Think about it.
Can anybody remember one who wasn’t? I mean, a successful, popular one. Yeah, there’s KCTV‘s Gary Amble who on the surface appears to be a regular guy. Until you remember he’s looney toon Michelle Bachmann‘s kid brother. Besdies, Amble’s not exactly wildly successful, given he barely lasted four years at Channel 5’s weather helm before being replaced by known nutball, Katie Horner.
Shall we continue?
Anybody remember that strange-seeming dude at Channel 9 and Channel 4 named Dave Dusik? Dusik left WDAF under a cloud after it was reported by a national business pub that he traded commodities using his TV weather predicting skills. Where do you suppose Dusik is now? I can’t find him.
Or how about Dave Sweeney who abruptly parted ways with Channel 41 in 1997 after allegedly roughing up his wife? Sweeney bumped about for a while to Denver, Spokane and Portland, finally settling in as a weather wonk on OregonLive.com. Unfortunately for Sweeney, word of the charges here continued to follow him, but he’s alive and kicking and playing dress up in his online casts.
What of former Channel 5 weather wonk Mike Thompson who left for Channel 4 in 1991? Forget the Thompson’s ah-shucks schtick and questionable track record, remember in 2008 when he invoked the name of Adolph Hitler to diss climate change believers?
And what about KMBC’s Bryan Busby, a respected weather wonk known at one point to have had a penchant for “the boats” and who keeps his personal life buttoned up tight…for a reason.
Do I even need to say anything about hair-on-fire meteorologist Katie Horner?
Shoot, the most normal-seeming of the lot is KSHB’s Gary Lezak and he likes to let his dogs roam about the station and go on the air with him. And by weather dude standards, that’s pretty much the new normal.
Although he’s been here 20 years, Lauria’s pretty much a forgotten man.
Does anybody even remember that he and Bryan Busby were college roommates? Try wrapping your head around that one.
Lauria hit town in 1995 as Dusik was hot footing it out, and at first blush appeared to be a horn-rimmed, weather geek, a la Lezak. But Lauria didn’t have Lezak’s passion, like-ability, weather chops or canines.
Do a search of the KC Star library and Lauria’s name only comes up 22 times in 20 years. Most of which are incidental mentions, calendar items and the like.
Do the same for Lezak and you get 297 hits, Busby, 323, Thompson, 267 – even Amble triples Lauria’s numbers.
Still, to an extent, Lauria may be a household word but he’s also an enigma.
Enter occasional KCC contributor Chuck Lowe.
“So I am having dinner at The Mix and I see Joe Lauria,” Lowe says. “He reads the paper for 20 minutes or so, checks out a hot chick up the street out the window. No glasses. Checks out the room. No glasses. Ya know why?
“Dude looks like an evil super hero without glasses. Heavy thick eyebrows. Intimidating. No kidding. I think the glasses are fake.”
“He is and appears to be a very nice person,” Lowe continues. “However when he takes his glasses off he looks like he just sold the nuclear launch codes to al Qaeda
“I also think he looks like Mr Burns from The Simpsons without his glasses. I just thought that it was interesting that the man wears glasses and he might not need them. And the fact that with his glasses on, he looks like such a very nice person but when he takes them off looks like evil superhero. Go figure?”