In a February profile, 9News forecaster Kathy Sabine spoke glowingly about the 25-plus years she'd spent at the station but conceded that her future there was cloudy. At the time, her contract was coming to an end, and while negotiations had gotten under way, she admitted that "there is some uncertainty."
Not anymore. Sabine has re-upped with 9News, much to her delight — and surprise. After all, she says, "I had been envisioning a change for myself for quite a while because of all the changes in this business."
Indeed, TV news stations across the country regularly attempt to offset falling revenues and shrinking audiences as a result of the continuing shift online by cutting ties with longtime personalities whose salaries were set during a previous, more affluent era — and Denver is no exception. In recent years, we've seen the disappearance of veteran talents such as Channel 2's Ernie Bjorkman and Mike Landess, Channel 4's Ed Greene and a whole cadre of 9News staples: Gregg Moss, Drew Soicher, Mark Koebrich, Kirk Montgomery, Adele Arakawa and more.
Some of these folks retired, at least officially, while others moved on to different stations. But whether they jumped or were pushed, they wound up saving their previous employers money when they departed — and our 2017 post "Fifteen Denver TV Stars Who Could Fall Victim to Cost Cuts" included Sabine.
Fortunately for her, she had what she describes as "opportunities outside 9News that presented themselves to me" and had mentally prepared to take the leap. But conversations with Mark Cornetta, the station's president and general manager, as well as an executive vice president with its parent company, TEGNA, and director of content Eric Valadez "changed my way of thinking. I was really flattered by the offer they made me, which was so generous. They really made me feel supported and respected and heard and valued."
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Cornetta, for his part, notes via email that "we don't comment on individual contracts or employee matters." However, he confirms that "Kathy has a long-term contract with us, and we are happy that she will be a part of our team for years to come."
Like Cornetta, Sabine is precluded from discussing details about the agreement. But she touts the pact's flexibility. "It's kind of up to me and it's up to them, which is a really nice place to be," she says. "So we're going to go for a while and see how it feels for me and for them. And I'm going to try to be the best possible version of myself every day and contribute in the best possible way."
She concedes that "people don't have appointment viewing like they used to, and there are so many platforms to get news and weather. But people still need a familiar face and voice, someone who's knowledgeable and competent, to deliver the information they need, and I'm just so flattered that viewers see that in me, and that Channel 9 sees that in me. I came here in my twenties, and I've been here for so long. I feel my viewers have kind of watched me grow up on TV, so I'm really grateful to still be relevant at this stage and age."
Of course, nothing is forever in television, as Sabine understands. "Who knows how I'll feel or they'll feel in one year or three years," she says. "But nothing is better than feeling you're wanted and that you're making a difference. And maybe along the way, I can work with some of the folks who are coming along behind me, if they want it, and share the knowledge and experience I have. I think that would be a wonderful legacy."