombarded both WSVN and The Herald with furious letters.

 

Soper's absence from South Florida television was brief -- WFOR (then using the call letters WCIX) hired him two months later -- but he was off TV during the greatest weather story of his lifetime, Hurricane Andrew's rampage up the coast, which occurred after Soper left WSVN but before he took his new job.

 

''Of all the luck!'' Soper ruefully recalled. ``I did cover it, but for radio.''

 

He stayed on the air at radio station WIOD for 16 hours during the storm -- and set the rest of the station staff into fits of laughter as he spun his finger counterclockwise to describe the hurricane's movement, forgetting that he wasn't on camera.

 

NO-NONSENSE STYLE

 

Soper came to South Florida in 1979 after seven years doing the weather on stations in Austin, Texas, and Spokane, Wash. His approach then was much the same as it is now -- a simple, no-glitz-no-blitz style.

 

He cast a baleful eye on even the simplest TV gimmicks after a prankster on the production crew at his Spokane station reversed the polarity of a steel weather map and sent all his little magnetic symbols of clouds and sunbursts flying into the air during a broadcast.

 

And he was touchy about attempts to jazz up his words. When a WSVN newscaster led into the weather one night with the headline, ''A hurricane is barreling out of control toward Miami,'' Soper looked into the camera and replied: ``I don't know what hurricane you're watching, but the one I'm watching isn't going anywhere.''

 

''Bob is a legend in the market,'' said Shannon HighBassalik, WFOR's news director. ``He really is an institution. We're going to miss him.''

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/10985814.htm

 

Bob is the best complete meteorologist in the South Florida market. He has the personality, the knowledge, the experience, the enthusiasm and now he retires. Well done Bob, many people will miss you.

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Guest Moneyball

All the great weathermen of Miami are almost gone.

 

Ronald Steadham- Utah

Bill Kamal- Jail, boning little kids

Sopher- Retirement

 

Atleast we still got Norcross, Morales, Noe.

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