Posted: 12:51 pm Monday, January 27th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
Mike Francis, chief meteorologist at the NBC affiliate 11 Alive here since the summer of 2011, has left the station.
Why? I am not sure but I’m told he was taken off air before his contract was up. He has not found a new gig that I know of so this was not a voluntary departure.
I first reported this news Monday afternoon. Later in the day, the 11 Alive Facebook page confirmed the news when someone inquired:
Thanks for writing. Mike Francis is no longer at 11Alive. Veteran meteorologist Chris Holcomb 11Alive will be taking over the weeknight weather duties. We’re currently doing a nationwide search for a world class meteorologist to join Chris, Chesley McNeil 11Alive and Allison Chinchar 11Alive to ensure you’ll always have the weather information you need to keep you informed and safe.
His work Facebook page has not been updated since Jan. 10, the last time he was on air.
When I reached him by phone today, Francis said, “Everything is fine. My wife is calling me. I need to call you back.” (He didn’t call me back.)
His former bosses have not gotten back to me about the situation. An insider told me Holcomb, a long-time weekend meteorologist, has been angling for the weekday job for a long time.
In an interview soon after he arrived, Francis told me how much he loved the weather ever since he was a child. A self-described adrenaline junkie, he was a tornado chaser in the past as well, spending 10 years at an affiliate in Little Rock, Ark. He has seen more than 40 tornados live. General manager John Deushane at the time said he had a “fire in the belly” for weather.
Indeed, his passion for the weather is readily apparent on both the TV and his blog and social media entries.