John Bolaris: ‘I let myself down’

They say it’s always darkest before sunrise. Well, it’s been dark for me personally for close to two years now since I lost my dream job back on Dec. 24, 2011.

I was in someone’s living room dating all the way back since 1987. I was hired by CBS-TV in NYC on October 8, 1987. I was raw and very young—truly a kid among television news giants. Names you might or might not know include Jim Jensen, Warner Wolf, Michelle Marsh, Mike Snider, Jane Velez- Mitchell and Brian Williams just to name a few.

Actually my weekend partners were Brian Williams, Jane Velez-Mitchell and Reggie Harris. What a thrill. A dream doing what I always wanted to do growing up as a little boy in Long Island.

To everyone who knew me, I was destined to be TV weatherman. I’d pray every night, draw my weather maps trying to predict if the snow storm would hit. My only electronic in my room was an all-weather band radio so I could track thunderstorms and hurricanes. I would take my bike and be a storm chaser as I would try to beat thunderstorms to a particular location, so I could snap a picture.

I took over radio programming at a local radio station called WALK-FM when Hurricane Gloria was approaching . The program director thought I was nuts, said, “you’re on your own” and left me with a hot mic. I started forecasting away until the police ask me to leave the building as it sat right on the Great South bay.

I always wanted to make my parents proud, so when my dad passed away on Oct. 8, 1983, I buried him in a CBS-TV t-shirt underneath his suit. My dad was a huge CBS news fan and thought that I should be doing weather for them. I  would laugh, although I would dream it.

I was just a dorky, skinny, shy teenager. On Oct 8, 1987, I signed my very first TV contract for CBS-TV, the biggest thrill of my life, I had no agent, I was working radio and had an opportunity to fill in on a local Cablevision show called News12. Eric Ober, who at the time was the president of CBS news, was watching me on News12. He called me a raw talent with a ton of potential. “Let’s take a chance on this kid who doesn’t even own a suit.” Well, the rest is history.
I thought I was indestructible in this industry, so at times I simply marched to my own beat. Well, there are rules to be followed by everyone and I ignored that. I separated myself from corporate rules and paid a dear price. I lost what I worked all my life for—living my dream.

I let myself down, my bosses down, but most of all I let my daughter down. I apologize, waiting for the sun to rise once again. I promise I won’t let you down.


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