Changing Channels: Lafayette Anchor Signs Off; KLFY Hires GM
The end of the fall ratings period is bringing more changes to your television screen. Local TV viewers have already noticed one of those changes, as an evening news anchor has left her chair. The other change won't be seen because it's happening behind the scenes.
Here's the latest edition of Changing Channels.
Thibodeaux Leaves Channel 15
After a four-year run on the anchor desk at KADN/KLAF, Jazmin Thibodeaux signed off for the final time on November 19.
The Opelousas native and UL alumna announced her departure from the station on the air and via a Facebook post.
Thibodeaux started her career at KLFY in 2013. During her three-year run at Channel 10, Thibodeaux worked as a producer and as a reporter. She left KLFY in 2017 for KTBS in Shreveport, serving as a producer and a reporter there, as well. Thibodeaux returned to Lafayette in the fall of 2017, joining the Channel 15 news crew as a reporter.
After working in the field for six months, Thibodeaux moved to the News 15 anchor desk. She spent nine months reading the news on KADN and KLAF's joint morning show before moving to the evening shift.
For now, Thibodeaux's on-air partner Jeff Horchak is anchoring the evening newscasts solo. No word on when KADN/KLAF will appoint Thibodeaux's successor.
As for Thibodeaux: She says she's venturing into another area of communications, but she hasn't said exactly where she's going or what she will be doing.
KLFY Veteran Appointed As Station's General Manager
Nexstar did not hire from within to find KLFY's new vice president and general manager, but they found someone who knows the station and the area like the back of his hand.
That person is Chris Cook.
Cook returns to the Hub City to run the station he called home for 17 years. Cook spent the last 22 months working in Indianapolis as the director of sales for WISH-TV.
Cook's broadcast career began in 1996 in Alexandria as a videographer and production hand at KALB. One year later, he moved to KLFY. He started at Channel 10 as a videographer and live truck coordinator. After a brief stint as the station's promotions coordinator, Cook became the station's marketing director. In that role, Cook supervised Channel 10's charitable efforts, including the Food for Families Food Drive and Coats for Kids coat drive. In addition, Cook played a major role in KLFY's transition to high definition by helping design the station's first HD set and graphics. Furthermore, Cook helped redesign the station's website to make it more user-friendly and so it could accommodate HD images and videos.
Cook parlayed that success into a promotion. In 2012, Cook was named KLFY's digital sales manager. One year later, he was named the station's local sales manager.
Cook left KLFY and the TV business in 2014, but he didn't stay away from broadcasting for long. In 2016, Cook became KADN/KLAF's integrated digital specialist and local sales manager. One year later, he became KADN/KLAF's general sales manager.
This hire returns Cook not only to KLFY but also to the Nexstar fold. The media company owned KLAF/KADN during part of Cook's tenure there.
“I am extremely grateful to Nexstar for giving me the opportunity to return to KLFY-TV and Lafayette, a community in which I have spent many, many years of my broadcasting career," Cook, an alumnus of UL, said in a press release. "This is like coming home."
Cook's hiring marks the first time since Mike Barras's retirement in 2013 that an Acadiana native is at the helm of KLFY-TV. It also marks the first time in recent memory that Acadiana natives (Cook, KATC's Sean Trcalek, and KADN/KLAF's Nanette Lavergne) are serving as general managers at all three of Lafayette's TV stations.
And Finally . . .
Since we mentioned Mike Barras's name earlier in this story, let's close with an episode of Meet Your Neighbor hosted by Mr. Barras himself. This recording is from April 1986. It also features Gary Arnold, Rex Moore with sports, and Mark Rowlett with the weather.