Kelly Bates, the long-time WJAR-10 meteorologist who parted with the station over a contract dispute last September, is joining WLNE-6 as the weekend meteorologist and science reporter, according to a Facebook post by Bates and news release from WLNE.
“We are thrilled to have Kelly join the WLNE family and are looking forward to bringing her familiar face back into the homes of Southern New Englanders,” said WLNE General Manager Alex Wolf in the station’s press release. According to Bates and WLNE she will return to the air on June 11.
Bates, in her Facebook post, said she was thrilled to be rejoining a station at which she worked earlier in her career.
Bates had worked at WJAR for 17 years before the relationship became stormy.
When she left WJAR she said that “while I respect the fact that WJAR management leaders are entitled to compensate employees with wages and benefits at their discretion, I found myself unable to continue working at NBC 10 under existing arrangements. Leaving this job was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I loved my job at NBC 10, and it makes me profoundly sad to leave it after 17 years.”
She was a familiar face on WJAR, where she often appeared as the meteorologist on the morning show with Frank Coletta. During her tenure she was twice nominated for Emmy awards.
Bates had a legion of fans, many of whom took to Facebook and other social media outlets to express their dismay at her departure from WJAR. What she brought to WJAR, and likely will bring to WLNE, is her strength as meteorologist, and an effervescent personality.
According to the WLNE release, Bates will join ABC 6 StormTrackers team as weekend weather forecaster.
Bates grew up in North Attleborough, Massachusetts and graduated Bishop Feehan High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications and minor in Meteorology from Lyndon State College (now Northern Vermont University).
She began her career at WMUR in New Hampshire, and to the Southern New England in 2000 as the night weekend meteorologist at ABC 6.
“Southern New Englanders are a pretty particular bunch. So, in creating a newsroom that best fits the needs of our viewers, I have intentionally stuck close to home. Kelly is one of us,” said ABC 6 News Director Allison Gaito.
“Kelly is a pro viewers know and trust and that’s why I am excited to welcome her back to the ABC 6 StormTrackers team,” said Gaito.
She has been voted best female meteorologist of Rhode Island by the readers of Rhode Island Monthly for the past nine years. And is a long-time member of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.