I miss Katie Horner.
For those of you new to the area or if you’re not a fan of Kansas City weather, Katie Horner was a meteorologist for Channel 5 here in town a few years ago. This was back in the NEWS IN YOUR FACE era of local news and Channel 5 was the best at it.
WHAT’S LURKING UNDERNEATH YOUR KITCHEN SINK?? TUNE IN AT 6 TO FIND OUT!!
WE WENT UNDERCOVER AT A SCHOOL CAFETERIA TO FIND OUT WHAT YOUR KIDS ATE AND YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT WE FOUND. TUNE IN AT 10!!!
Holy crap. Yes. Yes I will tune in. I hope it’s not worms. Oh my god I hope it’s not worms.
Channel 5 was aggressive and they consistently won in the ratings with equal parts CNN Breaking News, National Enquirer, Buzzfeed and an air horn. It was spectacular television and the crowning jewel of Channel 5’s broadcasts was the weather with Katie Horner.
Horner was brash and loud. The other stations had grandfatherly guys like folksy Mike Thompson or quirky guys like Brian Busby and Gary Lezak. Katie Horner had bigger balls than all those fellas put together and they were on display night after night. But the greatest nights in television history were when there was a line of thunderstorms streaking across the plains of Kansas heading towards the KCTV-5 viewing area.
This was Game Seven of the NBA finals. This was the Daytona 500. This was Beethoven as it was meant to be played. Horner would rifle off the cities in the path of potential destruction with the tact and grace of a jackhammer. Basehor. Look out!! Take cover!! Horner says you’re about to be pounded. Platte Woods? Better get into your bunker. 435 and Metcalf? Prepare to meet your maker.
Katie Horner once famously instructed her listeners to go to the basement and put a helmet on and it was fantastic. Katie was like riding a ride at Worlds of Fun without a safety belt. It was exhilarating and heart pounding.
And then the complaints came and people ruined television in Kansas City forever.
Monday, a strong line of July thunderstorms rolled through the area. I flipped between Busby and Lezak and Thompson and some guy with perfect hair. There was no yelling. There was no helmet warnings. There was a silent list of cities and the “track” of the storm. That’s not a track, you dummies. That’s a TARGET. That’s a BULLSEYE. One of those weather guys even told me that even though the sirens were going off, that it wasn’t that big of a deal. HOW IS THAT GOING TO RAISE MY HEART RATE???
Katie Horner left Kansas City shortly after the complaints rolled in. She got a job for a short while in St. Louis as a weather person there. But now she sells plumbing in the Raymore area - once in the impending doom pathway of a storm she screamed out. And now, she is selling PVC pipes and shower fixtures.
I miss you Katie Horner. On Monday, I went to the basement and put a helmet on until the sirens stopped in your honor.