As we work on a fresh version of this blog, we offer a story off the publicity path. PUBLISIDE has become friendly with some information-dishing inanimate objects lately (no, we don’t need professional help — Cleatus the Robot from NFL on FOX said we are just fine!).
One such character in our own backyard made us particularly curious since it was created to measure stuff that Wisconsin hasn’t seen a whole lot of this season: snow.
Following is the transcript from a sit-down we recently had with what some Milwaukeeans know as the SnowStick, others, FOX6’s “Brrrt.”
PUBLISIDE • Do you have a real name, or should people just call you “Stick,” “Snow” or “The RULER” (get it… a ruler?!?)
Brrrt • “I came to FOX6 without a name, but a viewer helped change that last year. Now they call me ‘Brrrt.’ Next to me on the deck is ‘Fahren Ernie’ who gives us the temperature. Even though our names are very similar to another duo, we have yet to hear about any lawsuits from PBS.
PUBLISIDE • How tall are you?
Brrrt • “I have trouble measuring myself without any arms, but I am marked off three inches at a time. The last mark has me at 20 inches. Add on a few more for my cap, and I’m a hair past two feet. Of course if I had hair I might be even taller.”
PUBLISIDE • How do you make an impact as a member of the FOX6 meteorology team?
Brrrt • “Vince, Rob, Justin and Brittney are great. They know a ton about weather but they do most of their work on computers inside. It’s my job to face the elements outside. I can take anything Mother Nature dishes out. But of course, I specialize in snow totals, giving live reports on the web at www.fox6now.com.
“Even on the coldest day I’m out here doing my job. One of the guys from the office might stick their head out the door to check on me and get a report.”
PUBLISIDE • Do you have a meteorology degree? If not, what qualifies you to take on such an important task at a Wisconsin-based media outlet?
Brrt • “You know it was a serendipitous journey into meteorology. I started out pre-law at Yale but had difficulty taking the exams, again, no arms or hands. I later heard that many who come from the same mold as me go on to a career in plumbing. Then one day I was rolling down the street and it starting snowing — I just knew this was my calling!
“I never obtained an official degree but then again, I’m not making forecasts. I have a special skill set that allows me to face Wisconsin’s harshest winter storms and report on the conditions, just by standing up straight.”
PUBLISIDE • Are you qualified to measure precipitation other than snow?
Brrrt • “We have a special rain gauge on the roof that takes care of the rain. One time in summer I tried putting a bowl around my base to catch the rain and that worked for a night. But then the rain just sat there and attracted mosquitoes. From then on I vowed to stick to snow. I can measure ice too, but if we ever have an ice storm so bad that it reaches my bottom marker, then we’ve got BIG PROBLEMS!”
PUBLISIDE • Some people are grateful for each day that snow doesn’t fall. This must trouble you. What do you do in the “off-season” or during extended periods when the white stuff doesn’t fall?
Brrrt • “I don’t spend summers in Wisconsin, I’m kind of a reverse ‘snow bird.’ I spent this past summer in northern Canada. I did some freelance work with the show ‘Ice Road Truckers,’ but my clips were left on the cutting room floor. As for this latest stretch of weather, what can I say…I can’t work because there’s no snow, but I’m still getting paid. As Charles Barkley says, it’s a great scam — as in, this is a super gig!)”
PUBLISIDE • Are you prepared for the inevitable when the Milwaukee area is hit with several inches of snow at one time? (Can you come up for air?)
Brrrt • “Oh I am ready and I can’t wait! So far I haven’t been completely buried. I came close during the Groundhog’s Day Blizzard last year, but Rob and Justin were at the station early to make sure I was OK and still broadcasting. That was my shining moment from last year. I knew that with no school and businesses cancelled, a lot of people would be watching.”
PUBLISIDE • It’s been brought to our attention that you live outdoors. How do you stay warm?
Brrrt • “Cold never really bothered me. My doctor says it’s because I have no internal organs. Which brings up the question, why do I go to the doctor in the first place?
PUBLISIDE • What do you hope to accomplish this winter (educate, inform, provide travel hints)?
Brrrt • “I hope to measure a lot of snow. I’m in the same boat as snowplow drivers, snowmobilers and skiiers. My goal is to provide live reports day and night when the snow is falling. It’s easy to look outside your own window and tell when it’s snowing, but can you tell if it’s 3 inches or 6 inches? Check me out online and I’ll tell you exactly how much (at least in Brown Deer, Wis.).”
PUBLISIDE • I don’t know if you realize it, but there seem to be some viewers who have already developed a crush on you. Are you married or available? Can people find SnowSticks like you at area retailers?
Brrrt • “I am pretty rare although all my parts can be found at a typical hardware store. Most of my life I’ve been single. I tried Match.com once but I may have thrown off a few females when I used a photo of Brad Pitt as my profile picture. (Hey, I’m not the first to do that!) Just recently I was introduced via Facebook to Suzy Snowstick and she is just my type. She’s not shallow at all, she’s over 2 feet tall!”
PUBLISIDE • How can viewers communicate with you (social media, website, etc.)?
PUBLISIDE • Do you consider yourself old-school in our era of daily evolving technology?
Brrrt • “I’m definitely more old school than new school. I don’t know much about computer models or high tech weather gadgets. I tried storm chasing one time, but when it was my turn to drive I couldn’t see over the steering wheel. I stand by time-tested techniques of measuring snow while my buddy Fahren Ernie takes the temperature.”
PUBLISIDE • If we promise to keep it between you and our readers, who’s your favorite FOX6 meteorologist?
Brrrt • “Oh I’m not falling for that one! All four are great. I spend the most time with Rob in the morning and Vince in the evening. Justin keeps me company in the afternoon. The other day, he brought me some Hostess ‘Sno Balls’ to cheer me up. Brittney has been a big help in giving me advice with Suzy Snowstick. They say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but in the snowstick world men are from Menards and women are from Home Depot.”
PUBLISIDE • Thank you for talking with us, Brrrt. Good luck this season. But, with all due respect, many of us have enjoyed the spring-like temperatures of late.
Brrrt • “You’re welcome. Ms. PUBLISIDE. It’s ok that you feel the way you do. At least I have that dish on the roof to admire while I wait for the snow 🙂 ”
Editor’s Note: If you have any questions for Brrt, follow his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/snowstick. As the meteorologists at FOX6 Milwaukee say, he’ll keep you prepared, not scared…unless you’re afraid of snowmen.