Uh Oh, People Are Watching

Lots of you watch me on TV. Thanks. I like that.

This week there are two additional people watching. I don’t like that as much!

Farrell is here from California. Bob lives in Charlotte.

Since they’ve been within viewing distance I’ve been extremely self conscious. How that plays out on the air is beyond me. My current emotional state has been described as “feeling like you’re wearing someone else’s underwear.”

Well put.

It’s possible my performance is better than usual. I don’t know. It could be worse. Definitely different.

I’ve done live network TV. Millions of people were watching. That didn’t bother me. These guys intimidate me more.

They’re gone next week.

Two Old Friends Back In My Life

What a strange coincidence. I spent the last two days with two old friends, both with pivotal influences on my professional career.

Yesterday’s story started in Fall River, MA sometime during the late summer of 1969. I got a job on-the-air as a disk jockey at WSAR in Fall River, MA. I was everything you’d expect in a 19 year old disk jockey in Fall River… and less.

My first day there another disk jockey, known then as Skippy Ross, was assigned to teach me the ‘board.’

Back then a radio board was a mass of round volume controls called “pots.” In a first class station each pot would control sound levels from a single device like a turntable, microphone or cart deck. It didn’t work that way at WSAR!

We had some sort of tiny crippled board where one pot controlled three or four inputs. The disk jockey was forced to throw switches to enable the inputs while reading copy or talking over a song. In other words you had to operate the board without looking.

As far as I know no airchecks from my time on WSAR exist. For this I am grateful.

Skippy and I became friends and remained friends as I changed stations and he changed names. He became Bob Lacey in Charlotte, NC in the early 70s.

Bob’s still in Charlotte. He and his wife were celebrating with a trip to Boston. He’d gotten better than amazing seats to see the Red Sox at Fenway. When his wife Mary decided there were other things she’d rather do, Bob asked me to the game.

That’s where I was yesterday… and it was an incredible afternoon, right down to Kevin Youkilis last play for the Sox.

Where Bob and I have been friends since my first moment in radio, Farrell Meisel and I have been friends from my first moment in TV! It was he and Vicky Gregorian who plucked me from obscurity to freeze my butt off in Buffalo, NY hosting PM Magazine/Buffalo.

I’ve known both Farrell and Vicky over thirty years.

Farrell’s in Connecticut covering for his sister who keeps an eye on their mother.

Where Bob’s stayed put, Farrell has worked around the world. He’s lived here in the states, plus Russia, Singapore, Poland, Afghanistan and a few others I’ve forgotten. He’s about to undergo a new adventure in another exotic land later this summer.

Farrell came by for a tour of the TV station and Hartford Courant plus a trip to West Hartford for dinner.

Even when I haven’t seen Bob or Farrell for a while it’s easy to pick up where we left off. We share the same sensibilities. We understand what makes each other tick.

It was great seeing both of them… though Farrell, you should consider coming with Red Sox tickets next time. Just sayin’.

Bob’s (Very Long) Birthday Video

This will not appeal to everyone. Here’s a very long (VERY) Animoto movie of my stills from Bob Lacey’s birthday party.

Did I mention it’s long?

For plain old stills, look here.

Bob Lacey’s Surprise Birthday Party

Bob was heading to the apartment with his younger daughter ostensibly to get a gift from some friends, It wasn’t until he opened the door that he realized something was up.

Bob Lacey gets surprised!This is what’s meant by whirlwind, right? Twenty five hours after arriving in Charlotte I’m sitting in the departure lounge at C2 waiting to leave.

The reason for my trip was to celebrate Bob Lacey’s birthday. Bob and I have been friends nearly forever having worked together at WSAR in Fall River, MA and WBT in Charlotte.

Bob and SheriBob’s been going to work in the same building on Julian Price Place (the only building on Julian Price Place) since 1971. That’s an amazing accomplishment spanning three different facets of broadcasting. For the last 15 years Bob and Sheri Lynch have been on-the-air in Charlotte and 60 other cities.

