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Ned Perme, Meteorologist

Ned Perme

Listen to Learn:

  • How the television industry has changed over the past four decades
  • The lure of Little Rock
  • The nuances of abstract art

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Ned Perme received his B.S. degree in communications from Springhill College in Mobile, Alabama in 1977. He continued his education in meteorology at Mississippi State University where he was certified as a broadcast meteorologist by the Department of Geoscience and Meteorology.

Perme began his television career in 1977 in Mobile, Alabama, and in 1984, found his way to Arkansas, joining the KATV Weather team as chief meteorologist. Among his many achievements, Perme is a fourteen-time recipient of the Best Weathercast Award given by the Associated Press.

In addition to his nightly weather forecasts, Ned was known for his spirited Friday Night Tailgate segments during high school football season.

"Ned’s legacy spans generations,” said KATV News Director Nick Genty. "He completed his career as the state’s most experienced television meteorologist and one of Arkansas’ most beloved TV personalities.” KATV anchorman, Chris May, tweeted, “He's the single most important and impactful figure in the history of Arkansas broadcasting.”

An accomplished pianist, Ned was awarded the Heart of Arkansas Award from the Department of Tourism, and was nominated for a regional Emmy Award in the performing arts category for writing the song “Christmastime in Arkansas Again.” As the composer, Ned also received the Edward R. Murrow Award for best Music Video. His first CD, “Songs for the Season” a collection for Christmas, raised over $50,000 for the National Kidney Foundation of Arkansas, and the American Heart Association. The Ned Perme Band still performs throughout the state.

What you didn’t know… Ned is a featured artist at The Art Group Gallery. His oil paintings are breathtaking. He is a man of many talents.


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Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com


EPISODE 143

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:08.8] G: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider’s view into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people. Subscribe to our podcast wherever you like to listen by searching Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy. Also, you may simply like flaganbaner.com’s Facebook page to watch our livestream and receive timely notifications of upcoming guests.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:41.0] KM: You'll quickly recognize the name of my guest today, Mr. Ned Perme, because he's had an on-screen career that spans many decades. This year, the chief meteorologist and nightly weather man who's been coming into our home since 1984 retired from KATV. Ned's achievements include 14-time recipient of the annual best weather cast award by The Associated Press and the Edward R. Murrow Award for best music video.

Yes, Ned is an accomplished pianist having written and composed the song Christmastime in Arkansas Again, which garnered him a regional Emmy Award nomination. His first CD, Songs of the Season, a collection of Christmas songs raised over $50,000 for the National Kidney Foundation of Arkansas and the American Heart Association.

Today this Uber talented weatherman is pursuing another passion. He's making art and displaying his painted works at the art group gallery in West Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a pleasure and a privilege to welcome to the table, the talented and hardworking, retired meteorologist and friendly face, Mr. Ned Perme.

[0:01:54.8] NP: Thank you, Kerry.

[0:01:56.2] KM: Everybody recognizes that voice.

[0:01:58.5] NP: Well, I guess you found all that information online somewhere. I was going to – if I'd known, I’d say just condense it a little bit, but I appreciate it.

[0:02:09.5] KM: You’re welcome. You have been on air for over 40 years. We've just got to know, after 40 years what is it like, life after being a nightly weatherman?

[0:02:24.5] NP: Really wonderful. It really is. I love every single minute of it. A lot of people might think that that's, “Oh, that couldn't be true. You've been on the air for 41 years.” Being on TV was never really that big of a deal with me. It really wasn't something that was very important. It was my job and I loved what I did and I did it well for 41 years. It was changing. The whole business is changing, just like the newspaper business has changed so much and television has changed a lot over the years.

I looked at myself and at my age, and I just said, “You know, I've been so blessed and lucky, because I was able to get in this business at the perfect time and I'm going to be able to get out at the perfect time.” That's –

[0:03:21.7] KM: Why is that? Why is it getting out now the perfect time?

[0:03:24.7] NP: It just is. It's just right. There were a number of reasons. The business is changing a lot when it has changed with the satellites and cable, and so many media sources –

[0:03:41.3] KM: Mergers of large companies.

[0:03:42.7] NP: Mergers. We were bought five years ago by Sinclair Broadcasting, who's the largest owner and proprietor of local television all over the country. They’re huge.

[0:03:54.2] KM: I thought you weren’t supposed to be able to do that. I thought that there was rules about being able to –

[0:04:00.1] NP: Just have so many in a certain market?

[0:04:02.3] KM: Yes.

[0:04:03.0] NP: I think there are still some rules about it, but it has relaxed quite a bit.

[0:04:07.9] KM: Because the fear is propaganda can be – can come from one source and be countrywide and create strife in our country, if you only have a few media sources. You want to keep it very diverse, so that there's never one group that controls what the masses think, because we're sheep. We just follow.

