Former TV Weather Forecaster Charlie Bagley Dies

October 10, 2011|By DAVID OWENS, dowens@courant.com, The Hartford Courant

STAFFORD — Charlie Bagley, beloved for his plain-spoken TV weather forecasts and his disdain for the dramatics of some of today's weather reporting, died Sunday in Stafford.

Bagley, 82, worked most of his broadcasting career at WFSB Channel 3, retiring in January 1994.

For a few years toward the end of his career, Bagley went to Channel 30, which hired him away with a big boost in pay. He admitted to The Courant at being puzzled by Channel 30's move.

"I would never hire me," he said. "I'm a fat, old, bald-headed guy who's pretty homely and has none of that stuff that sells."

Viewers embraced Bagley, who was known as "Fair Weather Charlie." The Courant's James Endrst described Bagley as having "an on-air voice so craggy and understated it verges on somnambulant," and as being "an anomaly in this age of breezy weather personalities."

Describing Bagley's last forecast at Channel 3, The Courant's John Lacy described Bagley as "wearing a gray suit, a white shirt and a necktie that looked as if Mother Nature had wiped her boots on it."

To Bagley, forecasting the weather was the job. And anything that took time away from that task made little sense.

"I would rather spend the full time on things affecting our weather than stant out on top of Constitution Plaza [Channel 3's address at the time], almost getting blown over so I can say, 'It's a windy day in Hartford.'"

Bagley also didn't have much use for the hysteria that greets winter storms these days, and expressed disdain for weather forecasters who become "positively spastic" every time a storm comes into town, "acting like we've got the end of the world coming."

Bagley learned the weather business while in the Air Force, and arrived in Hartford in 1961. In 1970 he was managing director of the Travelers Weather Service, which provided weather reports to radio stations and other clients.

He began broadcasting weather reports on Channel 3 and WTIC radio in 1972 when both stations were owned by Travelers.

Fox CT chief meteorologist Joe Furey who replaced Bagley at Channel 3 in 1994, described Bagley as a "wonderful man, just a joy to be around. He was very quick-witted and the life of the weather office. He was just a really great man. He was a guy that everybody loved."

Bagley's former Channel 3 colleague Hilton Kaderli described Bagley as good at his job, a joy to be around and someone who wasn't afraid to tell management he thought an idea was bad.

Kaderli recalled one occasion where a manager at Channel 3 was rolling out an idea to change the weather portion of the newscast. Bagley objected and the manager responded, "What makes you think you know anything about television?"

Bagley responded, "What makes you think you know anything about weather?"

"He'd just speak right up," Kaderli recalled.

And while Bagley's appearance was always neat when he appeared on the air, he spent no time primping in front of a mirror, Kaderli said.

"He was not what you'd call a prima donna," Kaderli said. "In a kind of cosmetic world, he was a real person."

Bagley lived for many years in Windsor and occasionally would receive requests for personal weather forecasts.

More recently, he lived in Stafford Springs, where he volunteered at Johnson Memorial Hospital. He called himself "King of the Candy Stripers" and put in more than 6,500 hours as a volunteer.

Calling hours are scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Introvigne Funeral Home, 51 East Main St., Stafford. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Edward Church, 55 High St., Stafford.

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