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KOAT-TV names new president and general manager

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Lori Waldon, Hearst’s regional director of news and news director at Hearst stations in Sacramento, Calif., has been named the new president and general manager of KOAT, succeeding Mary Lynn Roper, who retired Nov. 9. (Photo courtesy Hearst Television)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque’s KOAT-TV, Channel 7, has a new woman at the helm.

On Monday, Hearst Television, which owns ABC affiliate KOAT, announced that Lori Waldon, Hearst’s regional director of news and longtime news director at Hearst stations KCRA and KQCA in Sacramento, Calif., has been named president and general manager of KOAT.

Her appointment is effective Jan. 1. Waldon succeeds Mary Lynn Roper, who officially retired Nov. 9 after 41 years at the station, 25 of them as general manager.

Roper, as a woman, accomplished firsts as an on-air anchor and then as a member of management. Waldon will be the first black woman to head a major TV station in the Albuquerque market, according to the New Mexico Broadcasters Association.

“I am absolutely delighted,” Roper said Monday. “I hold Lori Waldon in the highest regard. She’s an excellent journalist, a fair manager, insightful, instinctive, fun and a true leader.”

In Waldon’s previous position as regional director of news, “she had the extra global view of news trends and what was working across the nation,” Roper said, “and she helped with the oversight of our news department, so she has intimate knowledge of KOAT’s news operation. I’m excited about this. It was my baby, my life for a long time, so this is fantastic news.”

Waldon, who was traveling Monday, could not be reached for comment.

In a press release, Jordan Wertlieb, Hearst Television president, praised Waldon, saying, “Lori is an accomplished, award-winning journalist with an outstanding record of leadership.

“Lori brings the experience, skills and reputation to build upon the exceptional work of Mary Lynn and the KOAT team,” he said.

Under Waldon’s leadership, NBC affiliate KCRA in Sacramento earlier this year received a National Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall News Excellence. Before that, the station won five consecutive regional Murrow Awards for Overall News Excellence and a 2015 national Murrow Award for Breaking News, among many other honors.

At WISN-TV, a Hearst-owned ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, Waldon was Wisconsin’s first black news director, according to Hearst. She led that station to news-ratings leadership and a national Murrow Award for Best Newscast.

Waldon holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University.

Waldon has served on the NBC News Directors Task Force, chaired the ABC News Directors Advisory Board, is a visiting faculty member at The Poynter Institute for Journalism Studies and is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

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