KATC General Manager Responds to Staff Changes and Local Coverage Concerns
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - KATC VP/General Manager Sean Trcalek is responding to staffing changes and promising local news coverage will continue for Lafayette and Acadiana. Trcalek commented on social media that "Lafayette will see a dramatic INCREASE in local content."
The Lafayette ABC affiliate, owned by Scripps, has been in the spotlight in recent days, after evening anchors Marcelle Fontenot and Jim Hummel announced that their tenure with the station would end on Friday, 9/29. The two echoed one another on social media as they expressed gratitude to the Acadiana audience.
Morning show co-host Katie Lopez departed in early September. Veteran anchor and meteorologist Dave Baker will continue fronting Good Morning Acadiana for the foreseeable future.
Trcalek's comment was in response to an article posted on the website NewsBlues.com whose major advertisers are talent agencies that assist anchors, reporters, and weather people find jobs. The editorial piece accuses Scripps of "riding roughshod" over four of its television stations, while neglecting to include details about what the modified newsrooms and newscasts will look like.
The thread on Facebook began with an assertion that the public, despite claims to the contrary, do watch local news, and the recent upheaval over Fontenot and Hummel's announcement it testament to that fact. The post ended with the words, "Local media still matters."
Another post participant shared the NewsBlues editorial, claiming it explained what was happening at Scripps stations, to which Trcalek replied:
Newsblues is a gossip site and this is not at all accurate…Lafayette will see a dramatic INCREASE in local content, with nearly triple the number of LOCAL reporters working all across Acadiana rather than in-studio, hired at an all-new high rate of pay for the industry. A change in approach backed up by research and designed to insure that Acadiana gets more of what the current News environment calls for…the sky isn’t actually falling - but if it does, KATC will be there to cover it - LIVE - with a LOCAL staff larger and better trained than ever before…
Later down the thread, Trcalek commented:
And yes, LOCAL media does indeed matter and is crucial in all of our everyday lives…
I visited with Trcalek about his response in the thread. He says they will have a reporter desk 13-deep covering Lafayette and Acadiana. Additionally, the well-known team of meteorologists will continue providing live coverage. Rob Perillo leads the team and will still man his post for the evening newscasts. Daniel Phillips will remain on Good Morning Acadiana, opposite fellow meteorologist-turned-anchor Dave Baker. Bradley Benoit will provide forecasts and weather coverage on Saturday and Sunday.
...weather will always be live, remember....
He says viewers can look forward to the new format and expanded local coverage later this fall.
About SeanTrcalek, KATC VP/General Manager
Trcalek took the helm at KATC in July of 2020. The 30+ year broadcast veteran began his career at KATC in 1989. He's also a musician whose band plays at venues around Acadiana. Trcalek grew up in Lafayette and received his Bachelor's Degree from UL Lafayette.
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