[0:04:30.1] NP: Well, if you look at the way politics is gone over this past 10 years or so, with the media outlets and say Fox News compared to MSNBC, I mean, it's become quite politicized. It really has been. Back when we were younger, it was Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw and John Chancellor, and you were just getting the news. The news really has become slanted and that's just the way things are right now.

[0:05:05.8] KM: It's 24/7. It’s hard to find enough to talk about. They just ramble and get people worked up. You also play the piano and now you're an artist. Before we get to any of that, I want to start at the beginning. You were born and attended college in Alabama, and you have a degree in communications and you're one of the few people that actually know that went to school and got a degree in something that they actually ended up working in for all of their life.

[0:05:29.7] NP: Well, the reason, the biggest thing that helped me so much in the business that I went into and eventually into meteorology is knowing how television worked, is knowing behind the scenes. I started out as working in a studio, running camera and doing lighting and running audio and then directing and directing commercial production and directing newscasts and all that.

[0:05:52.2] KM: During high school? After college?

[0:05:54.7] NP: It was during college and after college. I did internships.

[0:05:57.4] KM: How did you know, going into college that you wanted to work in communications?

[0:06:01.4] NP: At first I didn't. When I first went in, I wanted to – I thought I wanted to be a lawyer.

[0:06:08.3] KM: What?

[0:06:09.8] NP: Well, it's because my father was a lawyer, my grandfather was a lawyer, my uncles were lawyers. There's lawyers in my family. When you grow up, they look at you like, “Well, you're probably going to want to be a lawyer.” Once I started in school, I started taking some of the pre-law prerequisites and I've quickly found out that I was not the least bit interested in it. Then I just fell into a few courses in broadcasting. From that, I just fell in love with that whole thing and knew right away that that's what I wanted to go into.

[0:06:48.0] KM: Is your parents trial lawyers?

[0:06:50.3] NP: No. My father was a corporate lawyer. He started out with the White Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio. White Motor Company went into Freightliner and then basically, he used his law degree like many people do to advance into business. He eventually bought white dealership, which is basically a car dealership for trucks, for big trucks. They have him around Little Rock too, Kenworth and other dealerships. They sell trucks and they service trucks and they have parts departments.

[0:07:30.3] KM: You’re in Ohio.

[0:07:31.8] NP: I was actually born in Cleveland.

[0:07:34.4] KM: Your daddy is an entrepreneur.

[0:07:36.7] NP: Yes.

[0:07:37.4] KM: How did you end up in Alabama?

[0:07:39.7] NP: Because when I was – my family was all in Cleveland, okay, but my family, also my grandfathers, my great uncles, they all went to Notre Dame. This is a long story short. They were big sports people. My great uncle, Don Miller was one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame. I have huge history with Notre Dame, right? I was going to be a lawyer and I was going to go to Notre Dame just like everybody else in my family.

I went and I hated it. There were 30-story dormitories and classrooms full of 250 to 300 people. It just wasn't for me at all. I decided to do the exact opposite. When I was in high school, my English teacher in high school was a priest who I was at a all-boys Catholic school and he accepted the job as director of admissions for Spring Hill College in –

[0:08:51.5] KM: Alabama.

[0:08:52.1] NP: Mobile, Alabama. He got a hold of me and said, because he knew I wasn't happy about wanting to go to Notre Dame. He said, “Why don't you come down here and see this place?” Instead of going to a huge school, like Notre Dame –

[0:09:07.8] KM: Following in a legacy.

[0:09:08.7] NP: Following in legacy, I went the exact opposite and went to a small Jesuit school in Mobile, and at the time had about 900 students in the whole thing. I loved it. I was 50 minutes from the beach, which I love that even more. I just stayed down there and started my career down there at WALA-TV, which is the NBC affiliate. That's how it started.

[0:09:33.1] KM: Your family didn't live in Alabama. You up in Cleveland, Ohio and you ended up in Alabama.

[0:09:38.1] NP: I left when I was 17 and never came back.

[0:09:40.6] KM: Well, now we know why you're a Tanner. Because everybody always talks about your tan. Well, now we know why. You would tie it to your college days.

[0:09:46.6] NP: It goes back a long ways. It's probably catching up with me 50 years of being in the sun.

[0:09:52.4] KM: You look great. Your first job was behind the scenes, you said at these – so you get out of college. You're in communications and you're carrying around those heavy cameras.

[0:10:02.0] NP: Yeah. Oh, yeah. I was working in the studio and that's where I really loved working.

[0:10:10.9] KM: Behind the scenes.

[0:10:13.2] NP: Yeah. Before I went – Back up a second. Before I went into television and got my first job in production and television, I actually was on the radio. I had a job as a DJ.

[0:10:26.6] KM: At the school campus?

