Local news station viewers may have noticed longtime El Paso weatherman Robert Bettes hasn't been sharing forecasting duties at KTSM lately.

That's because the veteran meteorologist was never really employed by the station and is no longer getting airtime on the local NBC affiliate.

"Robert was, in essence, on loan to KTSM through the years but is actually the chief meteorologist of KVEO Brownsville," explained station News Director Elizabeth O'Hara via email.

KVEO, which serves the McAllen-Brownsville, Texas market, and KTSM are both owned by Nexstar Broadcasting. In a cost-cutting move, the company closed KVEO's news department in 2010, keeping just a few local reporters, and began producing their newscast from the KTSM studios.

Robert has been the Chief Meteorologist for the Rio Grande Valley station since then, but continued getting airtime in El Paso as a sort of courtesy. Recently, the decision was made to feature Chuck Debroder exclusively.

"[Chuck] is KTSM’s chief meteorologist," O'Hara added, "and needed to be seen in all the [early evening] as well as late night newscasts."

Bettes is still getting used to the idea of not appearing on his hometown airwaves. "It's a little weird not doing El Paso's forecast since I did it for two decades," he told me via email. "I still live in El Paso and go to work at KTSM every day, [but] my new contract is exclusively KVEO."

On a personal note, Robert was how I judged the severity of storms headed our way. If he wasn't up to his usual shenanigans or making his patented silly faces then I knew Mother Nature was going to get serious up in here. I’m gonna miss that annoying little goofball.

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