WWJ-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. CLICK here to see the video.
“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)
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