[0:10:27.5] NP: No. It was in a regular 5,000-watt radio station in Fairhope, Alabama right across from Mobile, across Mobile Bay.

[0:10:35.8] KM: Did you just apply for the job, or was it word of mouth?

[0:10:37.5] NP: No, I applied for the job. I left. I left school for a semester. My mom and dad weren't real happy about that, but the only way that I knew I was going to get into television is get some experience.

[0:10:51.9] KM: You let go for a semester.

[0:10:53.7] NP: Mm-hmm. I think it might have been two – I think it was just one semester. Maybe have been two semesters and got a job in radio and worked here in radio. Maybe the guys will understand, but I worked the morning show on air from 6:00 a.m. –

[0:11:10.3] KM: Playing music?

[0:11:10.9] NP: Yeah, playing music. The morning DJ from 6:00 to 10:00. Then I would leave and then there would be a talk show like this that the owner of the station did every day. Then it was news at noon. Then another small show. Then I came back at 3 in the afternoon and closed up. Signed off. It was a split shift. It sure was.

[0:11:32.2] KM: You're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with KATV’s retired chief meteorologist and weathermen, Ned Perme, who worked behind the scenes and enjoyed being behind the scenes for TV. I don't know, I guess it was a new show you were behind the scenes on?

[0:11:47.3] NP: Mm-hmm.

[0:11:48.9] KM: Suddenly, you're now out front.

[0:11:51.3] NP: That's what radio did. When I was in radio, before I went into television and was behind the scenes in television, I spent two, two-and-a-half years in radio in Fairhope, Alabama. Went back to school and kept my job in radio. There's a lot of work going on there. I was a full-time student trying to finish up and then I was working in the radio station at the same time. Radio taught me what I love to do, because I enjoyed being on the air. I knew that I was pretty good at it.

When I got into television, I was doing something that I love too. I was doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff. I was directing news and I was doing commercial production and audio and lighting and camera and all that stuff, but I missed being on the air. Then the opportunity came up for me to begin to learn from one of the other weather men at the station how to do it. That's how it started.

[0:13:03.5] KM: He got sick one day and they said, “Hey, Ned. Can you stand in?”

[0:13:07.3] NP: What happened is the guy that I – one of the guys that was there left and went to Orlando, Florida and it created an opening. I started doing weekend weather in Mobile, but I was also still directing the weekend news.

[0:13:23.9] KM: Right in front of the camera and run behind the camera. Run and running –

[0:13:26.0] NP: Pretty much. You know what I would do? I would direct the weekend news, but I also did the weekend weather during the newscast. I taught the audio guy what buttons to push. I went down into the studio and he recorded me doing weather. Then during the news, I would direct the news. When it came time for weather, I would play myself back.

[0:13:53.2] KM: Oh, so it was all recorded.

[0:13:54.1] NP: It was all recorded.

[0:13:54.8] KM: Pre-recorded.

[0:13:55.3] NP: Yeah, but recent – it wasn't like –

[0:13:57.0] KM: Right, that day. An hour before.

[0:13:59.1] NP: Yeah. Yeah, it was maybe 30 minutes before the show started, I would record the weather.

[0:14:05.4] KM: Weather was so different back then. It was a guest. It was like throwing a dart at the board.

[0:14:10.8] NP: Weather was so different when I started here in Little Rock.

[0:14:14.5] KM: No Doppler radar.

[0:14:15.4] NP: It was just antiquated. It was nothing. I went back on YouTube after I retired and looked at some of those old – I mean, you can find so much stuff on YouTube. I looked at some of our old newscasts and things back, even the severe weather outbreak of 1997, or 1999, it still was like, “Oh, my gosh. We didn't have anything back then.”

[0:14:40.9] KM: Did you have Doppler radar?

[0:14:41.7] NP: Yeah, but not when I first started here back in 1984.

[0:14:44.9] KM: When did we get Doppler radar?

[0:14:46.9] NP: Well, we had something like, but it wasn't Doppler. Doppler was not commissioned and didn't come into in existence until probably the late 80s, okay. The Doppler radar went into all the National Weather Service offices, probably I think around 1988 to 90.

[0:15:06.0] KM: They didn't have teleprompters when you started in the business, did they?

[0:15:09.2] NP: They did.

[0:15:10.0] KM: They did or did not?

[0:15:11.1] NP: I've never used the teleprompter. None of the other weather people in this market, or at channel 7, the weather people don't use teleprompters.

[0:15:19.1] KM: I think it's interesting that the TV, the news reporters, they get the anchorman, they get to read the teleprompter and then they turn to the weatherman and it seems like, they're not as important because they're doing the weather, but they actually have the harder job. They have to do lots of research to get ready to go on. They have to ad-lib the whole time. They have to point at a green map on the wall by looking somewhere else.

[0:15:42.6] NP: It's just a blank green screen. It’s all it is.

