Friends, former colleagues remember local broadcast legend
Al Bolton gives the weather forecast at KSLA.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
Al Bolton arrived when KSLA was just a baby, one month old, back in 1954. He stayed around for three-and-one-half decades until 1990, forecasting everything from tornadoes and severe storms to floods, freezing rivers and snow.
And back in the early days, the beginning days of Channel 12, everything was so primitive compared with what we have today," Bolton said in an interview commemorating the station's 50th anniversary in 2004. "My weather map consisted of a national map and a local map. And each map had a piece of clear plastic in front of it and I would draw the frontal systems and the pressure systems on in advance."
For a time, Bolton also hosted Al's Corral, a western-themed children's show.
It has now been a quarter of a century since Al Bolton last appeared on KSLA News 12, giving his signature weather forecast. That means an entire generation has missed out on what he meant and still means to this small part of the broadcasting world.
"Al Bolton set the standards for weather in the market," said Bob Griffin, a former KSLA broadcaster.
One former co-worker takes it one step further, when it comes to the kind of credibility Al Bolton enjoyed during his time at KSLA.
"You've heard people say that Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America," said KSLA staffer Marnita Atkerson. "Well, I would say definitely on a local level during the years that Al was delivering the weather here at KSLA he was the most trusted weathercaster in the Ark-La-Tex."
Despite Bolton's battle with skin cancer, he stayed active in radio broadcasting after leaving KSLA. But he's always remembered as a member of the TV stations family.
"He, to me, was the best weathercaster we've ever had," said longtime Bolton friend Louise Chamberlain. "And, I know Stormtracker Steve is not going to like that but that's what, you know, that's the way I think."