Sunny and hot with a chance of barking: Meteorologist and his dog forecast together

A country superstar talked John Fredericks out of a career in teaching.

The weather anchorman was a college student majoring in history and preparing to follow his family into education when he took a part-time job as a disc jockey at a Bakersfield, Calif., radio station. Station owner and country legend Buck Owens took Fredericks under his wing and advised him to find a more lucrative field. So Fredericks changed his major to communications, and before long, he was forecasting weather on television.

After an inauspicious beginning — during his first broadcast, he "did the whole Albert Brooks ‘Broadcast News’ thing, with sweat pouring down my face and huge pools of sweat underneath my arms" — Fredericks’ weather career took off.

Along the way, Fredericks happened upon his best buddy and eventual career trademark, a yellow Labrador retriever named Jordan. Jordan went live with Fredericks for the better part of a decade, until the dog died in August, drawing 600 people to his funeral and generating $30,000 in donations to the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Today, Fredericks has a new on-air sidekick, a 4-month-old Lab named Little Jordan (L.J.).

Question: What possessed you to start bringing your dog to work?

Answer: When I got Jordan, I was living with a roommate, and we were renting a house in La Conchita (Calif.). When the owners found out there was a dog in the house, they said, "One of you has to go." I said, "No, both of us have to go," and we spent the next two weeks living on the floor of the radio station I was working at because we couldn’t find a place to live.

Then on the weekends, because I didn’t have anything else to do with him, I’d take him up to the television station in Santa Barbara where I was doing the weather. Almost immediately, Jordan started coming on the air with me there. The news director thought it was cool.

Here’s this weather guy with this big, lovable Lab, and that’s his sidekick. When I got here, bringing him to work was a no-brainer. There was a dog run out back for (Channel 3 owner Jim Rogers’) dogs.

Jordan didn’t really spend a lot of time on-air with me here for the first year or so. Then, after a while, when I’d go out on assignment, they’d say, "Why don’t you take Jordan out with you?"

Question: Why did they want you to do that?

Answer: I think because I was such an animal lover. We started hosting animal-adoption segments and Jordan started making more cameo appearances. There was never any decision that said, "You guys are a team." It just happened that way over a period of time. We’ve gone through management changes, and some people have gotten it and some haven’t. But after Jordan died, I think everybody here said, "Whoa, this dog really meant something to this community." The news director literally thought the phone systems were going to shut down. We received more than 3,000 e-mails and well more than 1,000 pieces of correspondence.

Question: Why do you think there was such an outpouring after Jordan’s death?

Answer: I think he touched a nerve with people, particularly animal lovers.

He became a symbol for two reasons: One, it was validation that you’re not crazy to love your animal the way you love any other family member, because pets are members of the family. And he became a symbol for animal rights, of striking out against abuse, neglect and homelessness.

I wish I could tell you the number of times someone came up to me and said, "I really wasn’t a pet person, but when I saw that connection between you and your dog, I got myself an animal, and now I get it too."

Let’s face it, with pets and kids, it’s pretty hard to go wrong. But because he was on television almost every day and became a bona fide broadcast personality, I think people just thought that was the coolest thing in the world. This guy gets to bring his dog to work every day, and the dog is on television with him.

Question: Who was more popular, you or the dog?

Answer: Jordan, by far. People just like animals. When we would check the traffic on our Web site, Jordan’s section was always either the first or second most-visited area. The only close competition was (anchor) Kim Wagner.

Question: There’s now a national Take Your Dog to Work Day, and a 2006 survey showed 43 percent of workers would take pay cuts of 5 percent to 10 percent in exchange for bringing their pet to work. Do you have any tips for someone who wants to broach the subject with their boss?

Answer: It has to come from the top down. Find out whether the owner, CEO or whoever is pulling the strings is a pet person. If that person doesn’t have pictures of pets in the office, or if they don’t bring their dog to work, it could be an uphill battle. There’ll always be legal issues: What if someone is bitten, what about people who have allergies. But clearly, we are becoming a more pet-friendly nation. Studies have shown that pets lift your spirits, calm you down and put a smile on your face. I firmly believe allowing that little perk in the work place would also increase productivity.

Question: Let’s talk about the weather. Why have you stayed with it? What do you enjoy about it?

Answer: I love the weather because you’re trying to predict future events, which is impossible to do with any absolute certainty. That’s the fun of it. Guessing storm systems when no one else does gives me an incredible amount of satisfaction. When that newscast is over, there’s no immediate, tangible evidence of what you’ve done. It’s not like building a house or repairing a car. Other than the taped segments, what you have to show for it is the impact you have on the community. Having a father come up to me and tell me, "I was having trouble explaining to my son why the moon appears closer at times, and you explained it to me and now I’m a hero to my son" — that’s very gratifying.

Question: Would you consider moving to a market with more varied or more interesting weather?

Answer: The weather in Las Vegas is harder to predict than people understand because we have so many microclimates here. We live in a rain shadow (because of the mountains), so predicting rain, snowfall and particularly wind can be challenging. By far, the thing people complain most about locally is the wind, and I pride myself on being fairly knowledgeable in forecasting windy conditions. People seem to respect that. I’m also very confident in my ability to forecast severe weather during the monsoon season.

Question: What are your career goals? Where do you see your career headed?

Answer: My goal is to continue to work in this community, educating people about humane causes, talking to kids and trying to be a positive role model. The only thing that’s going to allow me to do that is if I can retire at Channel 3. That is my goal and that is my dream, to retire at Channel 3 with my head held high and my credibility and professional integrity intact.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at or (702) 380-4512.

Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like