After 27 years of delivering the weather to TV viewers, Chuck Gaidica is going to be working a little closer to the source.
Gaidica, who's been telling us how to dress since 1987 on WDIV-TV (channel 4), is leaving that position in August for the ministry.
He'll be joining the Oak Pointe Church in Novi as its pastor of world outreach.
Leaving broadcast news for the private sector is hardly unprecedented. Nor is leaving it for the public sector; note how many television and radio journalists have joined political administrations.
But it's not too often when one moves from the TV studio to the pulpit. A cynic would argue that speaking into a camera to millions every night is the perfect prep job for what Gaidica is about to embark upon.
“I think maybe we all would like God to send us a message in skywriting but that didn’t happen,” Gaidica told the Detroit Free Press. “God leads people with whispers and nudges.”
Gaidica's decision was hardly made in haste or on a whim.
The 55-year-old native of Chicago has often leaned on his spiritual self, and told the Free Press that the decision to move from in front of the camera to the church was six years in the making.
From the Free Press story:
Gaidica said he spent a month living in Jerusalem last year to study for a master’s degree in ministry leadership. Now that he has earned the advanced degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary of Cornerstone University, he says he’s ready to devote more of his time to the huge Oak Pointe Church. The congregation of 3,000 is part of a coalition of 40 southeast Michigan churches.
Chuck Gaidica arrived at WDIV in 1987, and he hasn't changed all that much. That is to say, he showed up clean-shaven, good looking and cheerful, and he leaves television pretty much the same way. Maybe it takes a bit more pancake make-up to prep him these days, but he's one who the camera has continued to love over the years.
The new guy at channel 4 will be Ben Bailey, whose resume includes nine years of being the morning meteorologist for WJBK-TV (channel 2).
It's selling Gaidica short to say that he's just been a "weatherman" lo these many years.
He's won three local Emmy Awards and has been a regular on WDIV's Thanksgiving Day Parade coverage for years. No one knows Santa Claus like Chuck Gaidica.
Gaidica has worked on other TV specials and has been a radio host on WNIC-FM (100.3).
But it's been at 6:00 and 11:00 where Gaidica has made his living, telling us what's going on outside, since we're all too lazy to poke our faces out the window.
I met Gaidica back in the 1990s, when I was running the local programming department for Barden Cablevision in Detroit. Our studio was channel 4's old one, located next door to WDIV's current studios/offices. Gaidica dropped by to check out the old digs. I found him to be very personable and gracious.
Gaidica, in switching from TV weather to the ministry, goes from a job where you can be wrong all the time and not be held accountable, to one where his personal impact will be almost constant.
“Servant, shepherd, if that’s what God wants me to do,” Gaidica said of his new vocation. “I’m going to miss leaving the anchor desk a lot, but this was a really great time to make this change.”
Sure. He's still young, clearly has the passion, and with his being on TV in Detroit for the past 27 years, that kind of name and face recognition certainly can't hurt Gaidica and Oak Pointe Church's cause.
“(Gaidica)’s going to touch everything for us outside the four walls,” says Oak Pointe senior pastor Bob Shirock. “When you get somebody like Chuck, you don’t want to just stick him in an office and have him prepare sermons.”
Good luck, Chuck. It's been fun having you give us false hope with your meteorology reports for the past 27 years!
America's Thanksgiving Day Parade won't be the same, either. Maybe you'll come back and do that every year?
Run that one past the Big Guy, won't you?