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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tribute To Doug Brown

By Gene Norman

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I'm going to break format for today's blog.  Don't worry, I'll still put the forecast for the next few days as well as the Norman Number below.  But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on someone I consider a mentor in this business as well as a friend.  Doug Brown was remembered today in Houston in a ceremony attended by his two families - his blood relatives and his television ones.  I am fortunate to count myself among the second group.  He passed last week at 79.

When I began my TV career working at KTRK in 1994, one of the first things we did was tape a promo welcoming me to the team of Ed Brandon and Doug Brown.  I'll never forget how nervous I was.  After all, those two are legends in Houston television and I was quite the newbie.  However, I'll also never forget how comfortable both of them made me feel.  Especially Doug; in the promo, he ad-libbed a gesture extending his hand, quipping, "Welcome aboard".
From that moment on, I was "in".  

As you've no doubt read, Doug's trademark was his smile.  He was always smiling, even in the midst of computer melt-downs, camera miscues or any other technical malady that befalls even the best television newscast.  His smile replaced chaos with calm and an assurance that everything was going to be alright.  

There were often times when we were in the weather office together and he took the time to show me something.  That's rare in this business, which can sometimes be full of egos and fear.  Doug would do it smartly, though.  He'd ask me a question, like, "Gene, do you know what day of the week has had the most rain this month?"  Of course, I didn't and he'd whip up a graphic showing the trend he'd tracked.  Doug had a way of making weather information "real" to people.  In the midst of the computerization of television weather, he was originally authentic.  That's an approach I've tried to emulate in my career; with varying degrees of success.

Thank you Doug Brown, for being my friend; you will be missed.

Kleenex please...and now here's the forecast:

TONIGHT: Fair and cool.  Lows in the upper 40s.  Patchy fog by sunrise.  Winds near calm..

NORMAN NUMBER FOR WEDNESDAY: 9
WEDNESDAY: Early patchy fog lifts and skies become partly cloudy.  Highs climb to the low 70s with east to southeast winds 5-10 mph.

NORMAN NUMBER FOR THURSDAY: 8
THURSDAY: Areas of morning fog and low clouds, then becoming partly to mostly cloudy by afternoon.  Morning lows in the mid 50s followed by highs in the mid 70s.  Southeast winds 5-10 mph.

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