LEXINGTON, Ky. — One of Lexington’s longest-tenured news anchors has announced his plans to retire at the end of August 2020.
Kevin Christopher has been a mainstay behind the desk for LEX18’s evening and late news since 2000. Along with co-anchor Nancy Cox and Chief Meteorologist Bill Meck, the trio comprises the longest running news team in Lexington TV, having shared 20 years together on the air.
“This has been a great run, and the most rewarding time in my 40 years in broadcasting,” said Christopher. “I’ve been blessed to spend the last half of my television news career at LEX18, and to leave our main anchor team and my many colleagues not only in the newsroom, but in every department of this great station, has been a very tough decision. I’ll be taking some vacation time as there is much to do to get ready for retirement life, but I hope our viewers will be watching during the last few weeks in August when I return to the air for some final goodbyes.”
“I want to thank Kevin for the countless contributions he’s made to LEX 18 during his 20 years of service to our station and our community,” said LEX18 News Director Brian Neal. “We will miss his guidance, leadership, and trusted voice on the anchor desk. We wish him many years of health and happiness in retirement.”
Nancy Cox spoke of her two decades working with Kevin. “Together, the LEX 18 team established something over the past 20 years that is rare in television these days. I want to thank Kevin for his commitment to the mission we started and accomplished, to reach our community with service and information to help them build better lives.”
“When you think of a news anchor, you think Kevin Christopher,” said Meck. “His news sense and knowledge, along with his leadership, have helped guide us. For 20 years we’ve been a team. For 20 years we’ve watched each other’s kids grow up. For 20 years he’s been my friend. On the first day of his retirement … I’ll miss my friend. But, I’m happy for my friend to be able to go and enjoy many more years with his family.”
During Christopher’s two decades in Lexington, LEX18 moved from a weak #2 in the ratings to a neck-and-neck competitor with WKYT. “We were all focused on one mission — to unseat WKYT as the market’s top choice for TV news,” said Christopher. “And year by year, we kept building momentum.”
The 6 p.m. news co-anchored by Christopher finally overtook WKYT in 2004. “But for me, it all culminated in May of 2012, when we finally posted the highest household ratings in every newscast, from morning to late night.”
And how did the LEX18 News team celebrate? “We had some ice cream and went back to work,” laughed Christopher.
Covering the Kentucky Derby will always be one of Christopher’s highlights at LEX18. “I will always remember the 2001 Kentucky Derby, my first. It was NBC’s first year of Derby coverage, and LEX 18’s first time bringing our viewers all day coverage of the ‘Run for The Roses.’ I wrote, produced and narrated what would be the first of 18 Derby Opens I would do over the years. Setting the scene for our viewers on Derby Day will remain one of the high points of my broadcast career.”
LEX18 VP/GM Andrew Shenkan noted that “Kevin’s announcement of his retirement is bittersweet as he has been such an integral part of our news team and this community for over two decades. No doubt, he will be missed by his all colleagues at the station and by the viewers here in Kentucky. We want to wish him the very best in his next chapter in life.”
Christopher’s 40-year career in television began in the spring of 1980, when he signed on as the sports anchor for Turner Broadcasting’s TBS Evening News. For the next seven years he was the main TBS Sports studio anchor for Atlanta Braves baseball, Atlanta Hawks basketball, NBA basketball, SEC College football and the Sunday night Coors Sports Page highlight show, as well as a contributor to CNN and Headline News.
While at TBS, Christopher produced and reported “When the Cheering Stops” an in-depth story on former Miami Dolphins star Mercury Morris, who was convicted and imprisoned under Florida’s ‘minimum mandatory’ drug law. The report not only earned Christopher his first Emmy, “but more importantly,” he said, “the findings from that story were later introduced in Morris’ appeal … and he was eventually released from prison for time served.”
During the 1990’s Christopher did double duty as an anchor and national correspondent for Washington DC’s Sports News Network, Sports Director for New York’s WLNY-TV, and columnist for the Asbury Park Press, the second largest daily newspaper in his home state of New Jersey. In 1995, he made the move to television news full-time as a bureau chief and evening anchor at Cablevision’s 24-hour news channel, News 12 New Jersey.
In March of 1997 Christopher headed to Florida’s capital to help resurrect the news division at WTWC-NBC 40 in Tallahassee. He spent over three years there as main anchor, managing editor, political talk show host, before joining LEX18 in October 2000.
As for his immediate future, Christopher plans on keeping things simple — and relaxed. “It’s a good time to get lost in the Tropics, brush up on my sailing and saltwater fishing skills, and reduce my wardrobe to shorts, T-shirts and deck shoes.”