Rob Koch finds job at KSTP-TV wasn't weatherproof

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 26, 2009 - 9:17 PM

Weekend meteorologist Rob Koch is the odd man out at KSTP-TV, where his last day on the air was Sunday.

There was a window in Koch's contract, and in June he learned he'd be jumping out of it after a meeting with news director Lindsay Radford. "We are cutting back from four to three meteorologists, I presume to save money," Koch said. "My mentor Bryan Busby (KMBC-TV in Kansas City, Mo.) once told me you know you've made it in TV when you have been let go for the first time. For me it was a shock. They've been very good to me, allowing me to look for work."

Koch is pleased to leave under more positive terms than his good friend, meteorologist Jim Guy. (Of course, they are such good friends -- men! -- Koch is not sure where Guy is working these days. I await a response from Guy; I shot him an e-mail Wednesday.)

Brought to the Twin Cities from Tampa, Fla., 8 1/2 years ago when WCCO-TV's Scott Libin was at KSTP, Koch has yet to land another job to support his wife and their 1-year-old daughter, Isabel. "We would love to stay in the Twin Cities; this is home to us. So I'm looking for that next job whether it's in sales, marketing or communications," Koch said. He has also talked with area news directors and with Paul Douglas, founder and CEO of WeatherNation.net and a long-time Twin Cities TV meteorologist anchor.

While Koch hasn't ruled out working in local TV, he said, "I'm a little nervous about staying in TV. I don't want to hit age 50 and worry about how I'm going to feed my family."

Wait a minute, isn't KSTP Meteorologist for Life Dave Dahl at least 50? Koch laughed and said, "Yes, he is." But Koch believes long careers on TV are becoming a rarity.

LaBelle steps out front

Multi-instrumentalist Shaun LaBelle has been riding high on the jazz charts.

The Minneapolis music producer stepped out front for "Desert Nights," his first CD, which has been doing well since its release in February. "My new single, 'Down Low,' featuring Jeff Lorber, the legendary keyboard player who pioneered the smooth jazz format, has been the most-added record in the country at jazz radio stations," LaBelle said. "That means we've been added to a radio station's play list. I was tied with George Benson for most radio adds in the country, with eight adds. My record company is just freaking out."

Saxophonist Everette Harp and Rob Chiarelli, who has mixed albums for everyone from Ray Charles and Luther Vandross to Will Smith and Pink, told LaBelle it was time to cut his own album. "I think Shaun is an incredibly talented musician, he's a brilliant producer and I think it was just the right time for him to share his many gifts as a solo artist," Chiarelli said from LA.

If LaBelle looks familiar to Twin Cities TV watchers, it's because he has gotten into local commercial-making and sometimes finds himself in front of the camera selling computer repair services, cars and household goods. He was in a Nordic Ware spot with his girlfriend, Laura Diaz, that ran endlessly one Saturday when I was watching the Food Network.

Diaz is not one of the babes lurking in the background of the cover art for "Desert Nights," but that's not why LaBelle looks uncomfortable to anybody who knows him (and I do because he provided the opening credit to C.J.'s Cyber Jabber at startribune.com). LaBelle's wearing an I-can't-believe-I'm-taking-this-picture look because this is sooooo not how he'd spend his time. Why did he allow this photo? "Marketing," he answered. "I was ambivalent about it, but the photographer felt it was a good idea. In this world a certain amount of sex sells, so we thought, why not?"

The voice was all Stein

It has been years since I've seen former Timberwolves exec Bob Stein without a baseball cap, so I didn't recognize the face in that DOCUcopies.com commercial.

The voice, however, resonated.

Couldn't reach Stein for comment, but his significant other, dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Biglow, confirmed that Stein is the guy playing "Johnson" who slaps himself upside the head. Biglow, who works at Skin Specialists of Wayzata with the Zelicksons, said Shaun LaBelle talked Stein into doing the commercial. LaBelle provided the voice-over.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.

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