Joe Cupo, one of Maine’s best-known and longest-serving TV meteorologists, is retiring after 37 years.

Cupo has been on Portland station WCSH, Channel 6, since 1979. He’s the meteorologist for the station’s main news programs, in the early and late evenings. His last day will be April 22.

Joe Cupo in 2000. WCSH's president and general manager said, "People grew up watching Joe, now their kids are watching Joe."

Joe Cupo in 2000. WCSH’s president and general manager said, “People grew up watching Joe, now their kids are watching Joe.” Press Herald file photo/Gordon Chibroski

Cupo is accepting a voluntary retirement package being offered by the station’s owner, TEGNA Media, said Steve Carter, WCSH president and general manager. Cupo is one of nine employees at WCSH and WLBZ, Channel 2 in Bangor, taking the voluntary retirement, Carter said. Both are owned by TEGNA Media.

The only other on-air personality taking the retirement offer is WLBZ meteorologist Steve McKay.

Cupo’s longevity is rare not just in Maine, but in TV markets around the country, Carter said. He noted that part of Cupo’s appeal is his easy relationship with viewers, including how he frequently mentions people who call in to tell him the weather conditions in their part of Maine.

“People grew up watching Joe, now their kids are watching Joe,” Carter said.

He said two meteorologists will be hired to replace Cupo and McKay. The voluntary retirement offerings were not strictly a cost-cutting measure, but a chance to look at “whether we should be doing things differently” and possibly invest the savings in different areas, Carter said.

Joe Cupo doing a broadcast in 2001.

Joe Cupo doing a broadcast in 2001.

WCSH has been Portland’s top-rated local news station for most of the past 20 years, partly because of the longevity of its anchors and of Cupo. Pat Callaghan, one of the station’s main anchors, also started in 1979. Anchor Cindy Williams began in 1989.

Cupo’s retirement comes a little more than a year after the station lost another veteran weather forecaster, Kevin Mannix, who retired from his full-time duties at WCSH last February after 25 years. Mannix occasionally does the weather forecasts for WCSH as a fill-in, and probably will be asked to do so while a replacement for Cupo is sought, Carter said.

McKay, who is based in Bangor but whose forecasts are sometimes seen on WCSH, announced earlier this week that he will leave his TV job after 22 years. McKay, who has been a part-time minister for many years, is leaving to devote more time to that vocation. His last day on the air will be Sunday.

Cupo, who lives in Falmouth, is an avid cyclist and gardener. He has a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the State University of New York at Albany.

He didn’t return a call for comment Thursday.

Cupo’s retirement could have the strange side effect of saving people money on gardening supplies. Maine Wreath & Flower on Bow Street in Freeport, owned by Cupo’s wife, Debbie, is holding a “Celebrating Joe Cupo’s Retirement Sale” Friday through April 30. Customers can get 25 percent off garden flags, mailbox covers and fairy garden items.

 


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