Today is 42 years in the making. Steve Cannon, Eastern Idaho’s Weatherman, will retire from broadcast television.
He’s always lived in Eastern Idaho, besides a two-year mission in Great Britain for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He graduated from Idaho Falls High School and attended Ricks College. His first job in broadcasting was at KVIK (now KBYI) at Ricks College in September 1970. “I loved it,” he said.
Cannon started in TV as the weekend news anchor on March 7, 1977, while a student at Idaho State University. KID’s news director called up the ISU broadcasting department to find a replacement. Cannon’s instructor called him into his office and asked him how fast he could get to Idaho Falls. “I called my wife,” he reminisced, “She came screaming down to Pocatello from Idaho Falls. Picked me up. I interviewed on a Wednesday and Saturday night I was anchoring the weekend news on Channel 3.”
He never left.
Cannon went on to be a reporter, public affairs director and weather forecaster. It’s as a forecaster where people in Eastern Idaho have gotten to know Cannon so well. Often, these days, when you watch TV news you’ll notice the forecaster is a meteorologist. Cannon did not earn that degree but he has earned the trust of viewers over his four decades on the air.
“Over the years, we have subscribed to an awful lot of consultants and they tell us people are much more interested in what you know
Is he always right? No forecaster is right all the time. He says the average is more like eight out of ten and it really depends on where you live. It could be raining in Idaho Falls, but sunny in Pocatello.
As much as people recognize Cannon for his forecasting, he’s just as recognized for his community service. From telethons for Primary Children’s Hospital to Rotary Club president, he’s touched a lot of lives. He was a founding member of the Idaho Falls Citizen’s Watch Patrol. He volunteers each week and hopes to do more work with the patrol in retirement. One of his favorite things to do, however, is to go into classrooms to talk about the weather.
“I love that!” he said. “I love going into the classroom, I always have. In fact, over the last week when it was announced I was retiring, I’d get comments on social media saying, ‘I remember when you came to my third-grade class, I’m 40 now. I remember when you came to my fifth-grade class. I just love that.”
Few would disagree that Cannon is a local celebrity - a title he doesn’t like. He said he doesn’t really know how to deal with being recognized wherever he goes. “I come to work and do a job just like the mechanic who fixes your car, or the plumber who fixes your pipes, or the chap that lays the floor tile,” he said. “I do a job. The only difference between what I do for a living, and what the other 99.99% of what people do for a living is that people watch me. It’s no more important than any other job on the planet it’s just that I have to stand in front of people to do it.”
He didn’t want any of the attention he’s receiving with word of his retirement announced this week. He was prepared to write a simple thank you note at the end of his final forecast. His wife and daughter persuaded him to do more.
He said he hopes people don’t see him as a celebrity but as a friend “I can live with that.” He means it too. He’s quick to avert attention to other people (just watch the videos of people wishing him well). He’ll engage anyone in a conversation. He also keeps wrapped Dad’s root beer barrel candies in his pocket to give out to children (or reporters) who visit with him.
His plans for retirement include spending more time with family, with the Citizen’s Watch Patrol, and volunteering in the Idaho Falls Temple. “But really, I don’t have anything chiseled in stone,” he said. “I’m putty in the Master’s hand.”
Cannon will have a reception at the Rose Shop at 615 1st St. in Idaho Falls from 5 – 7 p.m. He’ll do a live forecast during the 5:30 newscast. His final forecast will happen at 9 p.m. for the Fox affiliate, which will replay at 10 p.m. on KIDK Eyewitness News 3.