DERRY — He’s been called a cult icon and a local superhero. Some think his name is synonymous with the weather.
Weather personality Al Kaprielian was a special guest at the Derry Village Rotary Club meeting last week, offering members his unique way of describing the weather patterns he loves in his “high pressure” pitched, exuberant voice.
Kaprielian’s “Weather With Al” segments disappeared from local television when he and other staff members at Shooting Star Productions, formerly local station WNDS, were laid off. He had worked at WNDS for more than 25 years.
The station was then purchased by former U.S. Senate candidate and businessman Bill Binnie, who took ownership of the A Street Station in 2011, renaming the station WBIN-TV. The new station owners decided to bring Kaprielian’s unique weather personality back to the airwaves a year later.
Kaprielian said his job is important.
“We save lives,” he said. “We protect lives first, then property (with weather forecasts). We put out advisories.”
WBIN-TV general manager Gerry McGavick said he was happy to have Kaprielian back.
“One of the best decisions we made was to bring Al back to TV,” McGavick said. “We’re very happy to have him back.”
Kaprielian, a Natick, Mass. native, loved weather from the start.
“I would watch the weather at home, then would give the weather report to the sixth graders in Natick,” he said.
Kaprielian came to Derry to work in local television in 1983, hired soon after college, and began bringing the local forecast to Derry and the region in his unique way.
The often animated updates on the day’s latest weather turned him into a hero among many, prompting thousands of Facebook friends and online fan clubs, YouTube videos, ringtones for cell phones and holiday ornaments.
In addition to his weather reports, Kaprielian became a community fixture in local events like holiday parades, school events and fundraisers. He also mentored youth who were interested in meteorology.
For many years, Kaprielian took his place of honor in the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce holiday parade, walking solo through the streets of Derry, shaking hands and signing autographs along the way.
Now that’s he’s back, Kaprielian said he doesn’t want to talk about the past, only the future and what weather patterns might be coming.
McGavick said Kaprielian is an original.
“I don’t think I’ve met anyone who loves anything more than this man loves the weather,” McGavick said.