News Director, WYMT
I grew up in Perry County, and graduated from Hazard High School in 1995. I was a member of the award winning Hazard Band of Gold. My parents and many of my immediate family members still live in Eastern Kentucky. I've always been interested in news. One of the first memories of my childhood was watching the coverage of the assassination attempt on President Reagan. I could watch CNN for hours and hours and was fascinated by the coverage of stories such as the Gulf War. I dreamed back then of being a news reporter and now I'm living that dream.
I attended Eastern Kentucky University and graduated in 1999 with a major in broadcasting and a minor in history. While in college, I was a disc jockey on the campus radio station and a reporter and anchor for Madison County Cable News. In the summer of 1998, I obtained an internship at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida.
Despite having some great professors in college, nothing prepared me for the "real world" like the internship work I did at WYMT. I grew up watching WYMT and could probably name every anchor and reporter that's worked here. When I was only a high school junior and 17-years-old, Tony Turner let me intern at the station. I did this for five summers in a row and the experience I gained was invaluable.
I started working full-time at WYMT two weeks after graduating from college in May, 1999. I started out as a reporter and co-anchor for Mountain News at 11. In 2002, I started anchoring the 6:00 news. A few years later we started First at 4 and I also anchor that newscast. I also host our Issues and Answers program on most Mondays. I've been lucky to have the opportunity to work with several wonderful co-anchors... beginning with Susannah Sizemore, and followed by Jill Hammond, Amber Philpott, Stacy McCloud, Cassie Safrit, my cousin Danielle Smoot, Marie Luby, Angie Beavin, Katie Roach, Morgan Lentes and Angela Reighard. I've been fortunate enough to win several Associated Press awards for my work. One of the biggest highlights of my career came in 2013, when I accepted the station's first regional Emmy award along with former weatherman and producer Brandon Robinson for our coverage of the 2012 tornado outbreak. I'm especially proud of some special projects I've tackled, like a series on the 1957 flood, the 1958 Floyd County school bus crash and our Mountain Cold Case series in 2008.
After nearly 14 years of working at night, I changed shifts in March, 2013 to concentrate more on my role as news director. I’m truly honored to be the news director at the station in my hometown. I hope to continue the tradition of excellence demanded by those before me in this position.
One of the things I love about this job is that I get to do a little bit of everything, and it's never boring! Many of us owe a lot to the late Tony Turner, who gave me my start in this business. I never thought I would be sitting in his chair on the 6:00 news. Many of us here thought of him as a mentor and a second father. He was those things to me and I still miss his presence. Even though he's been gone since his untimely death in 2002, we are trying to honor his memory by working hard and making WYMT the best television station in the mountains.
When I find some spare time, I'm usually pretty lazy! I enjoy being with family and friends, surfing the web, watching television, and sleeping! I'm also a member of First Baptist Church in Hazard.
I love eastern Kentucky and its people. Thank you for allowing me to come into your living rooms every night. I enjoy hearing from viewers so feel free to e-mail me anytime! You can also follow me on twitter and facebook.