[0:15:45.4] KM: It's the hardest job there.

[0:15:47.9] NP: There's a learning curve, that's for sure. I enjoyed not having to read a prompter, and I really enjoyed just talking, ad-libbing off the top of my head. Thing about it is people might not understand, at least for me and I think for pretty much everybody, during the afternoon before the shows, before the newscast and the weathercast, we're at computer systems and we're putting together all of this stuff. As we're putting together all of these maps and all of these graphics and all of the stuff, all of that that I've already put together and thought about in my head, and when I see it on the screen and I'm going through it, it triggers what to talk about.

[0:16:30.0] KM: Oh, that makes sense. It's exactly like this show.

[0:16:32.7] NP: Yeah.

[0:16:34.8] KM: You do all the research before. Then when you're live, you're like, “Oh, yeah. That reminds me of all the stuff you read about.” Speaking of that, how did you end up going from Alabama on the TV there as a weatherman, to a job offer in Arkansas and taking it? How did that come about?

[0:16:51.4] NP: The beach.

[0:16:53.6] KM: Disappeared or what?

[0:16:54.7] NP: No.

[0:16:56.4] KM: You left the beach.

[0:16:57.4] NP: No, I know. How I got here?

[0:17:00.1] KM: Yeah, we don't have a beach up here.

[0:17:02.3] NP: I know that, but it happened on the beach. What I mean by that is back in the early 80s, something happened to television stations called microwave trucks. Microwave trucks would allow people to go out live into the community and do news, or weather wherever. As long as they could beam a microwave signal back to the tower and back to the station, they could go live anywhere. Now you don't see them anymore, because nowadays you don't really need microwave trucks. You’re using your phone signal now, so it's very sophisticated. Back in the day, I was able to go out live and do the weather –

[0:17:44.6] KM: On the beach.

[0:17:45.2] NP: On the beach. I would go to the beach, or I would go to where things are happening. What happened was some of the people from channel 7 television here, including I believe Bob Steele, which was the assistant news director at the time, he would travel with his family down to Pensacola, or Fort Walton Beach and turn on the local news and watch me doing the weather out live. They hadn't really started doing that here but, apparently, he liked what he saw and they called and asked me if I would be interested in coming to Little Rock, Arkansas. Now I had just started down there. I said, “Okay, well let me think about it. Okay, I've thought about it. No.”

[0:18:32.5] KM: He said, “Okay, let me make you a bigger offer.”

[0:18:34.6] NP: What happened was I just didn't at the time – I wasn't ready to move. I just started in Mobile and I loved it. I love the beach, where I lived and everything. I was just starting out. I didn't really know anything about Little Rock, Arkansas. It didn't sound like a lot of people, very much of misconception of about what this place is. It's a shame. Anyway, so no I didn't go and they hired another weather guy. He came in for 15 months and he was gone.

The problem channel 7 was having is that they were having trouble keeping weather people. They would come in, they would leave, they would go on. One would become, go to med school, or they just – it was a rotating door of weather people back in the early 80s. When this other guy they hired left, they called me again 15 months later and went, “Are you sure you wouldn't mind just taking a look at this place?” I went, “Okay, I think I'll look at it.”

One reason why I looked at it is because my main competition in Mobile, Alabama was the weather guy on channel 5. I was on channel 10. He was my main competition. Well, he got out of the weather business and went into promotion and lo and behold, 15 months later he's my boss. He's my news director. My main competition was now my boss, so that's when I went, “Maybe I'll just go look at this job in Little Rock.” I came here, and very simply, I just loved the place.

[0:20:26.1] KM: Really? What did you love about it?

[0:20:26.8] NP: Yeah, I really did. It was just a bigger city than I thought it was going to be and it just had beautiful symphony orchestra and it had the Arkansas Ballet and it just – not that I'm crazy about that stuff, but I liked the fact that this was a sophisticated city. I didn't realize it. Many people don't. Many people think it's backwards, I hate to say that. I loved what it looked like. I loved the television station. I could tell that they really wanted me to come to work for –

[0:21:03.9] KM: That's so sexy when people really want you and they really want you to come to work there. It's hard not to say yes.

[0:21:09.0] NP: Yeah. They made it hard not to.

[0:21:11.6] KM: I mean, everybody wants to be appreciate and wanted. I mean, you know. You wore many, many hats. Tailgate parties at high school.

[0:21:22.4] NP: Yeah. I did that for almost 30 years, 29 years. I would go to all the high school games and just root with the cheerleaders and rev everybody up for that Friday night football game. I loved doing that.

[0:21:37.0] KM: You did that weather from there.

[0:21:39.3] NP: Yeah, for years. That was a lot of fun. They let me keep doing it, even though I was getting older and older. I guess, they figured that grandpas can have school spirit too, so I kept on doing it.

