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Columbus-Tupelo-West Point

C.J. LeMaster Joins WLBT From WTVA

cj lemasterAfter five years in Tupelo, WTVA weekend anchor C.J. LeMaster is set to join WLBT in Jackson, Miss.

“In broadcast journalism, it’s a rarity to be able to start in your hometown, but I’m thankful for that, with people I look up to. What I’ve learned here will help me invaluably later in life, and I’m incredibly thankful for that as well,” LeMaster wrote on Facebook.

LeMaster will be the weekend anchor at WLBT, the NBC affiliate in Jackson.

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After 30 Years with WTVA, Terry Smith Says He’s Leaving

Terry Smith, anchor for Tupelo, MS, NBC affiliate WTVA, is leaving the station.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working for one of the best, well run stations and content providers in the country,” said Smith, who marked 30 years with the station in June. “WTVA has supported me and my family in all aspects of my life and career, and I feel so blessed to be a part of such a special group of people.”

Smith started his career in WTVC in Chattanooga, TN. He will continue to host “Focus,” the station’s community show and the “Regional Rehabilitation Center’s Celebration of Hope Telethon.”

“Terry Smith is a person worthy of our respect, admiration and deep gratitude,” said WTVA president Jane Spain. “We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have him as a leading force and generous mentor for over 30 years. We wish him great success with his new endeavor and couldn’t be happier for him and his family.”

[TVNewsCheck]

ABC Gets a New Home in Northern Mississippi

WTVA, home of the NBC affiliate in the Columbus-Tupelo-West Point, MS market (#133), will add the ABC TV network to its digital channel 9.2 Saturday morning. The current ABC station in the market WKDH will cease operations Friday night. WTVA already operated WKDH through a local marketing agreement, but today announced a long term deal with ABC bringing programming to the digital channel.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with WTVA coverage in the Columbus/Tupelo market,” said John Rouse, SVP of Affiliate Relations for ABC. “Local viewers will continue to be able to see all their favorite ABC and ESPN on ABC programs, including this Saturday’s 2012 Cowboys Classic featuring Michigan vs. Alabama.”

On its website, WKDH wrote, “It is with extreme regret, remorse, and disappointment that we must make the following announcement. Due to financial conditions in recent years, effective at 11:59 p.m. on August 31, 2012, WKDH will terminate operations for the foreseeable future.”

Matt Laubhan Named Chief Meteorologist at WTVA

Matt Laubhan has been named chief meteorologist at WTVA in Tupelo, MS. The NBC-affiliate announced the move this week, saying that Laubhan would become the first and only certified meteorologist in northern Mississippi.

“Dozens of meteorologists applied for this opportunity, but in the end we kept coming back to Matt,” said WTVA news director Jeff Houston. “His passion and knowledge for weather is obvious to anyone who talks to him.”

Laubhan, who is currently the chief meteorologist at KLBK in Lubbock, TX, will succeed WTVA’s longtime weather chief Dick Rice. The station announced in December that Rice, who has been with WTVA for 31 years, would be scaling back his duties, becoming chief meteorologist emeritus.

Laubhan is perhaps best know, at least nationally, for proposing to his girlfriend, KAMC anchor Emily Leonard, during a newscast. Read more