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As weatherman Howard Shapiro ends 35-year career at WTVT-Ch. 13, a new forecaster arrives



Howardshapiro Even as WTVT-Ch. 13 forecaster Howard Shapiro was saying his final goodbyes Friday after 35 years at the station, word was spreading that a new meteorologist has been hired by Tampa's Fox affiliate.

Shapiro, 62, said goodbye during an emotional segment on WTVT's noon news today, surrounded by his wife, daughter, and a number of friends from the station's news and weather departments. The longtime forecaster had announced his departure in July, saying he wanted to get out of the news game five months before his contract would end, so he could enjoy his golden years while still healthy.

(UPDATE: Fox has confirmed that Sheena Samanipour,a meterologist/reporter at WCTV in Tallahassee, will join the weather staff in late November. To make pronunciation easier, she will go by the first and middle names in Tampa, using the name Sheena Parveen.

WTVT forecaster Jim Weber will move to cover Shapiro's duties on the noon newscast, while Andy Johnson will take over the evening weekend shift and Samanipour appears on weekend mornings.) 

Bumping into him at WTVT's studios this afternoon, I found Shapiro was energetic and smiling, happy to be embarking on a new adventure in life. "I'm excited," he said, noting he and wife Gail were planning a move to Phoenix, a town they don't know well and hoped to have fun exploring. "The only requirement I had for the movers was to let me drive my motorcyle on the truck last -- so it would be the first thing unloaded."

Born in Jersey City and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Shapiro served four years in the Navy before heading to college and eventually snagging his only other TV job, learning the business at TelePrompTer cable TV in Oswego, N.Y. He married Gail one year before he got the job offer from WTVT in September 1974.

SHEENA+SAMINIPOUR+PICTURE His secret to longevity in the news business may mostly be the good fortune of landing at WTVT, where his boos Roy Leep developed a reputation for innovation and emphasis on weather that became the station's hallmark, ensuring forecasters would have all the resources they needed.

As Shaprio was saying goodbye, the Florida News Center Web site was reporting WTVT has already hired a new meteorologist: Sheena Samanipour, a graduate of Florida State University who was working as a weekend meteorologist and weekday news reporter at WCTV, Tallahassee's CBS affiliate.

She has worked at WCTV since May 2008.  

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:02pm]


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