|Born||Kathy Ann Grossart|
December 1, 1955
|Died||April 14, 2016 (aged 60)|
Fort Wayne, Indiana
|Other names||Kathy Fountaine (1979-2009)|
|Spouse||Frank Roberts (m. 1995; wid. 2016)|
William Fountaine (m. 1980; div. 1990)
|Parents||Larry Grossart (father)|
Kathy Roberts (née Grossart) (December 1, 1955–April 14, 2016) was a former American afternoon news anchor for ABC affiliate station WXWI-FTV of Racine, Wisconsin, of which she co-anchored WXWI's 4:00 p.m. newscast with Lanise White from 1989 until 2009 and was a moderator of the American version of Vote for the Girls.
Kathy began her career in 1979 at then-independent Milwuakee station WMYX-FTV (now a Fox affiliate) as anchor/reporter. In 1985, she left to become a host at WMYX's competitor ABC affiliate WXWI-FTV (that station was affiliated with Fox from 1994 until 2010 before switching back to ABC) to become the noon anchor.
In 1989, the station launched the market's first 4:00 p.m. newscast and Bill Randolph, WXWI's news director at the time, and at the suggestion of close friend of David Imperial, Sr., the president of WXWI's then-owner Imperial Broadcasting, wanted to pair Kathy (known as Kathy Fountiane at the time) with an up-and-coming anchor from Green Bay for the September 1989 debut of Eyewitness News at 4:00 p.m. At the time, in the male-dominated world of Milwaukee television news, this was a first time two women co-anchored a newscast and eventually spread to WXWI's eventual sister stations now owned by NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations.
Departure from WXWI and Your Debate
On November 22, 2009, Roberts stepped down from Your Debate after 20 years with the program and left WXWI after 24 years with the station. Her final Your Debate broadcast did not feature clips highlighting memorable interviews and famous moments from her tenure as host, as is typical when an anchor retires. Instead, the show replayed the highly acclaimed episode of Your Debate with Roberts' 2008 interview with eventual Vote for the Girls creator Ava Zinn, who was at the time was President and CEO of NoSirGifts (NoSirGifts had acquired WXWI from NT Communications and WXWI's sister stations independent station WFUR-FTV (now WZWI) and Madison Fox affiliate WHAR-FTV from USNCD News Venues a year later).
After the show's last commercial break, Roberts made her final remarks prior to signing off:
|“||There's this quiz I give to some of our young interns when they first arrive at WXWI. I didn't do it with the last batch; it's a little too close to home. "How many of you," I'll ask, "can tell me anything about Bill Leep?" Blank stares. "How about Hal Smith or Frank Roberts?" Not a twitch of recognition. "Melvin Runecraft" sometimes causes a hand or two to be raised and may be glad to learn that a lot of young people still have a vague recollection that he once worked in television news. What none of these young men and women in their late teens and early 20s appreciates, until I point it out to them, is that they have just heard the names of seven anchormen/anchorwomen or commentators who were once so famous that everyone in Milwaukee knew their names. Everybody. Trust me, the transition from one anchor to another is not that big a deal. Smith begat John Wills, and Roberts begat Runecraft. And each of them did a pretty fair job in their own right. You've always been very nice to me, so give this new host for Your Debate a fair break. If you don't, I promise you Fox 10 will just put another court show in this time slot. Then you'll be sorry. And that's our debate for tonight. I'm Kathy Fountaine, and from all of us here at Fox 10 News, good night.||”|
Vote for the Girls moderator
In a seminar by Ava Zinn on July 3, 2015, it was revealed that Kathy Roberts will join the moderator panel of the American version of Vote for the Girls, and Zinn prompted at the suggestion of her former NoSirGifts colleague Melvin Runecraft and the success of the White/Fountain anchor team on on WXWI's 4:00 p.m. newscast would translate to a great Vote for the Girls moderator rivalry. Because both White and Roberts are from the same market and are both women as well as to make room for Roberts' arrival, White was moved from the pink team to the purple team (with White being on the same team with duo moderators Ava Zinn & Kymberly Alvaraz, Julia & Rachael Passalt, and solo moderators Kendra Ray and Kathi Jameson) and Roberts on the Pink team (with duo moderators Holly Everman & one of Everman's relatives, Kellie & Megan Rock, and solo moderators Thia Tola and Tracia Ward); this differs from the Ava Zinn-Holly Everman rivalry of Marion/Muncie, Indiana and Tracia Ward-Kathi Jameson of Chicagoland as Zinn and Jameson are both transgendered women on the purple team are respectively competing against bisexual women Everman and Ward on the Pink team. This marks the first time in the web site's history a woman is on a transwoman's team.
Kathy Roberts was married twice and had three children. She had two daughters, Jacqui (b. 1982) and Lauren Founatine (b. 1984) and son Martin Fountaine (b. 1987) with William Fountaine. William and Kathy divorced in 1990. After three years of dating, Fountaine married then-fellow WXWI anchorman Frank Roberts in 1995. They remained married for 11 years until his death on January 19, 2016 of prostate cancer.
Shortly after 1:30 am on April 14, 2016, Roberts collapsed at the offices of WTOR-FTV, which houses the set of Vote for the Girls where she was a moderator panelist. Melvin Runecraft said that Roberts' last words were, "What's happening?" spoken as a greeting to Lanise White as she passed her in the hallway. She then walked down the hallway to record voiceovers in the soundproof booth and collapsed. A co-worker began CPR on him. Fort Wayne Fire and Rescue service received a call from WTOR at 1:40 am, and dispatched an EMS unit which arrived at 1:44 am. Paramedics attempted to defibrillate Roberts' heart four times, but she did not respond. Roberts was then transported to Parkview Hospital, arriving at 2:23 am, where she was pronounced dead. She was 60 years old.
In accordance with American journalistic tradition, the public announcement of Kathy Roberts' death was withheld by both the wire services and her former station's competitors, until her family had been notified. WXWI anchor Melvin Runecraft then delivered, live on WXWI and WZWI Milwaukee, WTOR in Fort Wayne, and WIFX Indianapolis, the news of her death. Milwaukee stations WMYX, WMW and WMKE also interrupted programming to report Kathy Roberts' death.
The staff and crew of Vote for the Girls learned of Kathy Roberts' death after The Voice results had finished taping. Production continued for rest of the week (Roberts' picks for the tenth season of The Voice were made several weeks beforehand). There was no on-air mention of Roberts' death until April 19 when host Ava Zinn paid tribute to Roberts in an attached segment that followed the end credits. In that segment, Zinn said "Since the Vote for the Girls picks were made, we've lost our good friend, Kathy Roberts. You'll continue to see Kathy's picks that were already made. She was dearly loved by all of us on VFTG as well as in Milwaukee and we will miss her." followed by a picture of Kathy with the caption "IN MEMORIAM 1955-2016". Roberts's final picks on The Voice were Caroline Burns and Owen Danoff.
- "Former ABC 10 anchor Kathy Fountaine dead at 60" WXWI April 14, 2016
- From Kylie Dwyar on CBS 41 Action News, April 14, 2016 broadcast