A beloved, longtime television weatherman was among the casualties of the FiOS1 News shutdown in what he described as a “forced retirement.”
Over the summer, Verizon announced it would be shuttering the local news channel in the Hudson Valley in November, opting not to renew its contract with RNN in Rye Brook.
Among those to lose their job is popular meteorologist Joe Rao, a Putnam resident who penned a heartfelt tribute on Facebook in announcing his final day at FiOS1 News. The final newscast for FiOS1 News will be at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
"'WE’LL MEET AGAIN' -- Well . . . a sad day for me career-wise, as today is the final day for FiOS1 News," Rao wrote. "And with it, what might very well be my final day as a broadcast meteorologist.
"Call it a 'forced-retirement.' "
“Certainly, I did not want to end my career in this manner. And since the announcement last summer that this day would eventually come, I wasn’t too worried,” he said. "I had been working continuously since 1978, first on radio and then in 1995 on television.
"I had received a number of awards and citations, including eight Emmy nominations, plus a certain amount of credibility as a reliable weather prognosticator over these many years.
“‘Certainly,’ I said to myself, ‘I will land on my feet at some other local broadcast outlet.’ "
Rao said he’s still looking for his next career move, though he has found that he might be overqualified for the positions he’s been checking in on.
“In the 21st-century world of television, everything is skewed toward a younger demographic," he said. "Maybe, if a much younger version of me applied for a job as a weather anchor, I’d have a better chance of finding a new position,” he wrote.
“Ironically, the younger me would have far less experience and would have accrued fewer meaningful citations or awards, but in the minds of those who make the programming decisions at television stations, I’d be considered ‘more attractive’ for younger viewers.”
Rao said that he’s been advised by some to potentially get back to his roots and return to the radio booth, an option Rao dismissed, noting that “today, a weather forecast on most stations is delivered in 30 seconds or less,” in an effort to maximize commercial time.
Moving forward, Rao said he plans to evaluate his options, possibly teaching classes at a local college while continuing his “Joe & Joe Weather Show” with Joe Cioffi.
Rao ended his post with a heartfelt message to his fans on his final day at FiOS1 News.
“I just want to say to all of you that my years of broadcasting, both on radio and on television have been spent very warmly, because you’ve invited me into your homes. And that’s a nice place to be, for two-thirds of your life.”
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