SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - As all of us here at WTOC celebrate our 65th anniversary, we’re looking back at what made WTOC number one with the team that Doug Weathers built.
For 41.5 years, Doug Weathers was a driving force here at WTOC.
“When people thought of WTOC, it was ‘DOUG, DOUG, DOUG!’ I think Doug built up trust that they thought they couldn’t get anywhere else. They knew they could depend upon Doug, and that always struck me," explained Ricardo Thomas, WTOC Videojournalist.
That’s what struck a lot of people about Doug, and he did his best as news director and vice president of news to fill his team with the same kind of people. All of us pictured with him here are the last of the team that Doug built. Some of us grew up watching him.
“To work with him personally always was that feeling like, 'don’t pinch me. Don’t pinch me,” said Dal Cannady, WTOC Bureau Chief.
“It took me more than four months to finally get comfortable enough to call Doug ‘Doug’ instead of ‘Mr. Weathers’ or ‘Doug Weathers’ every time. It was just a level of respect. I was just so happy to be here and so proud to be part of the team,” added Dawn Baker, WTOC News Anchor.
Of the many awards and recognitions the station has gotten through its 65 year history, Doug is perhaps most proud that viewers rely on us as their community station.
“It was a connection. We lived in the community. We were a part of the community. What happened in the community was just as important to us as it was to them,” said Doug Weathers, Retired News Anchor and VP of News.
“He had a connection to the community, and every person on the other side of that camera felt as if they knew him and trusted what he had to say,” said Ron Wallace, WTOC Weather Forecaster.
Doug cared even more about the people.
“Doug didn’t always do the stories that came to him. If something came across Doug’s desk and he could fix the problem, he would pick up the phone and fix the problem other than do the story,” said Craig Harney, WTOC Creative Director.
He always led by example.
“When I came here, Doug was inching toward retirement. That didn’t slow him down. He would pick up the phone, pick up the camera, and roll on breaking news. He was at a point in his career when he could’ve easily and justifiably not taken that effort, but that was not his nature. His nature was to get the news to the people, and he would give everything he had to make sure he was informing the people,” said Larry Silbermann, WTOC V.P. & General Manager.
“I remember the times we were all slammed. We were in there editing stuff, and Doug would roll up his sleeves and be in the editing bay too. I don’t think, Doug, you ever realized what that meant, but the photographers, they would’ve followed you anywhere,” Thomas said.
“Doug was here in the morning, and he knew what was going to be on the news, down to the tone and the approach. He was overseeing the stories, because ultimately, it was going to be coming from him. We had that kind of mentorship throughout the day,” Cannady said.
Doug taught us the value of hard work, integrity, professionalism, and the list goes on and on.
“Professionalism; I don’t mean in a tight way, but we look good. I remember it being 105° when I was covering sports. Doug would not let me wear shorts. On St. Patrick’s Day, we aren’t out there yucking it up all the time. We are in coats and ties. There was a certain level of professionalism," added Ken Griner, WTOC News Anchor.
In spite of all those accolades, Doug just wants you to remember this about him.
“Just that I did my best to inform the community. I did it unbiasedly," Weathers said.
Rest assured Doug, they know, and we are all proud to be a part of our great legacy.