John Coleman, who co-founded The Weather Channel and was the original meteorologist on ABC’s “Good Morning America” during a six-decade broadcasting career but who later drew people’s anger for his open skepticism about climate change being man-made, has died. He was 83.
Coleman died Saturday night at home in Las Vegas, said his wife, Linda Coleman, who did not give the cause of his death.
The Texas native got his first TV job while still a student at the University of Illinois. He worked at several local stations in Chicago —including ABC-7 and CBS-2 — and the Midwest before joining “GMA” when it launched in 1975, staying with the program for seven years.
He served as CEO of The Weather Channel for about a year after helping launch it in 1981.
Two years later the American Meteorological Society named Coleman its broadcast meteorologist of the year.
Coleman went to work at TV stations in New York and in Chicago before landing at KUSI-TV in San Diego, where he spent 20 years as a weatherman before retiring in 2014. Jason Austell, an anchor for the station’s “Good Morning San Diego,” tweeted that Coleman was “a beloved meteorologist.”
National Weather Service forecaster Alex Tardy said Coleman’s death was “a big loss for the weather community.”
“He brought a lot of energy and color and enthusiasm to forecasting,” Tardy said. “My kids loved watching him on TV.”
Coleman also drew anger during the later years of his career for his doubts that humans caused global warming, which he called a “hoax” and a “scam.” In a 2013 KUSI news segment, Coleman, while talking about a global warming study, chastised national media for reporting on it from “an environmental point of view and their continuing liberal, political agenda.”
His views combined with his weatherman background led to appearances on cable news outlets discussing climate change.
Tardy said Coleman never tried to push his skepticism about climate change being man-made.
“We had good talks,” Tardy told the San Diego Union-Tribune . “I enjoyed it.”