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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 07/14/2010

The curious case of Tom Sater

By Jason Samenow

* Sticky but gradually drying: Full Forecast | Tropical update *

sater.jpg
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.

Since divorcing Morris, Sater has re-married to another T.V. personality, Fox-5 morning anchor Gurvir Dhindsa. The Post's Reliable Source reported the couple had twins in June, 2008.

DCRTV and The Elliott in the Morning Fan blog reported Sater's long hiatus from meteorology has included employment as a manager at Tractor Supply Company in Warrenton, Va.

So now he's back on the tube again. Do you remember Sater? Will you be watching?

By Jason Samenow  | July 14, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Media  
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Comments

Speaking of "I wonder what happened to..."; Steve Villanueva at WRC, was dropped unceremoniously and that guy Justin who was in and out in a flash (they seem to prefer perky at WRC).

Although I admire Veronica Johnson, Vance, et al, I've "migrated" to Channel 7, which may well have the most talented and knowledgeable weathercasters. The only reason I'd watch Channel 5 is for Sue Palka's forecasts.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 14, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Gurvir is definitely an upgrade over Holly.

Posted by: ennepe68 | July 14, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@Jerry - Dont forget that Doug Hill came over from WUSA Ch. 9, so Ch. 7 put together its Dream Team from waiver wire free agents. I agree they are the go-to for late night wx info.

I'll pass on Sue; their graphics are too hokey over there. The "I-C-E" letter that slide around, and the howling wind noises? Please.

Speaking of TV weather folks, anyone ever catch Tom Skilling on WGN Chicago? 1030pm eastern. He's on about three times a week and other guy he rotates with just phones it in.

Posted by: ennepe68 | July 14, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

TV weathercasters--oops--on-camera meteorologists or "OCM's" seem to be doing things one would normally expect of Hollywood celebrities these days. They are getting dismissed and moving around like crazy.

My suggestion is that DCRTV--or perhaps ET or TMZ--should do a regular feature from time to time tracking the movements/personal affairs of our favorite OCM personalities--who's where, who's in rehab, etc. etc.

Tom Skilling is a great favorite of mine, partly due to my Upper Midwestern origins. It's getting to the point that I get really disappointed whenever WGN weather gets bumped by a baseball game or worse yet, by "Funny Home Videos/Scrubs" as seems to happen once or twice a week. Perhaps "much-needed-rain" is trying to extend its influence beyond just meddling with my dance and errand outings.

The all-time winner for my "Lindsay Lohan Award", so far as OCM's go, has to be Bill Kamal, once of WUSA-9. While Tom Sater confined his personal involvement to relationships with Holly Morris and Gurvir Dhindsa, Kamal seems to have been actually involved in pedophilia or child porn, and is/has been serving a prison sentence for his activities. This is a shame as I regarded Kamal as an excellent OCM. There also was a Hollywood-type situation a few years back on the Weather Channel in its pre-NBC days. One of the male OCM's began sexually harassing a female OCM and had to be terminated.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | July 14, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

My suggested name for this new OCM feature would be "Who's on the 'Weather Radar' This Week?"

Perhaps CWG, rather than DCRTV, TMZ or ET might be the right place to post it. It could become a regular like the SLCB, Thundercast or "Nice Day" icon.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | July 14, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@Bombo, according to Kamal's Wiki entry, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Kamal, he was released to a halfway house in 2008.

@ennepe68, I like Sue Palka, because she is grounded. When my favorite four-letter word appears in winter weather forecasts and people start stripping the grocery store shelves bar, Sue, like, the CWG's SNCB, provides a (sometimes depressing) but realistic forecast of what's likely to happen.

Re: Steve Villanueva, I did some research and apparently his wife got a job with a financial firm and the family moved to NYC.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 14, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

unintentional misspelling in the above: should read

"when people start stripping the grocery store shelves bare," (not "bar")

But given the palpable moaning and groaning at the G'town Whole Foods on the morning just before Snowmaggedon began, when the P.A. announcer said wine sales couldn't begin 'til 9 a.m., you would have thought people were at the bar.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 14, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@JerryFloyd1--Justin Drabick has actually been a meteorologist at an NBC affiliate in Delaware for the past few years; I think he was just filling in on weekends for a few weeks but was never on staff at Channel 4.

Posted by: tujague | July 14, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

And Tony Pann, formerly of channel 9, is now on the Baltimore NBC affiliate WBAL doing morning weather. They do move around, don't they?

Posted by: cookgirl1 | July 14, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@tujague, thanks for explaining re: Justin. He was there and then he was gone, and after Steve Villanueva was sent packing, I couldn't figure out what was going on. He just seemed too laid back for WRC (I've blistered the station's mgmt about their OCMs, Veronica excepted, and I'll let it go at that).

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 14, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Sue Palka is the best! She has saved me from being stuck at home without food more than once. I well remember one year when she was the only person forecasting a major storm, and I took off in the late evening to prepare for it. I'm thankful to Sue for that.

Posted by: ImTresbien | July 15, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Anyone remember this guy, who pled guilty for hacking his co-worker's email? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Mendte

He started as the weekend weather guy at the CBS affiliate in San Diego. He came to my high school for a career day. Someone referred to him as a met and he said, oh no, I'm a weatherman.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | July 15, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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