The curious case of Tom Sater
In July 2005, FOX-5 morning meteorologist Tom Sater mysteriously disappeared from the airwaves. Five years later, DCRTV reported Sunday that Sater has re-emerged on D.C.'s television scene:
DCRTV hears that former Channel 5/WTTG weatherman Tom Sater (left) will be doing the weather on Channel 9/WUSA today, Sunday, at 6:30 PM and 11 PM. He will be doing weekend freelance forecasts during the summer to cover vacationing 9ers, we're told.
When Sater vanished from television in 2005, we got a ton of questions at CapitalWeather.com (CWG's predecessor) about what happened to him - questions we could not answer. So five years later, what have we learned?
As it turns out, Sater was fired from FOX-5 and later replaced by Tony Perkins. The circumstances surrounding his firing were never publicly reported, but they were clearly contentious. The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) -- the labor union representing Sater - posted this statement on its website:
AFTRA Wins Severance Pay for Tom Sater
Tom Sater was an award-winning meteorologist at Fox 5 in Washington, DC. After almost 7 years of service, management at WTTG-TV (the Fox O&O in Washington, DC) decided it was time for him to leave, even though he was very popular with the viewers, and had won 5 Emmys. Management claimed "gross misconduct" and terminated Tom's employment without notice or severance pay. AFTRA investigated, and concluded that gross misconduct had not occurred, and demanded that the station pay Tom his notice pay and severance pay, under the terms of the AFTRA contract.
Although AFTRA and WTTG have a long history of being able to resolve their disputes, this case proved different. AFTRA filed for its first-ever arbitration with WTTG, and the two-day hearing was held in July 2006. The arbitrator found that WTTG had not met its burden of proof, and that any performance issues involved were "ordinary" and did not rise to the level of gross misconduct. As a result of the arbitrator's ruling, AFTRA was able to recoup over $70,000 in notice and severance pay for Mr. Sater.
Around the time of his dismissal from Fox-5, Sater's personal life also appeared to be in turmoil. He was married to Holly Morris - a reporter at the station. In October, 2005, the Post's Reliable Source reported:
Divorcing: Holly Morris , queen of the wacky live remote on "Fox 5 Morning News," and her husband of eight years, the show's former weatherman Tom Sater . The couple came to WTTG in 1998 from a Lexington, Ky., station; Sater evaporated from the airwaves in July.
So now he's back on the tube again. Do you remember Sater? Will you be watching?
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