Changing Channels: KLFY GM Leaves; KATC News Director Update
Lafayette television's revolving door is spinning again. This time, a reporter and a market power players are shuffling out of the market, a new news director and several new on-air faces are coming to a TV near you, and a former Lafayette news director has found a new home.
KLFY General Manager Fran McRae Moves to Memphis
KLFY will soon have a new general manager.
Fran McRae has left Channel 10 after four-and-a-half years in the big chair. The station's corporate owner, Nexstar Media Group, promoted McRae to the vice president/general manager position at WREG-TV in Memphis, Tennessee. McRae will also serve as general manager of WJKT-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, about 85 miles away from Memphis.
According to Nexstar, McRae succeeds Ron Walter, who retired last month.
During McRae's time at KLFY, the station's news operation put a dent in KATC's dominance in the market, becoming competitive with Channel 3 and pulling ahead of them in some ratings books. Part of that success stemmed from KLFY's focus on local arts and culture, including the creation of the "Acadiana Eats" franchise and the "Inside Cajun Nation" sports program.
For now, Nexstar senior vice president and regional manager Mike Vaughn will serve as KLFY's interim general manager. The position has been posted to KLFY's website. Nexstar has not given a timetable for filling the position.
McRae came to KLFY in March 2017, replacing Kenny Lawrence as the station's vice president and general manager. McRae's successor will be KLFY's third new general manager in the last 10 years. For comparison, the spans of the previous three general managers--Tom Pears, Joe Varholy, and Mike Barras--covered a combined 46 years.
Nichole Cyprien Named KATC News Director
A journalist with Louisiana ties will soon occupy the corner office in the KATC newsroom.
Nichole Cyprien has been named Channel 3's new news director. She will begin her new role on October 4.
Cyprien comes to Lafayette from WALB-TV in Albany, Georgia. Cyprien served as WALB's news director for four years. During that time, WALB twice was named Georgia Television Station of the Year. Prior to joining WALB, Cyprien was a newsroom manager at stations in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Cyprien is a native of Mobile, Alabama, and is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. Her father is a native of Bogalusa. Her mother is a native of Watson.
“It’s an honor to join the KATC team,” Cyprian said in a press release issued by KATC. “My family’s roots are in Louisiana and this state holds a special place in my heart. I’m grateful and humbled for the opportunity to call Acadiana home, and I’m excited to work with the hard-working journalists at TV3 and share important stories that matter to the communities we serve."
Cyprien succeeds Letitia Walker as KATC's news director.
Speaking of Walker . . .
Former KATC News Director Moves to WWL-TV
Letitia Walker is taking her talents and experience to New Orleans.
The former KATC news director is WWL-TV's new executive producer. Walker received that appointment nearly two months after leaving KATC after 14 years as news director and nearly 20 years at the station.
Walker, a native of Chalmette and a graduate of LSU, started her career working behind the scenes at KLFY as a tape editor and writer during the Maria Placer/Dee Stanley regime. In 2002, she moved to KATC, where she was a reporter and fill-in anchor. After a year hiatus during which she taught in the New Orleans area, Walker returned to KATC in 2005 as a producer. In 2007, she ascended to the news director position.
In her 14 years as KATC's news director, Walker’s department won numerous awards, including three Emmy Awards and three Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Katie Easter Leaving KATC
KATC reporter Katie Easter will be leaving the market in early October. Easter has accepted a reporting job at a station in Lexington, Kentucky. Easter, a native of St. Louis, worked on air and behind the scenes at KLFY before joining the KATC staff in March 2019.
KATC Welcomes Whole Host of New Talent
Meanwhile, two new news reporters and two new sports reporters have joined the KATC staff since the start of August.
Two of those new reporters are alumni of the University of Louisiana.
Meagan Glover returns to Lafayette after spending the last couple of years as a sports reporter at KLAX in Alexandria. Glover began her career in Lafayette. She worked at KLAF/KADN in 2017 while attending the University of Louisiana. The Ragin' Cajun alumna will handle both sports and news reporting duties for Channel 3.
Tré Francis is new to the world of television news, but he's not a broadcast rookie. Francis, a mass communications major and political science minor at UL, started in radio and in production at the Acadiana Open Channel. Francis is a Carencro native and a graduate of Lafayette High School, where he was a member of the Mighty Lion Band.
Jamarcus Fitzpatrick comes to KATC from Alexandria. Fitzpatrick, a Shreveport native, most recently was the sports director at KALB. The Louisiana College graduate won the Best Sports Show award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters while at KALB.
Taylor Toole comes to Lafayette from her hometown of Palmetto, Florida. The recent University of Central Florida graduate worked in student media and interned at an Orlando TV station while working towards her degree.
Alexandria Meteorologist, Anchor Abruptly Resign
Those of you who live in the northern parts of our listening area may know Al Quartemont and Tom Konvica from KALB-TV (Channel 5) in Alexandria. Both abruptly announced their resignations from KALB on air last week. Neither publicly stated why they were leaving the station.
Konvica joined KALB in 1984 and had served continuously as the station's meteorologist since then.
Quartemont first joined the station in 2001 as an anchor and reporter. In December 2015, Quartemont moved into the news director's position while maintaining his role as the station's evening anchor.
Blast from the Past
Let's close this edition of "Changing Channels" with this flashback from 1985. This is KATC's 5 p.m. newscast from April 26, 1985, in its entirety--commercials included. Steve Coco anchors with Pat Flanagan on weather and André Moreau on sports. Agnes Derouen and Dorothy Harrington make cameo appearances later in the broadcast.