Carmel meteorologist to retire after long run at WISH-TV


Former WISH-TV news anchor Dave Barras understands the measure of a man often can be determined by how he handles adversity.

That’s certainly the case with his close friend Randy Ollis.

Five years into the meteorologist’s career at Channel 8, a general manager decided he didn’t like Ollis’ presentation and he was fired in 1989.

“Randy immediately went to work at a grocery store because he had to take care of his family,” said Barras, who retired in December 2017. “He’s a man of faith. He feels things will work out because he believes. That is who he is.”

It certainly worked out because about six months later, that general manager was gone and Ollis was back at WISH-TV for good, much to the delight of many viewers who called and wrote to the station to complain about his dismissal. The 67-year-old Carmel resident will retire Aug. 31.

“I’m blessed. Not many people last nearly 39 years at one station,” Ollis said. “They said you know when you’re ready to retire, and I am.”

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Former WiSH-TV anchor Dave Barras clowns with his close friend Randy Ollis (Photo courtesy of Randy Ollis)

Ollis was on the “Daybreak” and “Midday” weekday news broadcasts for about 36 years. In March of 2021, he switched to co-host of “Life.Style.Life!” and “Midday.”

“I was semi-retired, still too many hours,” he said.

Ollis acknowledged he was out of his comfort zone co-hosting “Life.Style.Live!” where he often had to conduct interviews.

“I never dreamed I would end my career like that because it’s so much not me,” he said. “But I’m glad I did it. I learned a lot during the last two-and-half years.”

Ollis started in September of 1984 at “Daybreak” at WISH, a CBS affiliate until 2019, when it became a CW Network affiliate.

“Rumor was it would be canceled in a year because nobody thought people would watch morning news,” Ollis said. “Here we are 39 years later, it’s a six-hour show. It started out as a half-hour show.”

Ollis used to wake up around 2:45 a.m. and go into work.

“It was tough,” he said. “I’m really not a morning person. I’m a night person, so I almost didn’t take the job. I’m just trying to figure out if I like it or not.”

Ollis, however, did like being able to be with his family in the evenings when his four daughters were growing up.

“I made the right decision,” Ollis said. “It was fun. It was a lot of pressure because it was a one-man job. But we didn’t have social media then, so there’s a lot more to do with everything going to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.”

Ollis does radio reports for WGNR, a Moody radio network, in Anderson, and WTRE in Greensburg. He might continue doing radio from home.

“I’d drive my wife nuts if I stayed home all the time and did nothing,” he said.

Ollis also plans to perform volunteer work for the Child Evangelism Fellowship to minister to children.

“I accepted Christ at 6 years old, so it’s dear to my heart,” said Ollis, who said he wants to do some speaking engagements as well.

He also plans to spend more time with his daughters, three of whom are married, and six grandchildren.

Six years ago, Ollis found out he was missed by viewers once again when he was diagnosed with large B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma but has been cancer-free since the treatment.

Ollis, originally from Elgin, Ill., worked for TV stations in Wausau, Wis., Dayton, Ohio and Oklahoma City before arriving in Indianapolis. Ollis met his wife, Alison, when he worked in Dayton.

“I never even envisioned being in broadcasting,” he said. “I always thought it was somebody who was better looking or would have a better delivery on the air.”

But while attending Northern Illinois University, he volunteered when no one wanted to report weather on a student-run newscast. The self-proclaimed weather geek loved it.

Ollis said he figures he has been blessed to be paid to do his hobby for more than 45 years.

“He often doesn’t get enough credit for being a good meteorologist,” Barras said. “Because he is so easy going and uses his humor, this guy is a trained meteorologist.”