He was not the stereotypical TV weather personality with the blow-dried look and one catchphrase after another. No, Bob DeBardelaben was bald and didn’t have much to blow or dry.
But he delivered the weather with an affability and professionalism that set a standard in the Triangle. He was vastly popular and much called upon for charity events, in particular for fundraising for cystic fibrosis, which affected two of his own children.
DeBardelaben, long retired but still recognized around the area, died Monday at 88.
His career at WRAL ran about 30 years in one capacity or another, which is not exceptional at a local station that always has prided itself on investing in on-air personalities who connect with their community.
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And DeBardelaben certainly did. He was, it seemed, everywhere, always willing to sign on for an appearance that might help draw a crowd to a worthy cause.
Former anchorman Charlie Gaddy, another WRAL personality who fit that mold, remembers that DeBardelaben always had a popularity rating, called a Q rating, that was “off the charts.” People were comfortable approaching him on the street, and he took good-natured ribbing about errant weather forecasts, which he based on the National Weather Service.
He had a sonorous voice and a great, warm smile that made viewers feel optimistic about a rainy spell. Bob DeBardelaben was not putting on an act; he didn’t have one face for the camera and another off stage. People thought he was a genuinely nice guy. Because he was.