KSTP-TV meteorologist Ken Barlow is now an official contestant in the unofficial shirtless Twin Cities anchors photo contest.

Barlow is wearing long shorts and hauling a backpack in the photo he posted on Instagram. This one, he noted to me, “my wife approved.”

That was not the case a few weeks ago when Barlow was inspired to post a photo after seeing another pecs-and-biceps-revealing snap on social media from his former meteorological student, KARE 11’s Sven Sundgaard.

I couldn’t find that photo and Barlow laughed very hard before admitting, “I took it right back down. My wife would have kicked my ass if she had known it was there. It was up for about three hours. Somebody said I should put that up there and show Sven who’s boss. You probably saw the photo of Sven and his partner [Robert] kissing on Valentine’s Day? Somebody said, ‘That’s nothing, show him what you’ve got.’ And I said, ‘OK,’ like an idiot.”

With that photo Barlow wrote something along the lines of: I might not be Sven, but I am 20 years older, so give me a break.

“Sven saw it [posted an LOL] and ‘Work It,’ ” said Barlow. “I thought, OK, I’ve got to take this down.”

Barlow looks fit but not as beefy as Sundgaard. “No. I’m 54. But he said I looked good so I take that as a compliment,” said Barlow, who is not yet 54. “Stop laughing, I’ll be 54 in April.”

I told Barlow I didn’t want to get him in trouble with his wife, Theresa, by writing about the photo she did not approve: “It’s OK if she reads it as long as she didn’t see it.”

In an attempt to broaden this trend beyond local meteorological anchors, I asked Fox 9 anchor Tom Butler, because he would not misconstrue the query, about when he was going to post a shirtless photo. He laughed but did not answer the question.

I also asked “Jason Show” host Jason Matheson, who just finished a twigs and weeds diet to drop weight in advance of something major happening, where his shirtless selfie was. Raising the index finger on his right hand, he paused and said, “I shan’t be doing that.”


Why MEN?

Before getting to the e-mail you are about to read, I already knew that I am not the only one who thinks male anchors need to be schooled about the pecking order for signoff remarks. But I’m pretty sure I was first to speak up for disrespected female anchors.

“I thought I was the only one [who] got irritated by the new ‘guys’ overstepping the female anchors,” Beth Michaelis wrote, in response to Tuesday’s item about new KARE 11 weekend anchor Zach Lashway, who replaced Blake McCoy, now a correspondent for NBC. Although Lashway has been in town two minutes, he couldn’t let Camille Williams have the last word.

“McCoy used to drive me crazy with that when he was paired with Rena Sarigianopoulos. I don’t miss him,” wrote Michaelis. “Even Randy Shaver does that with Julie Nelson. I know he has been on the anchor desk pretty long but not as the main anchor like Nelson. He seems to always want to have the last word, too. I’m not sure why KARE felt they had to bring in a new guy [Lashway]. They have a good pool already working with them. I really like Chris Hrapsky; he is good on that ‘Breaking the News’ show.”

The way I see it, Beth, Nelson picked her poison when she selected Shaver, who was being charming as all get out to get out of sports and into a main anchor chair. While Shaver might be taking the last word, he’s not doing it from what I call the power seat, the anchor chair on the left of your TV screen. It’s where the male anchor usually sits, it’s where Paul Magers sat and it’s the chair Nelson retained when Shaver joined her. I am proud she didn’t give that to him, and that Kim Insley anchors from the power seat at “Sunrise.”

In another e-mail, Peggy Lubozynski was miffed that two KARE 11 stories about Pi Day included the names of male winners of contests for reciting the digits of Pi, but a third story failed to name the female student who beat out the two males. “It’s interesting that only the female student’s exceptional performance was overlooked.”

Lubozynski said she e-mailed KARE 11 and received a prompt reply from Ben Garvin apologizing for the omission and promising to correct it. Garvin, a photographer, told me Wednesday the female student wasn’t identified because she wasn’t interviewed. “But she [Lubozynski] made a good point.”


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on FOX 9’s “Jason Show.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.