Just as 2014 was getting under way local television station KMBC released two of its weather personalities: Lisa Teachman and Joel Nichols. Teachman soon caught on with KCTV5, while Nichols seemingly disappeared. And though KSHB Channel 41 recently announced Nichols will be joining their station this summer, actual sightings of the avuncular weather personality have been rare.
WNBTv discovered Nichols has been preparing for his new position by attending an unusual school in the LA area. We caught up with Nichols last week over lunch at the Lucha Libre Taco Shop 1 at San Diego’s PetCo Park (Nichols was working his way through 2 orders of the Tap Me Out tacos; we went with the Undefeated Seafood tacos.) Below is a transcript of our conversation:
WNBTv: Wow – you’re really going to eat all those?
Nichols: Oh yeah, gotta. School is so intense, so demanding I have to consume around 5,000 calories a day just to maintain my weight.
WNBTv: 5,000? Holy crap, what kind of school is it?
Nichols: Well, you know (KSHB’s weatherman Gary) Lezak, right? All buffed, pumped up, no girly man there, right? Well Randy (Thurman) thought we needed to do something similar…
WNBTv: You’re what: in the gym, pumping iron?
Nichols: No. Well, yeah, a little. But that’s mostly just for tone. See, the thing Randy came up with, the bit we’re gonna do on First View is lucha libre. I’ve been out here for 2 months training as a luchadore. Just yesterday I got my mask and ring name: Coco Verde! Cool, huh?
Nichols: Yeah, it’s gonna really invigorate First View!
WNBTv: That’s not the direction I saw KSHB going in…
Nichols: No one did! That’s the genius of it. Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh! We’re also gonna have rotating mariachi bands on every Monday, you know, to get the audience pumped before my matches. Which are going to be awesome! Though the bands have been warned about playing narcocorridos. Though, honestly? Who would know?
WNBTv: You’re not serious, right?
Nichols: What? Yes! I’m telling you, I’ve been out here at this school for the last couple of months, working, working, and working. I’m in great shape; they’ve worked my ass off!
WNBTv: KSHB is going to broadcast live Lucha libre matches on First View? You’re going to wrestle other luchdores? And you’re fine with this?
Nichols: Sure. I mean, let’s face it – TV news and weather is mostly being able to correctly read a teleprompter, with a touch of show business thrown in. In Kansas City, which is a down market, that’s even truer. Yeah, some of the news ‘talent’ in town take themselves seriously. But hell, man, when was the last time you saw a local news anchor go out in the field and break an important news story, or get involved in anything investigative? I’ll tell you when, never. Never! And though that’s mostly because the Star’s so weak, there…
WNBTv: Wait – what’s the Star have to do with anything?
Nichols: The Star hasn’t published a true investigative piece on Sly, the city government or any of the corrupt corporations in town – and there’s plenty of those – in actual years. Seriously, I mean, can you believe the local water department declined an audit by the state and no one’s holding their or Sly’s feet to the fire? When a town’s newspaper decides to sit in a corner and navel gaze the local television stations feel no pressure to compete, there’s no drive to go out and report an actual story instead of rewording press releases. And that’s what’s happening in KC now. Hell, Lucha libre will be the most honest thing to hit the market in decades.
WNBTv: So this will be early morning…?
Nichols: Maybe. Or, maybe…it’s too early to say, but there are some other opportunities, other time slots where this would work. But that’s down the road; right now I’m concentrating on my first professional match.
WNBTv: Wait, you’re serious? I still can’t believe you’re going to actually do this…
Nichols: Oh yes. The reason I’m in San Diego, besides these killer tacos, is I’m headed down to Ensenada. My first professional match is there a couple of Saturday’s from now. It’s going to be great! You should stick around, get some pics, maybe a video.
WNBTv: Can’t this trip, fun as it sounds. Let’s get back to KSHB – who would you be wrestling?
Nichols: Well, to start with, Randy thought Shannon Halligan. Get that whole Mexican Andy Kaufman vibe going, you know? Then we’d branch out from there; me taking on every other Action 41 News Team member, say once a month, until at the end of the year when I’d go after the big dog himself.
Nichols: Yes. Or maybe a semi-tag team event: me against Lezak and his dogs. That would make for great TV. And don’t forget the mariachis. They’ll only be on Mondays, but the station’s working out a deal with Sly to have them play on the new streetcar 2-3 evenings a week. This will give the station, and Kansas City, a unique identity.
WNBTv: So, no more weather forecasting?
Nichols: Hell, no. Don’t get me wrong, weather has been very, very good to me over the years. But it’s got its downside: if I predict stiff breezes in the evening and all we get are mild zephyrs, the phones light up with every little old blue-haired lady in a 4 county area calling in to complain about my ‘inaccurate’ forecast. Not fun. Besides, Lezak has got that gig down pat; he doesn’t need any help. No, lucha libre is the future.
WNBTv: When does all this happen?
Nichols: I can’t tell you the exact date, but it’s a safe bet you should look for me around the 4th of July. (Ed.’s Note: KSHB recently announce Nichols will be returning on-air July 8th.)
WNBTv: Thanks for sitting down with us; we wish you a lot of luck in your new endeavor. We’ll be tuned in.
Nichols: Thanks. And let me know if you want to come down to the studio and watch – it’s always more fun with a live audience.