For a while now, people have been able to research and follow the weather without so much as getting up from the couch, thanks to the Internet and mobile devices. But that wasn't always the case, and for many years, The Weather Channel was the go-to source for storm-tracking and five-day forecasts. One of the seminal channel's co-founders, as well as Good Morning America's first weatherman, the legendary and sometimes controversial meteorologist John Coleman died over the weekend. He was 83 years old.
John Coleman passed away inside his Las Vegas home on the night of Saturday, January 20, according to San Diego news channel KUSI, where Coleman spent two decades of his noteworthy career. He was said to be surrounded by family at the time.
Born in Alpine, Texas on October 15, 1934, John Coleman got his first break in TV back in 1953, when he was still a University of Illinois student, and he provided evening weather reports, among other things. After graduating with a degree in journalism, Coleman worked for different TV affiliates across Milwaukee and Illinois through the '60s and '70s, and it was in 1972 that Coleman and his WLS-TV colleagues in Chicago used the first chroma key weather map, the "green screen" display that meteorologists are still using today.
John Coleman made TV history in 1975 when he became the first weather anchor for the then-debuting ABC morning news and talk show Good Morning America. He stayed with the still-running hit for seven years, leaving Good Morning America in 1982, and he would soon go on to change TV forever.
As the 1980s got underway, John Coleman established an important partnership with Frank Batten, who was at that point the president of the then-titled Landmark Communications, which is now called Landmark Media Enterprises. After nearly two years of legwork, The Weather Channel was launched on Sunday, May 2, 1982, with Coleman and Batten appearing on-air to introduce the game-changing channel. And though The Weather Channel remains an informational and occasionally groundbreaking source of real-time weather data, John Coleman's time there wasn't to last anywhere near as long. Though he was both the president and the CEO, Coleman was forced out of The Weather Channel in 1983, and he never returned in any professional capacity.
The Weather Channel did provide a statement to reflect on Coleman's life and legacy.
Thirty five years ago John Coleman and others founded The Weather Channel to answer a demand for around-the-clock weather information. We will forever appreciate his vision that we continue to this day as the demand for severe weather coverage and hyper-local forecasting is at an all-time high.
After he was done with The Weather Channel, John Coleman had a few more short-term gigs in New York and Chicago, and he won the Broadcast Meteorologist of the year from the American Meteorological Society in 1983. He found his grand calling in 1984, though, becoming the first meteorologist for San Diego's then-new morning show at news station KUSI. Coleman remained there for 20 years and retired in 2014. You can check out a video culling together some of Coleman's highlights throughout the years.
Somewhat non-intuitively, John Coleman once again made national headlines the 2000s over his skeptical views on climate change and global warming. He was quite outspoken about his beliefs in the lack of evidence supporting negative climate changes, and viewed the topic as more of a political agenda than a scientific issue.