After 26 years in news- 16 of those at TMJ4 News- Meteorologist Brian Gotter has made the decision to retire from the world of TV for a full-time role with the MACC Fund!
What went into his decision?
WTMJ’s Libby Collins had the chance to talk with Gotter on this week’s episode of WTMJ Conversations.
Listen in the player above.
A portion of the conversation was transcribed below, courtesy of eCourt Reporters, Inc.
LIBBY COLLINS: So, here you are, finally, at the station that you watched growing up.
BRIAN GOTTER: Right.
LIBBY COLLINS: And you spent 16 years here, there’s so many stories I’m sure you could tell, but the question on a lot of people’s minds would be, “Brian, why would you leave? Why would you leave TV?”
BRIAN GOTTER: I think I feel like I’ve done everything, it’s just maybe leave on top. I just turned 50, it’s not a midlife crisis. It’s changed a lot, that’s not — it’s not a bad thing, it’s just changed a lot. And, I just said, I’m just — I am what you see. And I think that’s why I like that morning guy in Oklahoma City so much, he was who he was on TV. And that’s what I am. People are like, when they see me out and about, they are like, “You are just as goofy in person.” I’m like, “I’m the guy next door who will just sit there and have a beer with you and will laugh. I’ll make — I’ll try to make you laugh.”
And weather is my passion, but then I also found another passion, and that’s the MACC Fund. And it all happened the first month I started working here. The station asked me to fill in for Lance Allan at the Bucks’ MACC Fund game. He couldn’t do it, he usually did it. I said, sure, I’ll go. And that night I did, stood on their court, shaking like a leaf. I remember still a little shy — you still always have some shyness in you — standing next to Johnny Mac, the Buck, the original Buck, and then they took me up to a suite. And I thought it was going to be corporate people, you’d have to shake hands; it was families, families who had kids that survived that were there and families that had lost children. And my daughter at the time was 1. My wife and I drove home that night with goosebumps and said, “Wow, we have to do more.” And it’s been my motto. I want to do more. And I’ve told that to Johnny Mac for 16 years. So, I kept doing more events with them. I started my own events with them. I have my bowling event that’s been going on 11 years now, there’s some golf events I do. And every time I see him — and he’s a dear friend of mine — I want to do more. And he always says, “You know, people say that, but many don’t.” And I go, “But I want to do more.”
And so, then he put me on the board. And I was like, “You put me on the board of directors of the MACC Fund? This is great.” A couple years later he’s like, “I want you to be chair.” And then in Johnny Mac style at lunch, I go, “Why me?” He’s like, “Because there’s nobody else.”
But I just — it’s been a passion, and people ask, “Do you have a child or know somebody that had cancer?” No, I just have a big heart, and I want to help more. And when I — he offered me the chairman of the board role, I said, “I’m honored, but I don’t want it if it means I can’t be on staff.” Because I’ve been talking about this for years with him, I would like to be on staff someday. He said, “You’d really give up your TV gig to be on staff?” And I said, “If it’s for your cause, I would.” And it was kind of talked about a little bit before COVID, and timing wasn’t right. COVID put a halt on everything. And then about a year ago, we started talking about it again and my contract was coming up here at the end of September, it all kind of was playing out, and I said, “It’s time.” My wife’s like, “Are you sure?” And I said, “I’m done. I’ve done everything in television.” The holidays — my daughter is going to be a senior, and, you know, it’s not like I’m digging ditches or roofing a house, those people work hard, but we also work hard in a different way, it’s demanding in other ways. I always felt bad for TV people when they were working on Christmas, and I’m sitting in my — and I’ve been one of them for 26 years, and I miss a lot in the evenings with them.
LIBBY COLLINS: What’s your role with the MACC Fund going to be?
BRIAN GOTTER: It’ll be Major Gifts Officer. So, they’ve never really done that before, they’ve — 80-some-percent of their money comes from the events that they hold, like my bowling event, and they have over a hundred events a year. Now they want someone to go out there and ask businesses of all size. I’ve asked them, “What is your definition of a major gift? Does it have to be $100,000? Can it be $500?” And they said, “Whatever somebody wants to donate to your cause, that’s what we want.”
So, I’m going to try to hit up every business or individual that — whatever they want to give. I’m starting a campaign to try to raise $50 million in five years, because in five years, the MACC Fund will be 50 years old. They’ve raised 80 million in 45 years. I’m going to try to raise 50 million in five.
LIBBY COLLINS: That is — that’s a very daunting role.
BRIAN GOTTER: Because we’re this close to curing cancer. We’re that close. But it’s that last stretch, like anything, a marathon, whatever — I don’t run — but we’re that close, but it’s going to be that difficult. But the doctors, I think, will have a cure, a healthy cure; not pumping these kids full of poison with chemo and stuff, but a cure where they don’t get these late effects. Like, I’ve known kids that are cured of cancer, but 20 years later then have terrible side effects from all the chemo and the radiation. They’re going to find a way. And they’re close to finding a way to use your own immune system to beat this cancer, and they need more money, and that’s what we’re going to do.
So, we’re going to have new campaigns, and I’m going to be around knocking on doors and saying — people are — they say, “We’re going to miss you on TV,” well, you’re going to get sick of seeing me begging for money.