Birmingham’s First TV Radar

| May 2, 2008 @ 8:37 pm | 20 Replies

From May 1978….

WAPI-TV (Channel 13) bought a color receiver for the National Weather Service WSR-57 S Band radar at Centreville, and put it on the air in May of 1978. The primary weather anchor for Channel 13 at the time was Rosemary Lucas; I would take the job a year later, in September 1979. My MacBook Pro has about 100,000 times the computing power of that old radar receiver, but we sure did love it in the late 70s….

This image is from Birmingham Rewound… a great site.


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Category: Pre-November 2010 Posts

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James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

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  1. Sharky (used to be matthew) says:

    Wonder why Royer gave up the weather…..I couldnt see you giving it up Mr Spann…..guess its all about wanting to help people and loving what your doing.

  2. Mike Wilhelm says:

    Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing. About Mike Royer: I had the pleasure of hearing him give a very inspiring speech at the Alabama Fatherhood Conference a few years ago.

  3. PaulaW says:

    I remember Pat Gray. 🙂

  4. Wedder Mann says:

    Remember Ray White, the 1970’s-era weather anchor for channel 42 (UHF at that time)? We had “rabbit ears”, and could only get certain channels in certain rooms, so Ray was our family’s radar guru by default until he changed careers for an entirely different kind of radar, working as a State Trooper! Thinking about all the klutzy equipment the various channels had at that time is like seeing a fuzzy black and white skit from Saturday Night Live. Quite a ways from my current DirecTV feed with HD DVR, streaming internet connections with weather radar from all over the country, etc….

  5. Acid Reign says:

    …..Man, Pat Gray was IT! It was a sad day when she left. Wonder what ever happened to her? We were kind of channel 6 news fans by default, growing up. The other stations had snow. WAPI sold off 13, then the station beefed the signal up, and had MASH after news, and that’s when I discovered Pam Huff and James Spann!

    …..Anyone remember putting tinfoil flags on antennas, to help reception? I think that’s where the tinfoil hat expression got started. A good kiddie prank on the grownups was to twirl the fine-tuning ring on the TV, then twirl the vert-H and horiz-H knobs. You could then extort ’em. “Can I have an ice cream cone, if I can get your stations back?”

  6. James (Tuscaloosa) says:

    Just got through today burying the power and TV cable for the 13″ that’s going to my new 16×12 shed. Have to be able to James while I’m out there piddling around. Also have a water hose buried from the outdoor faucet for running water, and will have a small ‘fridge. Will be nice when I get it finished. BTW, I have DirectTV w/ HD and a 52″ in the living area and a 46″ in the bedroom.

  7. keith says:

    what happened to pat gray?

  8. reba says:

    it just blows my mind that NO one can tell us what happened to Pat gray from channel 6 from the 60’s and 70’s .. it is like there was never such person…

  9. Diane says:

    I can tell you what happened to Pat Gray. She moved to Panama City Fla, where she did the weather there for some time, then had other jobs, including two hot dog stands near the beach. She and her husband moved back near Bham and lived there until his death a few years ago. Her health is not the best, but she is doing fine and lives in a retirement community now.

  10. james williams says:

    Where is pat gray today

  11. carl ditaway says:

    when i visit bham i would visit her send me the name of retirement com

  12. Rickey Moon says:

    I was just wondering whatever happened to Pay Gray, and how she was doing.

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