He Feels Good, Again
By Sofie Kinnefors Photography by Martin Mann
JOHN COLEMAN JOKINGLY claims he’s a fraud.
“Being a weather newscaster in San Diego is a total scam,” cracks the KUSI-TV veteran and personality of national renown.
He’s widely known for his on-air dancing, and for the way he effuses the company call letters (“K-UUUU-S-I!).
Coleman started working for KUSI (whose parent company also owns San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles) almost 20 years ago. The dance moves were initially his way of celebrating the coming of Santa Ana winds (to James Brown’s “I Feel Good”).
But the weatherman didn’t always feel like dancing. There was a time more than a decade ago when he often felt short of breath. Coleman quit smoking and tried different medications but realized that his breathing wasn’t improving, and decided to go on a diet. He lost 30 pounds.
“Now I breathe great,” he says. “I can climb stairs, dance, I can do anything.”
Coleman grew up in Texas and moved to Illinois as a teenager. He and his dad, a college professor with little spare time, used to predict the weather during evening walks. In the pre-TV era, the Coleman family turned to the radio for news. “If you were on the radio you were important,” said Coleman. “So I made it my goal to get a job on the radio.”
He started in radio as a high school freshman. In college he did TV weather. Eventually he became part of a Chicago Eyewitness News team that is credited for creating the newscaster “happy talk” banter that’s de rigueur today.
Coleman also worked on ABC’s Good Morning America and co-founded The Weather Channel, but his recollections of those national outfits are less than rosy.
He playfully calls KUSI “his retirement job,” but Coleman, who lives in a quiet Rancho Bernardo community, isn’t planning on actually retiring anytime soon.
“I enjoy the challenge of modern television and all the young people I get to work with,” he says. “It keeps me feeling young and fresh.”
And feeling like dancing.