WTVT-Ch. 13 forecaster Andy Johnson leaves the air today after 33 years, marking low profile departure
It may be the lowest-profile departure for a 30-year veteran in the recent history of local TV news.
Longtime weather forecaster Andy Johnson said goodbye to viewers for the last time on WTVT-Ch. 13 during its noon newscast today, capping 33 years at the station. But Johnson, who first announced his retirement on his Facebook page about a month ago, hasn't yet agreed to an interview or talked much about why he decided to retire now.
When colleagues such as Kathy Fountain, Bill Murphy or Frank Robertson left WTVT after long tenures, their departures were prefaced with enough media attention and on air tributes that their final broadcasts became small events.
But Johnson left WTVT in the same low-key manner he delivered weather forecasts for more than three decades, often on the station's weekend newscasts -- with an unassuming manner and a wide smile.
Johnson, who grew up in Tampa, graduated from Florida State University and came to WTVT in August 1979, known as a protege of the station's powerful and popular top weather forecaster, Roy Leep. As Paul Dellegatto came in to succeed Leep, Johnson kept to his role as the station's weekend forecaster, quietly racking up more than three decades on air.
"I got to actually live my dreams," Johnson told viewers today. "I always wanted to be a meteorologist, I knew what I was going to do when I was seven years old, I knew where I was going to work...I got to do something that most people don't get to do."