The last few days I've been reaching out to people asking about the firing of KRON's popular weekend weather forecaster, Erica Kato.
As most of you saw and know, the response from people has overwhelmed this site and is the talk of the local TV News industry.
Those who may question the validity and sincerity of that (including me before the firing) should have seen my e-mail. I too was overwhelmed --enough so to ask around and see what I could come up with and furthermore, answer all you who've asked: Why was Erica Kato fired?
Well, good question. I made inquiries. It wasn't about money because Kato's compensation wouldn't break the bank, let alone KRON's meager budget.
It wasn't insubordination --knowledgeable sources who have some familiarity to the matter would only speak on condition that their names not be used. And those who would know said that Kato had a squeaky clean personal file. She was never called into Aaron Pero's (ND at KRON) office for any warnings, personal or professional.
When she was formally let go last Wednesday (without cause), she was told by Pero, according to the sources, "we're moving in a new direction." Only she wasn't told what direction and why. Of course KRON, like any other business, doesn't have to tell an employee why they're being fired but when you're shown the door there's usually a trail or something unique--some incident in the past which you were warned of or were notified by a manager of such an occurrence. Kato, as indicated, had no such warnings. Furthermore, and by all accounts, she was universally liked by colleagues and respected for carrying a heavy workload that demanded her presence in the wee hours of the morning and well into the night.
The people I spoke to --again, all insisting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said Kato seemed married to her work. Her popularity may have irked some because she got to the air in a big market fast and didn't have to work her way through the trenches of a Fresno or Dayton. That may be the case; even so Kato was more than adequate on the air. And yes, she's attractive and infinitely watchable. And TV is a visual medium. So there.
Her relationship with others seemed nothing out of the ordinary. When I asked, point blank, about her relationship with Darya Folsom, the weekday air talent whose friend, Mr. Pero was the guy that fired her, nobody said there was a conflict. Well, at least to me but the only way to go there would merely add further speculation to a story, frankly, that makes no sense.
Kato wasn't/isn't a huge local star, but she was certainly a standout talent on a station that could use all the help it could get. You don't usually go out and eliminate someone merely for the sake of eliminating someone unless there was an inside reason or it involved money. Or perhaps Kato was relieved of her duties for someone else's sake. (Draw your own conclusions)
The bullet-proof Pero has been getting some heat because KRON has been under-performing and the new GM has been making waves, so goes the talk. But making a 26 year-old weatherwoman your scapegoat doesn't seem right. Then again, it's KRON, who knows.
For the time being, nobody knows. Well maybe one does and soon enough we'll get to the bottom of it all.
In the meantime, Kato is said to be looking to move forward and figures to land another gig in town or go somewhere else.
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