Fritz Coleman feted by Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters for comedy & community

Among Fritz Coleman’s friends (from left) NBC4 President and General Manager Steve Carlston, PPB’s President Shotgun Tom Kelly, honoree Fritz Coleman, groundbreaking news anchor and best-selling mystery author Kelly Lange, and NBC4 Anchors Colleen Williams and Chuck Henry. (Photo credit Roxanne Schorbach)

 NBC4’s longtime much-loved weatherman Fritz Coleman is always the funniest person in the room. He has a voice that makes you smile when he reports on the very predictable “early morning low clouds and fog, hazy afternoon.”

So you could feel the love in the room of broadcast professionals when Fritz Coleman was honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters (PPB) at the organization’s latest luncheon.

 Coleman is very clear about his job with NBC4 for 37 years. “I am not a meteorologist, I am a weathercaster which means I have a BS in BS.” The Navy veteran is also an accomplished comedian with multiple Tonight Show appearances to his credit. If you want to enjoy his brilliant stand-up you can catch Coleman at The Icehouse Comedy Club in Pasadena. Plus Fritz’ commitment to the community has him constantly traversing Los Angeles to support worthwhile causes. And he’s proud to be Toluca Lake’s Honorary Mayor.

 So when PPB’s President Shotgun Tom Kelly presented Fritz Coleman with the prestigious Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award there was a packed ballroom at the Airtel Plaza Hotel at Van Nuys Airport on June 14, 2019. PPB members heard stories from Coleman’s friends and colleagues including NBC4 President and General Manager Steve Carlston, NBC4 Anchors Chuck Henry and Colleen Williams, Tim Conway Jr., David Sheehan, and Kelly Lange. They all had funny stories about the funnyman’s broadcasting career and more.

 Looking over the clips PPB’s Jhani Kaye put together from Coleman’s career, Carlston noted, “I didn’t think he could be skinnier. He brings sunshine to our lives everyday. He’s generous with his time for NBC4’s  holiday ‘Wishing Tree,’ granting wishes for people. Fritz has a wish too, to never say ‘coastal eddy’ again.”

PPB’s luncheon dais. Front Row, L-R: Tim Conway, Jr.; PPB President “Shotgun Tom” Kelly; Honoree Fritz Coleman and David Sheehan. Back Row, L-R: Chuck Henry, Kelly Lange, Colleen Williams and Steve Carlston. (Photo credit Roxanne Schorbach)

 Chuck Henry and Colleen Williams told everyone, “Let’s talk about Fritz Coleman the athlete. He rides his bike around town every day. Come on, you know he doesn’t get that svelte figure standing in front of a green screen.”

 After a rambling giggle-inducing bit by David Sheehan, Fritz’ treasured friend Kelly Lange quipped, “I always want to follow Sheehan.” The first woman to be a nightly news anchor in LA, who went on to become a best-selling mystery author, Lange gushed about being “Fritzy’s dear friend for 36 years, and I want to tell him about his plans going forward—the best is yet to come.”

 Tim Conway Jr., top-rated KFI talkshow host and son of the late great Tim Conway, proved he inherited his dad’s funny bone when he made fun of the Pioneer Broadcasters and his pal Fritz. “Fritz predicted last Monday would be 85-degrees in Burbank. It was 105 in Burbank, he missed it by 20-degrees. That’s like introducing my one child to Fritz and him saying ‘one child, I thought you had 21 children.’ It’s a big miss.” Conway Jr. observed, “Fritz is a lot like my father. He’s a terrific dad, has a great sense of humor, and loved by many.”

PPB presidents (back row) Chuck Southcott, Shotgun Tom Kelly, Chuck Street; (front row) Tom Kennedy, Jeanne DeVivier Brown, and Alan Perris. All legends in the broadcasting field. (photo by MargieBarron)

 The entire PPB crowd was laughing when President Shotgun Tom Kelly handed Coleman his award, and Fritz complimented the radio broadcaster’s iconic voice saying, “I could drink a testosterone smoothy three times a day and never have a set of pipes like Shotgun.”

 Fritz was hilarious as he thanked all his NBC4 coworkers at two tables, warning, “If there’s a freeway chase in the next 20 minutes these people will scamper out of here like rats in a Joel Grover exposé.”

 Newsman Patrick Healy was on hand to do a feature segment on Coleman for the NBC4 News that night. Also among the VIPs attending were comedian Roberta Kemp, Sarah Purcell, Willie Tyler, Diane Schuur, Louise Palanker, Patty Weaver, Art Alisi, and Lois Travalena. Plus a gathering of former PPB Presidents: Tom Kennedy, Chuck Southcott, Chuck Street, Alan Perris, and the Chairman of the Board, an amazing lady, Jeanne DeVivier Brown, who received an ovation from the PPB members for her decades of devotion to the organization.

Herman Rush (Photo credit Roxanne Schorbach)

 Herman Rush, a pioneer in production and TV distribution starting his impressive career in 1951, was inducted into the PPB’s Diamond Circle. Rush reflected the tremendous history that has been seen by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters.

Next luncheon, a pioneer broadcaster will be honored Sept. 20, 2019 at the AirTel Plaza Hotel, Van Nuys. For more info about PPB membership and attending the luncheons go to

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.