sonny eliot 361 Sonny Eliot RetiresWWJ-AM’s legendary weathercaster and Hall of Fame broadcaster Sonny Eliot has announced his retirement from broadcasting. Eliot, who has been making Detroiters smile about the weather for years, debuted on CBS RADIO’s all news radio station WWJ Newsradio 950 in 1950.

WWJ will pay tribute to Eliot this Friday, Sept. 10 with special audio clips from his weathercasts and famous one liners throughout the day. Sonny’s last weathercast aired Friday afternoon. ico011x008video Sonny Eliot Retires CLICK here to see the video.

ico011x008video Sonny Eliot RetiresCLICK HERE to view WWJ’s video tribute to Sonny.

“I’m looking forward to whiling away the hours conferring with the flowers and consulting with the rain,” said Eliot. “I hope I’ll be missed.”

Unlike any other in the country, Eliot’s weathercasts were a mixture of fast-paced humor, bits of far-out philosophy, one liners, improbable analogies and similes, and, not to be overlooked, easy-to-understand weather forecasts.

– HEAR SOME OF SONNY’S WACKY FORECASTS – (Scroll down for more videos!)

Sonny is a true legend in this community and a major part of Detroit’s history,” said Debbie Kenyon, CBS RADIO Detroit Senior Vice President and Market Manager. “His sense of wit and wisdom is a big part of WWJ’s history. We’ve grown up watching Sonny on TV and hearing him on the radio. His sense of humor will be missed.” [photogallerylink id=26181 align=left]
Eliot served in World War II where he piloted a B-24 bomber and was shot down over Germany. He spent the next 18 months as a prisoner of war in Stalagluft I. While in captivity he lifted the morale of the other prisoners by staging original skits and revues. He began his broadcast career at WWJ-TV, now WDIV, after the war. Much like the man who came to dinner, he was called to do a bit part on a local variety show produced by the station, and ended up staying 35 years. While there Eliot hosted a variety of programs including the 17-year series “At the Zoo,” and “Hudson’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” [photogallerylink id=26914 align=right]

Early in his career, Eliot appeared on “The Lone Ranger” and “The Green Hornet” radio programs. He also appeared on children’s programs, quiz shows, commercials and a multitude of other program classifications, but earned his greatest reputation as a weathercaster on both Channels 4 and 2 and also hosted the Channel 50 Movies for several years.

Throughout his career, Eliot earned a number of awards and honors including the Sloan Award for his traffic safety tips, citations by the American Legion and American Meteorological Society, The Toastmaster International Award and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Excellence Award for Broadcast Personality in 1998. He was inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2005.

Interview: Sonny Eliot on 50 Years in Broadcasting

Sonny Forecasts Chilly Weather (@WWJ’s THAW Radiothon)

(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (9)
  1. Jim C says:

    Thanks for the memories Sunny! You’ll be missed deeply! May God bless you in all your future endeavors.

  2. Perry Perrault says:

    Sonny Eliott is the best weatherman I’ve ever seen or heard. His hilarious weather updates will be missed by all his fans. I’ll always remember him as a man of the people. I saw him in a parade in Ann Arbor during my long haired college days and I ran up and shook his hand! He took it all in stride with his exuberant smile. What a great guy & a marvelous weatherman, providing us with weather reports over the years exac-tic-al-ly as they should be delivered. God Bless You, Sonny!!!

  3. Jim says:

    To me, and most others for the last 50 or so years, Sonny is every bit iconic as Ernie Harwell or J.P.McCarthy to Detroit radio listeners. Where to begin; a war hero, though he rarely talked on air about his p.o.w.experience in Nazi Germany, a consumate professional broadcaster who actually did something about the weather; he made it fun-and funny-to hear even the yuckiest of forecasts, and look forward to the next one just because he’d be giving it. His listeners always sensed he “broke up” fellow broadcasters just as he did his listening audience, and that he was generous to a fault in giving and sharing with others. He’s one of the few media people I would have liked to know, and be friends with personally. I will miss his wit, his marvelous sense of humor, and his “sonny” forecasts terribly, and I wish him the happiness he gave me-and everyone-for many, many years to come.

  4. Sally A says:

    There’s nothing left to do but thank Sonny for all the happiness he’s brought to the area over these many years. I’m 54 and distinctly remember thinking how I had to stay up to see his weather forecast on Ch. 4 at 11:00 because it was sure to be a hoot. Sonny showed us that no matter what – storms outside or storms in our life – with a little perspective and a little humour, we’d be OK. Thanks to Sonny for helping us all to be OK.

  5. Stan Phillips says:

    Thanks for being there in my childhood Sonny. You were fun! I’ll never forget you. May God bless you and your family.

  6. Kitty and Keith says:

    We will miss you on the radio and look forward to seeing more of you and Annette

  7. Grove Sandrock says:

    Thank you Sonny for years of important information and fun! I always enjoyed seeing you on TV and listening to you on radio! Enjoy your retirement.

  8. Don F. says:

    I travel through the UP each summer and every time I drive through Engadine, I think of Sonny Eliot and how much I looked forward to his forcast. Good luck and God bless.

  9. Truman says:

    I miss the Sonny Eliot forecasts, even though I haven’t seen one since I left Detroit in 1965. He was a highlight of my evening. I have family in the U.P. and whenever I visit I think of Enga-dinga-ringa-dine and wonder what the weather is there. Only one other forecaster has made it fun to watch the weather and that was “Too Tall” Tom Shimanski(sp?), but there will never be another Sonny Eliot.

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