On March 5, longtime Channel 5 meteorologist Rebecca Miller learned that her contract would not be renewed. She was kind enough to suffer through a Q&A with me. After the jump, you can learn, among other things, how much weight she plans to lose, where her favorite restaurant in the whole world is, and whether she knows how to make a Tom Collins:
10:57 AM me: trying again
becky: Hey! I’m here now!
10:58 AM me: Look at you. All up in the Interwebs. Extremely proud of you. So you have a few minutes for a Q&A?
becky: Sure…I’m taking all my grad courses on-line, so we have to chat a LOT….I’m doign stuff on the internet I never dreamed of…..ooohhh….
10:59 AM me: I won’t press you to describe these new things you’re doing on the Internet. That might make it tougher to land your next job. Which I’ll get to.
But what grad courses are you taking?
11:01 AM becky: Homeland Security. About a year ago, when things were getting really bad at work, I started exploring other options. We’re from New Orleans, and we all know what happened with Katrina…so I started thinking, “How can I combine a degree in meteorology with media experience? What kind of job would that lead to?” I started with A&M, and they offer grad courses and a program in Homeland security…so I enrolled, got accepted and have started that.
11:02 AM me: Wow. Does that include any training with handguns and so forth?
Because that would be tough to do online, I’d think.
11:03 AM becky: Well, right now, I’m in a homeland security class and an emergency management class….but NEXT semester…it’ll be WMDs!!!
11:04 AM I just got back from N.O. First time since Katrina. I thought the city looked great. Bourbon Street, downtown, the area up St. Charles to Tulane, etc. — you couldn’t tell that anything had happened.
11:05 AM becky: Yeah…the Quarter didn’t flood, and the uptown area didn’t get much more than wind damage. If I’d known you were going, I could have told you were to go to see houses that are still standing, untouched since they were sitting in 12 feet of water. There are literally tens of thousands of them.
uhh…..that’s “Where to go”
11:06 AM me: We stayed with family. They kept threatening to take us on “a tour of destruction.” Instead, we went to The Commander’s Palace.
11:07 AM becky: My favorite restaurant in the world!!!! We waited and waited for it to open..I think it just opened back in December…
11:08 AM me: Okay, now let’s get to this business at Channel 5. You worked there for, what, 17 years? Harold Taft actually hired you?
11:10 AM becky: Yes..Harold hired me back in 1991. Gave me a test. He asked me the Bernoulli equation. I told him, basically, what it was…and he said, “No, I want the actual equation.” I said, “Man, I don’t remember that!” He said, “Oh, Bernoulli is rolling over in his grave.” I said, “Better him than us!”…and we got along great after that. He had me do a couple more map analyses to make sure I knew what I was doing, they had me do an audition tape, we went to lunch and that was that. They offered me a job by the end of the week…
11:11 AM me: And then that bastard Brian Hocker canned you unceremoniously. Or was it Susan Tully who swung the axe? Which one do you hate more?
11:13 AM becky: No…Brian is just the station spokesperson. He’s a great guy. Susan was my actual boss. I just happened to stumble upon a boss who didn’t like my work. When my contract was up, it provided her the opportunity to put someone in there that she did like. She said my work had gone downhill since 2004, and now that my contract was up, she thought it best that we part ways. I said, “OK”. That was about it.
11:15 AM me: What does that mean, “your work went downhill”? Do they keep a line for people in your work? Was your scoring average down? Were you not rebounding the ball as well?
11:17 AM becky: I have absolutely NO idea what that meant. I don’t recall doing anything particularly poorly since 2004….but bosses don’t really need a reason to get rid of you at the end of a contract. Once the contract’s up, that’s it.
11:18 AM me: It’s a tough business. But part of you HAS to be happy about having to get up early, right? You were let go March 5. How many morning have you slept in?
Sorry. Happy about NOT having to get up early.
11:19 AM becky: Yes…I was just telling someone I don’t have to get up at 2am anymore. That’s awesome. I have slept in every single morning since the 5th. Today, I got up at 8am!!!! That’s waaaay late for me, even for weekends!
11:20 AM me: 2 am? Good grief. Which means now you can actually go out and, say, eat dinner at a restaurant during the week, having a couple of highballs and so forth, and not worry about only getting four hours of sleep.
11:21 AM becky: Totally. When you work the morning shift, your body does not know what do to. You have to eat breakfast at 3am…if you can…dinner by 4pm….it really screwed me up and has done the same for a lot of my coworkers. Michael Scott…who was there before Brendan…put on 80 pounds working that shift! I’ve put on 25, which is a lot for someone only 5’2″. I’m looking forward to getting skinny again.
11:22 AM me: Will you send us pictures?
11:23 AM becky: Ha-ha….of course….or we could just go get dinner and hi-balls…geez I haven’t heard that term since I was bartending on Bourbon Street!!!
me: Wait, wait. You tended bar on Bourbon Street? That is spectacular. Where?
11:25 AM becky: Yeah…back when I was in college. It was only during Christmas break…during the Sugar Bowl (bleh)…and until I had to go back to college. It was a club called 711….one block past where you turn to go to Pat O’Brien’s. I’m not sure it’s even still there. But we poured drinks and learned how to do it as we did it!!! Someone would order something, and we’d say “what’s in that?” and the customer would tell us. They could have totally been making it up, and we never knew. But it was fun.
11:28 AM me: Okay, screw Bernoulli. Here’s a real test. What’s in a Tom Collins? No fair using the Internet.
becky: Have NO idea. Ha-ha! Guess my bartending contract won’t be renewed, either!!!!
11:29 AM me: Yeah, I’ve noticed your work has gone downhill, Becky.
Listen, thanks for doing this.
becky: HA! Sure..I’m not sure how insightful I’ve been. They never really tell you why you’re being told to leave work…wish they did!
11:30 AM me: Do let us know when you can what’s next. Any chance we’ll see you on the Dallas airwaves anytime soon?
11:31 AM becky: I’ve had a few stations call and some options present themselves, so we’ll see. Hey…Tammy just called and she said hello!
11:32 AM me: That scamp. Tell Tammy the next time she’s out drinking with Alexa Conomos, I want more pictures.
11:33 AM becky: You know how much trouble she got over that picture???? Unreal.
11:34 AM me: Oh. No. I didn’t know she got in trouble. I’m so sorry for posting it. And for linking to it again, when I post this Q&A.
Cheers, Becky. We’ll stay in touch.
becky: Sounds great, Tim! Nice talking with you!