Exclusive: comeback kid Paul Ossmann named chief meteorologist at CBS46

This was posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Veteran weather guy Paul Ossmann has replaced Jim Kosek as the chief meteorologist of CBS46.

ExploreKosek was let go in June.

For 60-year-old Ossmann, it's been a long road back from the lowest point in his life in 2011 when he filed for bankruptcy protection, gave up his $900,000 Alpharetta home to foreclosure, saw his marriage crumble and lost his chief meteorologist job at 11Alive after 13 years.

Any one of those situations would make for a bad year, but the cascade of terrible news tested his resolve. "My faith got me through this," he said in an interview today.

He said this humbling period girded him to just move forward, fix his finances and get into real estate to pay the bills. When CBS46 in early 2012 offered him some freelance meteorology work, he said yes, just to keep his fingers in that arena.

From there, he gradually gained credence there, first as a weekend/fill-in, then helping out with traffic, which led to a full-time morning meteorologist job paired with Jennifer Valdez. With Kosek's recent departure, general manager Mark Pimental decided to give his most experienced weather person the top job. The announcement was made internally this week.

"When my life came crashing down," Ossmann said, "all you have is  yourself and your work ethic and reputation... There are certain checks and balances that happen in life. I had a big one in 2011... I just made it clear to myself that opportunities are available. Just be ready for them. Don't ask questions. Don't ask why. Be prepared."

Ossmann never lobbied for the chief meteorology position. He did whatever the bosses asked him to do and stayed humble.  "I knew I had more in the tank," he said. "I'm glad that things worked out the way they did."

He has now been making weather forecasts in this market for nearly 30 years: 10 at WAGA-TV, 13 at 11alive and now nearly six at CBS46. He is hoping he could make it to 10 at CBS46 and have the rare distinction of lasting a decade or more at three different stations here.

"I remember starting at WAGA in 1988 and looking at the old timers," Ossmann said. "That's me now! I know that I'm the Ken Cook , the Guy Sharpe, the Johnny Beckman. It's the circle of life. Atlanta has been a good TV market to allow people like [Channel 2 Action News chief meteorologist] Glenn Burns and [Fox 5 chief meteorologist] David Chandley and [11Alive chief meteorologist] Chris Holcomb to have long careers."

He has lost 35 pounds the past year on a low-carb diet and occasional fasting. And he remarried two years ago. "I'm really happy," he said. "My kids are in their 20s. I don't think I'm getting older but they remind me I am."

Paul Crawley, a former reporter at 11Alive who spend many years working with Ossmann, dubbed this promotion a "wonderful comeback story. I've always respected and liked the guy. Even with a lot going on in his life, he never wore it on his sleeve. He did his job and never complained or made excuses. I admire the guy for weathering this with such an optimistic and friendly outlook."

Fred Kalil, the sports announcer who worked with Ossmann at 11Alive and is now reunited in evenings with him at CBS46, is still grateful that Ossmann drove him to work years ago when Kalil had a brain tumor and couldn't drive. The current evening anchors Ben Swann and Sharon Reed look at the two of them funny when they mess around with each other. "We have our own little code," he said. "I call him 'Big Swole' because he's the world shot-put champion for his age, baby! You work nights, it's great to have a good buddy to hang with. We go and terrorize the grocery store between shows."

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