[0:21:51.4] KM: Sometimes they have more, actually, especially your granddaughters out there.

[0:21:54.8] NP: I love doing that.

[0:21:56.9] KM: 14-time recipient of the annual best weathercast award by The Associated Press.

[0:22:03.1] NP: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Very blessed with that. That was just being picked by all of our peers.

[0:22:11.9] KM: That's a wonderful feeling, again.

[0:22:13.8] NP: What happens is people in other markets, other people – channel 7, or channel 11, or channel 4 will submit all kinds of broadcast tapes and all sorts of stuff that other markets will look at. Then they decide who's best in that market.

[0:22:31.5] KM: Then somewhere in your career, you had to become a meteorologist, because that's what – it was originally a weatherman and you actually talked a little bit about this on a previous show, but I don't think our listeners have heard. What year was it that the meteorologist became important?

[0:22:45.6] NP: They pretty much were non-existent. They were just weatherman on TV. The whole thing was so antiquated and there was no technology involved hardly at all. I had a big cardboard map of the United States and I would put clouds on it and draw fronts. It was crazy, but there was –

[0:23:07.5] KM: I forgot about that.

[0:23:08.5] NP: Yeah. There were no meteorologists on TV. They didn't really start coming in until technology started getting a little bit more sophisticated and severe weather was beginning to get more and more important. That's when that happened.

[0:23:25.0] KM: 90s?

[0:23:25.5] NP: I think in 94, I had to go back to school.

[0:23:27.7] KM: What happens when we're having a snow storm and you have to be on air for hours and hours and hours? Do you sleep at the station?

[0:23:36.7] NP: Snow storms aren't as bad as severe weather situations.

[0:23:41.1] KM: Okay. Do you sleep at the –

[0:23:42.3] NP: If there was a snow event, I would go downtown and stay.

[0:23:46.1] KM: Stay in a hotel.

[0:23:47.3] NP: So I could walk to the station. Severe weather events, they're there for long, long periods of time.

[0:23:54.8] KM: We’re talking about tornados.

[0:23:56.1] NP: Yeah.

[0:23:56.9] KM: Let's talk about the weather patterns that have changed, since you are so in the business.

[0:24:02.7] NP: I'm not doing weather anymore.

[0:24:05.0] KM: You are about to do weather. We haven’t had a tornado that I can really think of this year, but New York had one. What do you think about that?

[0:24:14.9] NP: It's not that unusual.

[0:24:16.7] KM: Yeah, I thought it was.

[0:24:18.2] NP: That New York would have a tornado?

[0:24:19.1] KM: Yeah.

[0:24:19.8] NP: It's unusual, but it can't happen. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason. It just depends on what the climate is and what the synoptic factors are involved and where the Jetstream is.

[0:24:32.5] KM: You think the Jetstream is changing?

[0:24:33.7] NP: It all fluctuate – Well, this time of year it retreats well to the north. That's probably why more – if you look at a map of where tornadoes first occur and severe weather occurs, they occur in the belt between Texas, down along the Gulf Coast, Arkansas, Oklahoma. In this time of year, the Jetstream flows a little farther to the north and more of your severe weather occurs in Nebraska, South, North Dakota, Iowa, places like that, and even in through the Ohio Valley where they had a lot of severe weather just a week or so ago.

[0:25:03.9] KM: How about Oklahoma with all this flooding?

[0:25:05.8] NP: Yeah. Well, we're dealing with that now.

[0:25:08.5] KM: Now Arkansas is dealing with it.

[0:25:09.7] NP: Yeah. I think everything is crested pretty much now, and so it's just going to be a very slow process of going down. I always love to play golf down at Rebsamen and be a while before I'm down there playing golf now.

[0:25:22.3] KM: You are not kidding. It is a lake. Rebsamen Golf Course is Rebsamen Lake. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with the KATV’s retired chief meteorologist and weathermen, Ned Perme. We’ll dig deeper into all of the things about him, his music and his art are what we're going to talk about next and if he's got any advice for any upcoming want-to-be meteorologists and on-air personalities. I want to remind everyone, after each show’s airing, a podcast is made available on all popular listening sites and YouTube.

[BREAK]

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[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[0:27:10.0] KM: You're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with KATV’s retired meteorologist and weatherman, Ned Perme, who also happens to be a pianist, who we're going to hear his song that he was nominated for an Emmy Award for. It's called Christmastime in Arkansas Again. Before the break we talked about what it's like to be a meteorologist for 40 years. I forgot all about that you used to take little clouds and stick them on the map and go, “Clouds over here,” and then you'd put a little rain.

[0:27:38.5] KM: We did national news, mostly. I mean, national weather. We talked about what was coming into California. It wasn't much local, except just maybe the forecast at the end. Now, I mean, it's just – we were basically had a three-day forecast back then. Now what is seven, eight, nine, 10-day forecast now. Fairly accurate too.

