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Don Paul inks deal to keep him on Channel 4

Meteorologist Don Paul, who has been on Channel 4 for 26 of his 29 years in the Buffalo market, has agreed to a new deal that will keep him on the air for three more years.

“I don’t want to give too many details,” said Paul in a telephone interview. “I’m pretty pleased. It’s for three years, with their options each year. … It had a happy ending. In a lot of ways, I’m pretty pleased.”

That wording suggests that Paul’s new deal has a modest raise or at the very least avoids a pay cut that has become commonplace since the Buffalo market went above No.50 in the nation.

Only a few months ago, Paul’s future appeared to be a little cloudy. There had been rumors that a recent candidate from out west for the weather job at Channel 4 left vacant by Amelia Segal’s departure might also have been a candidate for the top job. He left without either job and the station is still looking for Segal’s replacement.

“That thought crossed my mind because nothing had happened,” said Paul. “When [News Director Joseph] Schalerth asked me if my intention was to stay, things happened pretty quickly. There had been a lot of procrastination.”

Paul admitted to some uneasiness before contract talks moved along.

“I think it was my own paranoia,” said Paul. “I read message boards and read some awful things going on in other [TV station groups]. You get paranoid.”

It turned out that Paul had no reason to worry and the delay wasn’t mean to send him any message.

“They [LIN] sent me a message with the kind of offer they made,” said Paul. “It was very pleasing and they made me feel I still am a major audience draw according to research.”

Paul started his TV career 37 years ago in Maine. He came to Channel 4 in the early 1980s and spent three years at Channel 2 before returning. He wouldn’t reveal his age. But if he fulfills the entire three years of the new deal, he could approach retirement age.