Dedicated blog readers (is there such a thing–really?) will remember Bob visiting me last weekend. He had no idea there would be a party for him upon his return to Charlotte nor that I would be flying to Charlotte on the plane after his! In untypical Geoff-style I was quiet… hint-less.

Bob and MaryI arrived in Charlotte and met his girlfriend Mary (literally met her for the first time at the airport) who shuttled me around the city as we took care of last minute party preps. The party itself was held in a beautiful condo apartment in the Myers Park section of the city (rub your thumb and the two adjacent fingers together in the money symbol).

Bob was heading to the apartment with his younger daughter ostensibly to get a gift from some friends, It wasn’t until he opened the door that he realized something was up.

The party was filled with Bob’s friends and co-workers and, of course, Mary. Another former WBT, WSAR alum, John Lambis, drove in from Atlanta.

You never know if the guest of honor is truly surprised at a surprise party, but I think so. He certainly looked shocked.

Bob and GeoffWhat do you get someone reaching his 60th 30th birthday? Among the most memorable a ‘mocked up’ cover from AARP Magazine with Bob’s photo and Bob oriented pull-quotes replacing the actual Bruce Springsteen cover. I gave Bob a book of photos from our Maine “mancation” a few years ago.

Charlotte’s mayor, Pat McCrory, declared the day Bob Lacey Day and read a very un-mayoral, funny, proclamation. You’re not going to see this one quoted in the newspaper!

All things considered a very successful trip. I’m glad I could share the moment.

Blogger’s addendum: While driving to-and-fro we passed a sleazy looking motel by the side of the Interstate.

“Oh my God,” I blurted, “I used to live there when they were apartments!”

I’ve been gone from Charlotte a very long time. A lot has changed.

Quick Video From Bob Lacey’s Visit

My friend Bob came to visit last week. After our trip to the beach he spent the evening with childhood friends in New Haven. Here’s a little feel for the evening.

Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Dan Desjardins, from Weather Central in Madison, WI, called me. He was worried, because word was out I’d been fired!

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. -Mark Twain

Though this story starts back in May, I didn’t even know there was a story until yesterday. Dan Desjardins, from Weather Central in Madison, WI, called me. He was worried, because word was out I’d been fired!

A website called tvjobs.com listed me as “on the beach.”

Had they called and asked, or sent an email? No. It’s not like I’m that difficult to find.

I went to see my boss. “Uh, Kirk, have I been fired, but no one’s told me yet,” I asked? He smiled… but it was a good smile.

Truth is, back in the early 70s I received a call from my friend Bob Lacey. He’d heard I’d been fired from my job in Cleveland. Only, it didn’t happen until the next day!

That was a pretty crappy day.

So, how does this happen? In this case tvjobs probably took a shortcut when they saw WTNH’s website change. For some odd reason, my picture disappeared from its page with the other meteorologists.

Our webmaster, Jeff Bailey, said, “Looks to me like it was accidently archived at the end of May.” As big an ego as I have, I don’t look to see my picture on the station’s website. Who knew?

My boss, Kirk Varner, fired off an email.

To whom it may concern at TVJobs.com:

We don’t subscribe to your site, so I can’t verify this personally—but I have it from multiple sources that you are listing WTNH staff meteorologist Geoff Fox as being no longer employed by WTNH (as in “On The Beach”.)

Assuming you are not referring to Mr. Fox’s recreation choices, this information is incorrect and needs to be updated immediately. Mr. Fox is still in the employ of WTNH as he has been in the last 24 years, and a simple check with his employer (that would be me) would have verified this information in less than five minutes.

As I can find no press or internet posting suggesting that Mr. Fox’s employment status has recently changed, perhaps you could also enlighten us as to the source of your information as part of your apology and retraction to both Mr. Fox and this station?

As far as I know, Kirk hasn’t heard back. However, as of today tvjobs requires readers to click through an advisory. Dan, who first brought this to my attention, found this change today. “Now they make you click on a disclaimer about “on the beach” listings before you can look at them. They “clarified” that on-the-beach means the individual has “dropped off the stations web site” And, they’ve changed the text with my photo.

I’ll let you know when my apology arrives. Don’t stay up.