[0:28:03.0] KM: Oh, very accurate. I'm amazed how accurate it is. We have not talked about, but a lot of people know this about you, because they've seen you. You're a great pianist.

[0:28:12.6] NP: Well, thank you.

[0:28:13.5] KM: You really are. I remember a lot of specials on TV with you. You ever played with the symphony?

[0:28:19.1] NP: No, but I've played with on the Alp. My first CD that I put out I think in 2003, I played with the Symphony Quapaw Quartet, so some of the streams they played on my album. It's actually something that I brought to Arkansas from when I was in Mobile. I did that when I was in Mobile. I would play at the end of the newscast, play Christmas music during Christmas week and it became pretty popular. I brought that here and began doing that here at channel 7.

[0:28:56.8] KM: Just wrap your head around this. When it was stormy weather on the beach, he's out on the beach doing the weather. When it's Christmastime and he's indoors, he's playing the piano at the end of the segment. No wonder, Little Rock wanted you so bad. I would hire you. I would be begging you to come up here and add some –

[0:29:12.0] NP: It was just something that I could do, that I enjoyed. It was something that was different. Whenever you're dealing with Christmas, you're touching people's hearts.

[0:29:21.3] KM: When did you start playing it? Did your mother give you piano lessons as a young child?

[0:29:26.1] NP: I've never taken a piano lesson.

[0:29:28.0] KM: You're one of those?

[0:29:29.7] NP: Unfortunately, or fortunately for me.

[0:29:31.1] KM: Fortunately. Gray over there is shaking his head.

[0:29:36.0] NP: Now, I don't really like to tell young people that, because let's say if I took piano, I probably would be a much better piano player.

[0:29:49.1] KM: Maybe not.

[0:29:50.1] NP: I don't know. The reason that I was happy about not taking piano is because I was able to improvise. By not being stuck to the music and reading the notes and playing the notes on the page, I was able to just go off and do and create –

[0:30:13.2] KM: Free-flowing.

[0:30:14.3] NP: Yeah. Play music and improvise and things like that.

[0:30:17.3] KM: I don't think Elton John reads music.

[0:30:19.2] NP: I don't know.

[0:30:20.6] KM: We'll have to Google that. That's what they make Google for. We are going to play. You wrote Christmastime in Arkansas Again, a song. I think it got you a regional Emmy Award nomination?

[0:30:34.5] NP: Mm-hmm.

[0:30:35.8] KM: Let’s hear a little bit of it now.

[0:30:36.9] NP: Now, this is not me singing, okay?

[0:30:39.2] KM: Do you sing?

[0:30:40.0] NP: No. This was a good, close friend of mine. When I first came to channel 7, he was doing some advertising work for channel 7. He wrote subsequent, came one of the state songs, Oh, Arkansas, Spirit of Arkansas.

[0:30:53.2] KM: Who’s singing? What’s his name?

[0:30:53.9] NP: His name is Terry Rose.

[0:30:55.6] KM: All right, Terry Rose singing with Ned Perme playing.

[0:30:58.0] NP: Me playing.

[Christmastime in Arkansas playing]

[0:31:02.6] NP: This is like Christmas in June.

A cold gray day in the Ozarks. Fireworks burning, sending up sparks. Raising across the winter sky. I always get this feeling with thumbs around this special season. Arkansas and Christmas time. Soon the family will gather, it's great to be together. Oh, how I've missed my mom and pa. The smell of country cookin, don’t go too far looking, because the best is Christmas time in Arkansas.

The snow is dancing is off the pines. It’s a natural state of mind. It's family, it's sharing with our friends. You need only follow your heart right back to the start to Christmas time in Arkansas again.

[0:32:41.1] NP: You can get out anytime.

[0:32:42.8] KM: All right, that's it. That was so good. It brings back a lot of memories. We hear it all the time.

[0:32:51.3] NP: I enjoyed writing the music and –

[0:32:56.6] KM: Did you write the words?

[0:32:57.6] NP: Mm-hmm. Wrote the music and the lyrics.

[0:33:00.4] KM: When I heard, the words I'm listening more intently than I ever have in the past when I've heard that song. Miss the cooking, the southern cooking. You like the southern cooking?

[0:33:09.6] NP: Yeah. I actually tried to watch my weight quite a bit. I'm not a big foodie, to be honest with you. Because television, when I was in TV, it made you – gained – it looked like you’re 10 pounds heavier no TV.

[0:33:28.8] KM: Is that true? I didn’t know if that’s really true.

[0:33:30.4] NP: Yeah, it is true.

[0:33:32.3] KM: You also had a CD, Songs for the Season, a collection of Christmas songs. You raised over $50,000 for the Kidney Foundation of Arkansas and the American Heart Association.

