Eleven years in the newsroom paid off for Cathie Batbie-Loucks, who last month was promoted to news director at NBC affiliate KVOA Channel 4.
"I'm honored. It's not just a title; it's personal for me," said Batbie-Loucks via e-mail. "I know how hard our team works every day to gather the news and make it meaningful to our viewers, and we will continue to strive for that excellence."
Batbie-Loucks has handled pretty much every behind-the-scenes position in the newsroom, with stints as producer, managing editor, assistant news director and content-management-center director. She also was instrumental in a number of recurring segments, such as "Kristi's Kids" and the "News 4 Lifesavers" summer-drowning-prevention campaign.
Batbie-Loucks also played a major role in KVOA's transition to the MMJ (multi-media journalist) reporting model, in which reporters are required to film and edit their own stories.
"My goal is simple: to be the news organization that all viewers in Southern Arizona count on for balanced news coverage and for the stories that mean the most to them," Batbie-Loucks said. "We work to do that every day, but it's something we have to think about with every story we tackle."
Beyond Batbie-Loucks' promotion, KVOA has plans to hire more newsroom personnel.
Meanwhile, KVOA's search for a station manager continues. Kathleen Choal—also previously promoted from within at KVOA, from news director to station manager—accepted a position inside parent company Cordillera Communications as general manager of KSBY TV in San Luis Obispo, Calif., thus bringing a conclusion to her five-year stint in Tucson.
"If you think of the people who worked here and went on to bigger and better markets, that's really fulfilling for me," said Choal. "I've had a great staff over the years, and I'm proud of the folks who improved their careers. It's really gratifying to know we've given them such a good background that they could go to that next level. That's really cool.
"We've gotten to do a lot of things. We went to HD 2 1/2 years ago. We've had success in the ratings. All those things are great, but more important than anything else has been working with a really terrific group of people."
Choal replaced another KVOA alum, Evan Pappas, who now handles GM duties for a Cordillera TV station in Colorado Springs.
"I love Tucson. This is a great place to live," Choal said. "For my daughter, this is the only place she knows. I have loved living in Tucson. It's been terrific. I'll miss it, but I'm really excited about this next chapter of my life. I've gotten the best of both worlds, here and in my new challenge. I'm really fortunate. I'm really a lucky person."