The world of radio and meteorology mourns the loss of a true giant—both in stature and impact. John Wetherbee, affectionately known as “Big John,” passed away, leaving behind a legacy of unparalleled dedication to his craft and a towering presence in the hearts of listeners nationwide. Standing at an impressive six feet nine inches, Big John’s influence stretched far beyond his physical height, reaching audiences in Georgia, Ohio, California, and his hometown of Illinois.
Big John’s meteorological journey took a significant turn in 1997 when he launched his radio weather service with the Envision Radio Network. His exclusive predictions reached 161 radio stations across the nation and three networks, solidifying his position as a trusted voice in weather forecasting. This marked the beginning of a career that would see him appointed as Chief Meteorologist for several CBS television stations, including key markets such as Chattanooga, Atlanta, Savannah, and Nashville.
His impact wasn’t confined to television; Big John lent his expertise to various radio markets, becoming a familiar voice in cities like Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Indianapolis, Athens, and Atlanta. For three years, he also took on the role of managing operations for Clear Channel Savannah, showcasing his versatility within the broadcasting industry.
Recognition for Big John’s contributions came in the form of prestigious inductions into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2024. These honors highlighted not only his professional achievements but also his lasting impact on the radio and meteorological communities. His certification as a broadcast meteorologist by the American Meteorological Society further solidified his status as a trusted authority in the field.
Beyond his professional accolades, John Wetherbee was known for his unwavering passion for weather forecasting, a dedication that only rivaled his enthusiasm for college football. An avid football player himself, he seamlessly blended his love for the game with his meteorological expertise, creating a unique and engaging presence for his listeners.
One of the enduring memories that colleagues and audiences will cherish is Big John’s signature closing line: “And we’ll make it a great day!” This simple yet powerful phrase encapsulated his positive outlook on life and resonated with those who tuned in for his forecasts. It became more than just a sign-off; it became a reflection of who Big John was—a charismatic, optimistic, and larger-than-life figure who left an indelible mark on the airwaves.
The news of Big John’s passing prompted an outpouring of condolences and tributes on social media. The My Country 99.3 Facebook page expressed their sadness, stating, “We are sad to report the passing of meteorologist John Wetherbee, whose weather reports you’ve heard for years on WCON.” The post acknowledged his recent induction into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, emphasizing the profound impact he had on the radio community.
In times like these, when a prominent figure leaves us, it is not only the loss of an individual but the end of an era. As we remember Big John, we celebrate a life dedicated to informing and entertaining, leaving behind a meteorological legacy that will continue to influence and inspire future generations. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time, as we collectively mourn the passing of a broadcasting legend.