[0:33:43.1] NP: In the next year, I did another CD, Spirit of Christmas.

[0:33:47.4] KM: Are you still writing and composing?

[0:33:49.6] NP: No. No. I did those two CDs and they were wonderful. We distributed them through USA drug and back when they were in existence. It was great, but people don't buy CDs anymore. They just don’t.

[0:34:05.7] KM: They don’t. Are you composing at all of anything? Are you playing the piano?

[0:34:12.2] NP: I actually love playing that song that we just heard with my band every year, so –

[0:34:16.9] KM: Oh, let's talk about your band. What's their name?

[0:34:18.6] NP: The Ned Perme Band.

[0:34:20.7] KM: Imagine that.

[0:34:22.7] NP: No, but we've played – I've been for the last six, probably six years, I've got a group of musicians that I love to play with. They followed me around, so –

[0:34:35.2] KM: What kind of music?

[0:34:35.9] NP: It's country, country music.

[0:34:37.7] KM: Really?

[0:34:38.3] NP: Mm-hmm. We've done a bunch of big fundraisers. We opened and closed the shows at Verizon Arena and the State House Convention Center for Christmas karaoke every year to raise money for youth home. Then we brought Christmas – a really good Christmas show for three years to the Hot Springs Convention Center.

[0:35:05.1] KM: That’s nice.

[0:35:06.4] NP: We would have headliners and a lot of guest artists that would be with us.

[0:35:09.6] KM: You're also an artist.

[0:35:10.6] NP: Mm-hmm.

[0:35:11.4] KM: Let's talk about that. I saw you probably six months ago. I was down at KATV and you were doing the weather for Barry Brandt, he was on vacation, and you whipped out your phone and started showing me pictures of your art and told me you were going to retire soon and you were going to be doing this all the time. I said, “Oh, you've got to come on radio with me.” Let's talk about your art. You're showing at the Art Group?

[0:35:36.5] NP: The Art Group Gallery. I've been an artist for 18 years, so it's not something that has just happened. I started learning and taking instruction about 18 years ago.

[0:35:50.5] KM: From the Art Center?

[0:35:52.3] NP: No. Originally from a place out in West Little Rock called The Mansion. They're not in existence anymore. We were a group of artists that were taking instruction at this place and we were there for a couple of years learning and learning and going at least, I think two or three times a week, I was going to instruction and just learning the whole process and started out in pastels.

Then all of a sudden the business went out and one of the artists moved to Florida, teachers, and the other teacher moved back to Searcy, closed the business. Here all these artists standing around going, “Well now, what do we do?” Because the business just went out and we've just started learning all this good art and how to do it. That's when we formed the Art Group. I was a founding member of the Art Group and the Art Group Gallery, which is now the Art Group LLC. It has morphed from a hobby into a business. That's where we are right now. We've been together for almost 15 years as the Art Group Gallery.

[0:36:56.3] KM: Landscapes? What do you like to do?

[0:36:58.3] NP: We're in our sixth year at the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.

[0:37:03.7] KM: Pleasant Ridge Town Center.

[0:37:05.1] NP: Yeah, between we're Bonefish Grill and Bar Louie and Belk is. It's in that area, right across from Belk.

[0:37:12.3] KM: What's your favorite thing to paint?

[0:37:14.9] NP: I do a lot of abstract, contemporary and modern art, as well as a lot of Arkansas landmarks, which is one I had to work the gallery today. I love to work the gallery, but I did have to work the gallery today and started working on a number – started working on another in a series of the old mill out in North Little Rock and have done a number of things like that, the old mill, Buffalo River. Just finished one of the War Eagle Mill up in Rogers.

[0:37:49.9] KM: Water wheel.

[0:37:50.7] NP: Then I've done a bunch of cityscapes of Little Rock as well.

[0:37:53.8] KM: How did you realize that you wanted to pursue painting? Did you wake up one night and had a dream and said, “I can do this.”

[0:38:02.8] NP: I've always art, right? I think art has a beautiful place and people's lives and in their homes.

[0:38:11.6] KM: Are you a collector?

[0:38:13.1] NP: I have a number of my pieces in my home, but I also have some other artists’ works in my home. What I would do is I have a brother in San Diego, a sister in Vail, Colorado, a brother in Atlanta, a sister in Williamsburg. When I would go visit, I would go to these galleries. I would go out to San Diego and my brother and I would go up to La Jolla and go into some of these galleries. I would look at this really beautiful abstract and then I would look at this price and it was $98,000 for that? I can do that, but I couldn't, right? I couldn't. I knew that. I knew that I wanted to try. That's when I had decided to begin to take lessons.

[0:39:04.0] KM: It looks easier.

[0:39:05.9] NP: Abstracts are rather hard.

