A lot of us wear many hats at work, but none of our hats are as famous as the one worn by WSMV‘s Dennis Ferrier.
The fur hat with the upturned flaps worn by the reporter for the Nashville NBC affiliate is known as a Ushanka.
But Ferrier’s Ushanka is less of a hat and something closer to a head-borne comforter that has become a part of the Nashville television landscape complete with a Twitter and a facebook page all its own.
Ferrier told TVspy, “I bought it in 1989 in Milwaukee. I had been out on a fire and the spray coming off the house froze to my hair. I had an ice helmet. I said ‘That’s it. I don’t care how I look, I am going to be warm!'”
For Ferrier, the hat seems to be a great way to poke holes in the generic blow-dried reporter stereotype, “I think people like the hat because they appreciate a TV reporter who isn’t obsessed with their looks.”
After WSMV posted a picture of the hat on its facebook page and asked for a viewer vote, one commenter questioned Ferrier’s skill in wearing it, “One segment, it was on sideways and another it was on backwards. But his head is warm and he is awesome. So how ever it lands on his head is ok with me.” Another used it as a weather gauge. “This morning, the hat is soaking wet and misshapen. This means the sleet is transitioning to rain. The hat does not like rain.”
Ferrier’s wife got in on the act and wrote about it on her blog saying, “It looked as if our dog had perhaps used the ushanka as a plaything at some point, and it also seemed to have shrunk, since Hubs no longer wore it pulled down over his ears, but instead perched it atop his head like a child’s hat made of newspaper.”
The Nashville reporter admits his city may not be known for its icy weather. “But, I wore it on the first snow that year. Sometimes, we only get one or two snow days a year. Soon it became a tradition to wear the hat on the first snow of every winter. People noticed by the third year. That was 24 years ago.”
Ferrier is aware that what works in one market won’t always work in another. “I know the hat wouldn’t muster much interest in Duluth, but here in Nashville it is a little unusual and now part of the winter landscape at least for channel 4 viewers.”