Carrie's Blog: It's the end of an era - - The News for South Mississippi

Carrie's Blog: It's the end of an era

Carrie, Mike, and Patrice Clark at one of the many Mardi Gras parades they covered together for WLOX. (Photo source: Carrie Duncan) Carrie, Mike, and Patrice Clark at one of the many Mardi Gras parades they covered together for WLOX. (Photo source: Carrie Duncan)
Rebecca Powers and Mike Reader - May 10, 2007 Rebecca Powers and Mike Reader - May 10, 2007

[Editor's Note: Tonight on WLOX News at 6pm, retiring Chief Meteorologist Mike Reader announced that Carrie Duncan will take over for him, leading the WLOX 24/7 Weather Team. They've worked together closely for 12 years, and Carrie wanted to share some of her favorite memories of Mike. He has been a mentor and a friend to so many of us at WLOX, and we all wish him the very best.]

I still can't believe Mike is retiring. I think he's been saying he was going to retire for my entire 12 years here. Things have finally lined up just perfectly for him to be able to make it happen, and spend valuable time with his wife, son and grandchildren. I'm very happy for him, but boy am I going to miss that man.

Mike was the first person I met when I came on an interview in September of 2002. He brought me into the studio and the newsroom. While attending the afternoon news meeting, I met quite a few people who are still here.

I really didn't know who Mike Reader was when he greeted me on that muggy, love bug filled September day. Internet wasn't nearly as integral to a job search as it is now, so I hadn't looked him (or the station) up to see what they were all about. It really is amazing how many things have changed since then.

I often imagine the change Mike has seen over his three decades here, and how much the weather forecasting has advances since Mike began forecasting in the Navy, prior to WLOX. He's told me so many stories. And I find myself asking for more as I know my time with his is limited.

A few of my favorites: When he was in the Navy, one of his superiors had him take previous satellite images and put them together on some type of film (I believe). He said, "You know, looking back. That had to have been one of the first satellite loops."

I said, "That's cool, but you must be old!" And we laughed. Honestly, he looks GREAT for his age. He's doing something right!

Also, while he was in the Navy, he said they would put together the surface charts and move fronts across the country by putting a cigarette pack down to gauge the distance for one day worth of movement. Being a bit of a weather geek, that is just such cool info to know.

I was supposed to have a week's worth of training before I started on Monday, September 23, 2002. I went on air that Wednesday (if not before) because Tropical Storm Isidore was threatening the area. Then, the following week, Hurricane Lili was taking a similar path.

Mike threw me right into the deep end. It was sink or swim. I was able to stay afloat, but I definitely struggled. He helped me so much with location and terminology. He made me feel pretty comfortable, but I was very nervous!

On my first weekend on-air, he came in to back me up and make sure there weren't any issues. His idea was to be a fly on the wall. He started cleaning the office. Then he got the vacuum out, and he was getting the dust out of the computers. Well, low and behold, right before I was about the go on air, the graphics system stopped working.

I had to get him to turn off the vacuum, so I could ask him what was going on. Neither one of us could figure it out, so I had to go live for my first weekend without graphic support and talk for three minutes. It was rough! Come to find out, while he was cleaning, he knocked the mouse cord loose from the computer, and that's why the graphics didn't work. He chuckled and said, "Oops. At least you have them for 10." I just shook my head and agreed.

He is such a good-natured, kind-hearted man. He is such a good teacher, too. I am so lucky to have been able to spend a dozen years learning from this man. He has taught me about the weather nuances that can make or break a forecast. Weather can be very challenging to forecast during certain times of the year, especially during the winter months.

So many people know Mike and have grown up watching him. If you've ever met him, you'll remember him. He was, and still is, "Winnie" to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. I'm not sure how he earned that nickname, but I know she still speaks fondly of 'Winnie' from their time working together on the weekends.

It's such a juxtaposition. I know I'm going to miss Mike. (I sort of already do.)

I'm going to miss being able to turn and ask a weather question to someone who seems to be a wealth of weather knowledge.

I'm going to miss Mike being nosey. (We are all pretty nosey in this business. It's kind of our job.)

I'm going to miss him organizing holiday cookouts.

I'm going to miss my 'Work Husband.'

I'm going to miss Mike's brutal honesty.

I'm going to miss his grumpiness.

I'm going to miss his stories.

Most of all, I'm going to miss someone who is a lot like a second father to me!

I know he will enjoy his retirement. I sure hope he does because he definitely deserves it! He really is one of the hardest working men I know.

To Mike: "May the sun shine, all day long, everything go right, and nothing wrong. May those you love bring love back to you, and may all the wishes you wish come true!"

Love you, Mikee!
Carrie Duncan

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