Another broadcasting pioneer is exiting stage left and this piece of news surprised us all when word got out on Tuesday. News Channel 13 morning meteorologist Neal Estano will deliver his final forecasts on Thursday as he will complete a decade of service at the NBC affiliate which serves the Berkshires and neighboring capital region of New York.

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Neal tallied over 35 years of bringing his accurate weather forecasts to small screens in our listening area. Viewers might remember he was co-host of the premiere local morning news show on WRGB (CBS 6) with Jack Aernacke appropriately titled "First News" and it was only 30 minutes in length. This format was ideal as it was a precursor to the network TV talk shows that began at 7am. Lately, morning news on TV has stretched anywhere between 2 and 4 and a half hours. That is far fetched, if you ask me. Enough said!

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WNYT began their initial morning broadcast in the late 80's around the same time as CBS 6 made their debut. The late, great Norm Sebastian provided the wake-up weather forecast in that same Menands studio. Norm left us way too soon when he passed away in 2000 after a battle with cancer. His memory remains eternal and everlasting. The current chief meteorologist, Paul Caiano was Norm's successor before heading to prime time as he shared weather duties with the legendary Bob Kovachick, who retired this past summer.

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Neal stepped up to the plate as he manned the weather office during the weekend and filled in during the week. When my near and dear friend Benita Zahn anchored the noon show, I was lucky to watch Neal in person doing what he does best and another friendship was formed. Before his return in 2013, he worked in real estate up in Saranac Lake, New York (one of the Adirondack's "ice boxes" as it gets really cold up there during the winter months). Upon his return to TV, Neal took his place on the early shift and continued bringing us top quality forecasts on the NBC affiliate.

The station's News Director would not further comment on Estano's departure as we are prepared to say farewell to another talent in the realm of television news. So far, Neal has not announced what is up next on his agenda. We'll keep you posted.

BOTTOM LINE: Jim Kambrich, Benita Zahn and Bob Kovachick retired. Jerry Gretzinger left the TV biz for other opportunities. Now, Neal steps down, much to our surprise, therefore ALL the established talent that graced NC 13's airwaves has now left a void in our daily TV viewing habits here in the Berkshires. It will truly become a whole new ball game on Bob Kovachick way. Stay tuned!

(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of

(Photos of Neal Estano, courtesy of his Neal Estano Weather & More Facebook page. WNYT logo on featured image, courtesy of WNYT, NewsChannel 13's Facebook page)

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