On Tuesday March 2nd, 2010, the Boston television news community and the New England community at-large lost a man who was arguably its first big star, when meteorologist Don Kent passed away, aged 92.
Celebrated for his low-tech but accurate forecasts and invitingly warm manner, Don served his community for over six decades, long after his retirement from WBZ-TV in 1983.
In that spirit, some of Don’s friends, former colleagues and better-known fans have spoken exclusively to BTVN with their thoughts on the life and legacy of this broadcasting icon. Should anyone who fits into this category wish to contribute, they can still e-mail Max Preston at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, a big thank-you to everyone who has taken part so far!
WMUR METEOROLOGIST JOSH JUDGE
(MENTORED BY DON KENT)
“Don was not only the ‘first Boston weatherman’ but also a really great guy. In my experiences with him, I’ve never known him to say anything mean about anybody.
What’s amazing to me about what he did, was how back then, there wasn’t the type of weather data that we have now… so he went out and set up networks of people and created his OWN ways of getting the data that we now take for granted. He was a true pioneer, and all of us who do the weather now owe him a debt of gratitude.
I spoke with him about 2 weeks before he passed on, and though he was a bit slowed down, he was still full of spitfire and passion for life. He will be missed by me, and thousands of fans.”
FORMER WBZ BROADCASTER,
HOST OF “DANCING WITH THE STARS”
“Growing up in Haverhill, Don Kent was THE weatherman to watch. When I met him years later, it was a bigger thrill than meeting movie stars in Hollywood. If you want to get a sense of how charming Don was, look for the YouTube video of him handling a runaway weather map. That smile could disperse clouds.”
WHDH CHIEF METEOROLOGIST
“I offer my condolences to Don’s family and the vast ‘army’ of supporters across ALL of New England. Although we never met, it almost felt like I knew him. Since I started in the business, I have always been reminded of his larger-than-life legacy wherever I went in New England – from Maine to Connecticut. No doubt he will be missed as one of the greats in Boston television who, in former co-worker Andy Hiller’s words, ‘let the weather do the talking.’ Amen to that.”
WCVB METEOROLOGIST DAVID BROWN
“It goes without saying that Don was a pioneer in the field of broadcast meteorology. He cared deeply about the field and the people getting into it. He touched more lives… and influenced more people getting into the field.Besides caring about the people in the business Don loved weather plain and simple. He loved the challenges of forecasting the complexities of the weather and relating it to all of us in a simple manner. What I love about Don is his love of the science. While most forecasters would hang it up when they retired..Don kept forecasting …and forecasting…and forecasting. He forecasted even after the studio lights went out. No doubt he is still forecasting from a much different perspective now.”
“Don Kent – simply the BEST. Like many a Boston area kid, I grew up watching WBZ and Kent’s forecasts, praying there would be no school in Marshfield. All eyes glued to the weather for the blizzard of 1978, that’s for sure. He didn’t have doppler, but he had great instincts. People like real locals in Boston, and Don was a local, in the best sense of the word. He’ll be missed.”
WCVB CHIEF METEOROLOGIST
“Don Kent was a true New England legend…an icon, and a pioneer for all those meteorologists (including myself) who followed him. He set the trend and the bar for professional television weathercasting in New England. His enthusiasm and genuine love of weather and the outdoors is what I will always remember about him.
He had a great, folksy, down-home New England way on the air (and off), whether he was talking about winter golf on The Cape, skiing, snowmobiling or ice fishing. He was also very encouraging to young and up and coming meteorologists.
When I was working as a television meteorologist in Providence, Rhode Island, he encouraged me to make it up to Boston. He helped Bob Copeland get his start as a television meteorologist, and he was an inspiration to Dick Albert, Barry Burbank and others. He will be truly missed.”
LONGTIME BOSTON ANCHOR
RANDY PRICE (NOW AT WCVB)
“On my very first program in Boston, I had the great fortune of working with Don… and we spent a few years together before he retired from TV. I will always feel honored that as a new guy on the block, I had the good fortune to be embraced by pioneers like Don and his long-time TV partner Jack Chase, who I replaced at WBZ-TV.It’s not often you get to work with legendary characters, but Don was the total package. A real New Englander… complete with that distinctive voice and accent… and no-nonsense sensibility, especially when it came to his forecasting our fickle weather. He was a first and one of the best in our industry, he had a really long and healthful life with a wonderful marriage and family , and you won’t find anyone who will say other than glowing things about him as a person. It probably doesn’t get much better than that. R.I.P. Don.”