What's behind the remade weather team at WTSP-Ch. 10?
(UPDATE: Seems no one can officially confirm anything about Tammie Souza coming to WTSP-Ch. 10 because paperwork isn't finalized, so maybe this news will speed up a change everyone knows is happening but isn't yet official. One fun fact: if/when she does come here, Souza would likely be the Tampa Bay area's first female chief meteorologist, making a bit of history in addition to succeeding the dean of area weather forecasters)
The flap over a decision to pre-empt the history-making U.S. Open men's finals match Monday may obscure a more lasting issue at CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch.10: The remaking of the channel's weather department in the wake of forecaster Dick Fletcher's death.
Ace TV industry reporter Robert Feder reports Chicago meteorologist Tammie Souza is coming south soon to take over as chief meteorologist at WTSP, seven months after the death of longtime chief Fletcher.
Souza's arrival would cap what seems to be an extensive housecleaning at WTSP's weather department, beginning with the firing of Anna Allen in August and the possible departure of Randy Rauch later this month. WTSP officials couldn't have found a busier time to implement such extensive changes, bringing on Allen's replacement Chris Suchan a few weeks ago from North Carolina and using Stephanie Roberts as a freelance fill-in. Meanwhile, emergencies ranging from Tropical Storm Fay to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike have forced the weather team to offer extensive reports.
Souza comes to the St. Petersburg station after eight years in Chicago, first handling weekends at the top-rated NBC affiliate WMAQ and then, since 2006, as the morning forecaster at Fox affiliate WFLD. Before Chicago, she worked in Milwaukee and Chico, Calif.; she also has a younger sister who forecasts in Sacramento, Calif., making them the only sibling forecasters.
Because of the weather emergencies, WTSP has made its changes in the brightest light possible. Once the dust clears, it will be interesting to see what sort of department the station winds up with.