Ode to Katie Horner

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.

8 Comments

  1. Marc Foster

    If you want a real weather circus, move to Oklahoma City.

  2. Katie horner

    Dear Chris,
    I read your ramblings with a big smile on my face. Those were the days, weren’t they? I am forever grateful to the viewers who “got it”. Who understood the role of management and my role as employee.
    Though I caught much of the flack for KCTV and their consultant’s idea of how severe weather should be covered, I loved being KCTV’s chief meteorologist especially back in the 90’s when Don North and John Rose were at the helm. I loved being the emcee for all the fun races especially the Susan G. Komen events and presenting weather to children at all the schools. I took pride in being one of the few female chief meteorologists in the country at the time and being a role model for my daughters.
    Let me update you on what I’m doing now. Yes, I left St. Louis to return to KC. Soon after returning, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I quit my job in KC to return to St. Louis to help take care of my parents. I commute back and forth caring for my children in KC and my parents in St. Louis. I could not do this if it were not for fabulous friends and family that support me.
    As for doing the weather?? I freelance from time to time filling in at stations that need short term weather help. I get to do what I love with no targets on my back and I have the freedom to be by my parent’s side when needed.
    So,again, thank you for your rambling. I took it with all the meaning it intended. I always knew KC had a great sense of humor and it is good to be able to laugh together now.
    But, if you’ll excuse me. A storm is coming. I have to find my helmet.
    Best wishes,
    Katie Horner

  3. Chris (Post author)

    Katie,

    What a fun note. Thank you. And I appreciate that you took the spirit of my ramblings with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.

    Glad that you are doing well and all our best to your family.

    Say what you will about the presentation of your broadcasts, but you will always forever be remembered fondly here in Kansas City when precipitation begins to fall from the sky.

    All the best,
    –Chris

  4. AR

    She’s actually a real estate agent in KC 🙂

  5. AR

    Oops! Disregard my comment!

  6. John

    Katie Horner was always my favorite because she was passionate and knew her job, I trusted her guidance through the storms above all the other weather personalities in Kansas City. I wish her all the best for her and her family.

  7. Larry

    God Bless you, Katie! I truly admire your love and dedication to family. You are an asset to wherever you are. I hope that one day you return to being the premier weather person in KC.

  8. Deborah

    I loved Katie! I felt informed and safe when she was on during storm season. I always felt the whiners and cry babies bemoaning program interruptions had never been in a tornado. I had! Like I said..Katie HELPED me deal with storms and the anxiety. I miss her!

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