Joel Nichols, popular TV personality at highly-rated KMBC-TV who had celebrated his 25th anniversary in June, has officially left the Kansas City station, sources have confirmed to Bottom Line Communications.
Nichols was known mainly as the morning weather personality, but also did a variety of other interviews and often hosted specials for Hearst-owned KMBC. He was known for his quick wit, relaxed delivery and sense of humor.
In October the station moved its iconic anchorman Larry Moore to “emeritus” status after more than 40 years at KMBC. Combined that is a loss of more than 65 years experience in a few months.
Sources have told BLC that Nichols was offered a new contract and the Hearst-owned station wanted him to sign it before the new year. The sticking point seemed to be Nichols wanted to stay on mornings, but the station wanted to shift him to evenings with veteran meteorologist Bryan Busby.
“The reaction among his colleagues is shock,” a person close to the situation said. ”He’s been a mainstay here and in the market.”
If Nichols decides to remain in the Kansas City market speculation is that he could possibly land at rival KSHB, where Brian Bracco is vice president and general manager. Bracco was a highly respected news director at KMBC and worked with Nichols for about a decade.
In addition to his departure, we have learned that meteorologist Lisa Teachman, who joined the station in 2007, did not have her contract renewed. That means KMBC’s weather center is very short-handed.
The station has reportedly hired a pair of young meteorologists, but one will not start until April. UPDATE: One new meteorologist that has been named is Neville Miller from KMIZ, the ABC affiliate in Columbia, MO.
How popular was Nichols? Despite the Kansas City Star being a day late on the story it is the most read one on the newspaper’s site.