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Rochester-Mason City-Austin

KAAL Adds AM News Anchor

rachel-wickRachel Wick is joining Rochester, Minn. ABC affiliate KAAL as a morning news anchor.

Wick was an anchor at Rochester NBC affiliate KTTC until 2011 when she stopped working in local TV after the birth of her first son.

“My career began as a morning news producer, so I’m used to the hours,” Wick said in a statement. “And if I have those days where the early hours catch up with me, at least I’ve developed a strong friendship with coffee!”

KAAL said Wick starts next Monday.

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KAAL Building New Facility in Rochester

kaal logoKAAL, the ABC affiliate in Rochester-Austin-Mason City, is building a new station in Rochester, the Post Bulletin reports:

KAAL General Manager David Harbert announced the project to staff on Monday, according to KAAL 5 p.m. newscast producer Ken Quattrin. Harbert told staff that KAAL-owner Hubbard Broadcasting of St. Paul has signed a deal to build a state-of-the-art facility near TJ Maxx Plaza in southwest Rochester, Quattrin says in a Facebook post. He told employees that plans for this have been in the works for several years.

Harbert also said that KAAL will keep its Austin studio to cover that area, Albert Lea and northern Iowa, Quattrin says.

Anchor Thanks Viewers for Support After Husband’s Motorcycle Accident

Laura Lee, (pictured right) anchor for Rochester, MN, ABC affiliate KAAL, gave viewers a heartfelt “thank you” after returning to air following her husband’s motorcycle accident.

“These last three weeks have been the longest three weeks of my life,” Lee told viewers with her voice choked with emotion. “It’s just unbelievable how your life can change in an instant, and we’re just so blessed that we’re given a second chance to rebuild it.”

Lee took time off after her husband was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in May. She told viewers he is doing much better and is currently in rehab in St. Paul, MN. She also told viewers, “We just can’t wait to bring him home.” You can watch the video on the station’s website by clicking here.

After the accident, the station set up a fund for the anchor and her family. Click here for more info. Lee ended by saying, “We couldn’t have done this without everyone’s support and love. Again from the bottom of our hearts, Thank you so much.”

[Rick Kupchella]

Nick Coit Joining WABI in Bangor As Sports Reporter

Nick Coit, currently a sports producer at Fox O&O WFXT in Boston, is moving in front of the camera next week as he takes over as the sports anchor-reporter at WABI in Bangor.

“This will be my first on-air gig and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Coit told the Bangor Daily News. “I had a real nice opportunity with Fox in Boston but this is truly the direction I want to go.”

The 22-year-old replaces Prescott Rossi, who left recently to join Rochester’s WROC, at the CBS-affiliate. WABI news director Jim Morris, who selected Coit from a pool of 50 applicants, said Coit is “a good fit” for the station.

Meteorologist Steve Sosna Says Goodbye to KAAL, Hello to WNBC

Meteorologist Steve Sosna said goodbye to KAAL today after three years with the Rochester, MN ABC-affiliate.  According to the station, he has accepted a position with WNBC.

“Well this is it my friends, it’s time to hang up my hat here at ABC 6 News,” Sosna wrote on his Facebook page this morning. “It’s been nothing short of a pleasure delivering you the weather each morning.”

Before joining KAAL, Sosna worked as a weather producer for WNBC.  No word yet on what his role will be with the NBC flagship.

Meteorologist Chris Kuball is replacing Sosna on KAAL’s morning newscast.  You can watch Sosna’s farewell to KAAL here.

>Update: Sosna will work as a weather producer on WNBC’s morning newscast.

Robin Wolfram Set to Join Rochester’s KTTC

Robin Wolfram will make her return to local news this month at KTTC, the Rochester, MN NBC affiliate.

Wolfram was the morning anchor at KSMP in Minneapolis from 2001-2003. Since leaving the television business, she has been a realtor and a public relations executive in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She will anchor the 5 p.m. broadcast solo and the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts alongside Tom Overlie.

Wolfram is an Iowa native. Her father is a former mayor of the neighboring Ventura, IA. “I’m thrilled to be coming home … and I think my family might be even more excited,” Wolfram said. “I’ve had my eye on the position for over a year now and as they say, patience pays.”

Wolfram’s first day at KTTC will be August 22. She replaces former KTTC anchor Rachel Wick, who resigned in July after the birth of her first child.

Longtime Anchor Tapped to Lead KIMT Newsroom

Jaime Copley, who has spent 12 years as an anchor and reporter for KIMT, has been named news director of the New Vision-owned CBS-affiliate, which covers North Central Iowa and Southeastern Minnesota.

A local girl who graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, Copley said in a video announcement that it has always been her goal to manage the newsroom at KIMT (video above).

She will continue to occasionally appear in front of the camera as an anchor and reporter.

Former KAAL Anchor Beth Bednar Writes Book about Disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit

Longtime KAAL anchor Beth Bednar has written a new book about a former colleague of her’s, KIMT anchor Jodi Huisentruit, who disappeared in 1995.

“This case still haunts the entire TV industry as well as her family and friends,” Bednar told the Mason City Globe Gazette.

In discussing her motivation for writing the book, titled  “Dead Air: The Disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit,” Bednar said that she felt an affinity for Huisentruit since the two worked in the same market and she also experienced the fear of traveling to and from work alone late at night or in the early morning.

Huisentruit disappeared while on her way to work for KIMT’s morning newscast.  “I’ve walked in her shoes,” Bednar said.

The book is being released at the end of April.

HLN Profiles Missing KIMT Anchor Jodi Huisentruit

HLN’s “Nancy Grace: America’s Missing” profiled the case of missing KIMT anchor Jodi Huisentruit on Wednesday as part of the show’s effort to find 50 missing people in 50 days (video above).

Huisentruit, a morning anchor for the Mason City CBS-affiliate, went missing on June 27, 1995, shortly after she spoke to her producer on the phone. The producer had called Huisentruit to wake her up and the 27-year-old anchor said that she would be in to the station in 20 minutes.  She never showed up.

“It’s nice that the case is in the lime light and that we keep getting the attention,” Mason City Police Department Lieutenant Frank Sterns told KIMT about the program, “hopefully someday somebody’s gonna see it, maybe they’ve missed this or maybe when they see this since it’s been so long they’ll finally say, ‘Ah, I just can’t live with it anymore,’ and come forward.”