Former colleagues of 50-year WCCO weatherman Bud Kraehling, who died Wednesday at 96, share some memories:
Don Shelby, former news anchor who began as a reporter at WCCO: “Bud and Dave Moore were such a wonderful pair; they were symbiotic. They never rehearsed or told one another what the other was going to say. They were hilarious and loved working together. When it came to the transitions, then hand-offs from news to weather, you wanted to see these guys talking to each other.
“One time Dave prevailed upon the producer to put a story about a belly dancer right before the weather. As she was bellydancing in the last scene of the segment, the camera cuts back to the set desk, where two monitors are embedded. Bud and Dave were hunched over, their faces about an inch from the monitors. The floor guy says, sotto voce, “You’re on. You’re ON!” They both stood there, absolutely silent, not moving, for at least 30 seconds, and I thought, ‘Who does this kind of wonderful stuff?’ ”
Tom Ziegler, former producer assignment editor and managing editor at WCCO: “My folks were never quite sure about my career choice, and two things finally convinced them when they came to visit. One was my mom touching Dave Moore’s coffee cup. The other was seeing Bud’s weather station in the newsroom.
“During the latter part of Bud’s career, he did the midday broadcast with Debbie Ely. One day Debbie gets something caught in her throat and starts choking. She asks Bud to read it for her, and he realizes he doesn’t have his glasses on. And Debbie’s just dying. We finally went to break. Some of us went to check on Debbie, some went to look for Bud’s glasses and the rest just rolled on the floor laughing.”
Kevyn Burger, former WCCO news producer: “Even long after he retired, he and his wife were always invited to the company Christmas party. While everyone else was talking and drinking, those two had all the moves on the dance floor. I have a very distinct memory of what joy and gusto Bud and the Mrs. showed, spinning and grinning through the night. He was a guy who had fun.”
From a Star Tribune article on Kraehling’s 1996 retirement:
Ad libbing was a skill he had to work at, Kraehling said, but the grace under fire for which he’s known was innate. Once, while introducing a Saturday-morning western sponsored by Barq’s root beer, he popped one open, spooking a pony on the set that was to be given away. On the air live, he continued calmly to tick off the wondrous benefits of Barq’s as the pony bucked, reared, whinnied and tore down its fence behind him.
Not only was Kraehling’s recitation of the time and temperature a nightly constant. His mere presence served as a clock for some people: One woman reportedly would tell her husband, “Ah! Time to take my birth-control pill!” the moment she saw Bud’s face appear onscreen.
He was popular with quadrupeds, as well: One family reported that their pet gerbil would furiously run on its wheel whenever Bud was on the air.
Tom Oszman, who did a video interview with Kraehling in 2012, when the retired weatherman was 93: “You wouldn’t know from listening to him that he was in his 90s; he could have been in his 40s — sharp mind and wit, very keen sense of the world he was in and the world he came from.
“He was very humble. He didn’t take any credit for Channel 4’s success, but he did take credit for having a lot of fun doing it. He wasn’t looking for accolades. I asked him if he saved a lot of video of himself, and he said, no, he was never out looking for a bigger job or more money. In the last part of his career, he was helping new meteorologists with degrees learn how to forecast.”