[0:39:08.2] KM: Yeah, it looks easier than it is. People are like, “I could do that.” I'm like, “No, you can't get the balance, you can't get the color, you can't get your

[inaudible 0:39:14.3].” I love abstract.

[0:39:17.7] NP: Yeah, it's difficult to do.

[0:39:18.4] KM: I want to tell everybody that you're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and that I'm speaking today with retired chief meteorologist and weatherman, artist and pianist, Ned Perme. Super talented at everything he does.

[0:39:30.5] NP: Oh, I know just enough to be dangerous, Kerry. That’s about it.

[0:39:33.9] KM: Were you ever late for work when you were on the 6:00 news? What happens if you're late?

[0:39:37.7] NP: No, you can't be late.

[0:39:38.9] KM: Have you ever been late for work?

[0:39:41.3] NP: No. Oh, well I would go in. I would go in late, but you understand, we would go in and we have a lot of work to do in the afternoon before the show. No, I wouldn't. I just don't show up at 6:00 and go on the air. We don't have other people that do that work for us. We have to do it all of ourselves.

[0:40:01.9] KM: Are you starting to think about what your legacy in Arkansas is going to be?

[0:40:04.8] NP: I really haven't thought that much about it. I just hope people think that I'm – I did a good job and I gotten through some rough times and some rough weather.

[0:40:18.7] KM: I bet you saved some lives.

[0:40:22.1] NP: In retrospect, I think all the meteorologists on TV helps save lives. The thing that's so terrible is that when they have to go on with these tornado warnings, and there are more tornado warnings now than ever before, because the technology has improved so much that they can see tiny little tornadoes and they have to issue a warning, and they have to go on. They probably know that it's not a very –

[0:40:45.5] KM: Popular.

[0:40:46.8] NP: Not a big deal tornado. People at home don't know that. They just hear the word tornado and they think it's a huge storm moving through, destroying life and property.

[0:40:58.8] KM: Well, I just think it's not very popular when you're watching a show and somebody comes on to talk about a tiny tornado that's not in your area. That's what I thought you were going to say.

[0:41:07.5] NP: Well, we get, or they get a lot of grief from people, because they have to go on, but it's part of the job. That's part of what we do.

[0:41:15.8] KM: Who shot JR? I mean, you know.

[0:41:17.6] NP: That’s really part of our – that's the main focus of our job, of their jobs as well.

[0:41:22.9] KM: That's right.

[0:41:23.6] NP: That's why they have to go on. When we have severe weather, it could be just one tornado, or it could be an outbreak, like 1999 in January. We had 57 tornados in one day in Arkansas.

[0:41:36.4] KM: That’s amazing. Your news director at KATV said this about you and I quote, “Ned's legacy spans generations. He's completed his career as the state's most experienced television meteorologist and one of Arkansas's most beloved TV personalities.” Then your anchorman, Chris May, said, tweeted, “He’s the –” speaking about, “He's the single, most important and impactful figure in the history of Arkansas broadcasting.”

[0:42:10.0] NP: Oh, my goodness. I don’t deserve that, but I truly appreciate it very, very much.

[0:42:16.6] KM: You're right up there with

[inaudible 0:42:17.6]. You're right up there with

[inaudible 0:42:18.9].

[0:42:19.4] NP: He’s such was a wonderful guy too. He's been gone since 2006.

[0:42:23.1] KM: You're now the spokesperson for Middleton Middleton, I noticed the other day.

[0:42:26.9] NP: That's a great fit, because Middleton has been a sponsor of channel 7 weather for many, many years. Every night I would say, “Now let's take a look at our Middleton SkyCams." They were tied in with channel 7 weather.

[0:42:40.5] KM: You’re an influencer.

[0:42:41.5] NP: It was a good fit.

[0:42:42.3] KM: You're an influencer, they call you today. Here's your gift. I'm going to have to give you another flag. That's the Arkansas, the US and the Alabama desk set. I'm going to have to go back to the office and mail you the Ohio. I didn't realize you were from Ohio, but –

[0:42:55.2] NP: Oh, that's okay. I don't tell very many people that.

[0:42:59.9] KM: I want to thank all of our listeners who have been listening for joining us today. Next week, we have Janet Carson, Master Gardener who recently retired from the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Services. Ned, thanks again for joining me.

[0:43:12.9] NP: Thank you. Thank you so much.

[0:43:13.1] KM: I really enjoyed it. For those listeners who might have a great entrepreneurial story they'd like to share, send a brief bio and your contact info to kerry@flagandbanner.com and someone will be in touch.

To all, thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening and that it, whatever it is will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I’m Kerry McCoy and I'll see you next time on Up In your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

[0:43:45.2] G: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show, go to flagandbanner.com, select Radio and choose today’s guest. Subscribe to podcasts wherever you like to listen. Kerry’s goal, to help you live the American Dream.

[END]

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