FIRST ON THE BLOG: KUSA has dominated the 4:00pm timeslot for decades as part of its winning formula. However, one TV station wants to try to stop KUSA from doing so and we’ll give it to them… as a birthday present. Surprise!
For the first time since the 7:00pm move in 2009, KWGN 2 will be adding a new newscast and it will be a one-hour weekday newscast at 4:00pm with Channel 2 News at 4:00. The new newscast is scheduled to debut on Monday July 18th, KWGN’s 64th anniversary. And on that day, KWGN will be getting two presents: a new newscast and the return of a Denver broadcasting legend.
He’s baaaack!!! After being away for 1 and a 1/2 years at KYTX 19 (CBS) in Tyler – Longview, Mike Landess is returning to his home in Denver and will help anchor KWGN 2’s new hour-long weekday newscast at 4:00pm as well as the current hour-long 7:00pm newscast that the station’s had since 2009. He will anchor both newscasts with Deborah Takahara with FOX 31 and Channel 2 Pinpoint Weather from Meteorologist Matt Makens, who is a newcomer at KWGN 2 and comes from KMGH 7 (ABC).
As I’ve mentioned before, Landess is a Denver broadcasting legend with more than 50 years of experience, nearly 30 of those on the anchor desk at KUSA 9 (NBC) with whom he anchored with Ed Sardella (who’s now retired) and then later at KMGH 7 (ABC) with whom he most famously worked with Anne Trujillo. According to KWGN.com, he has been honored with more than two-dozen Emmys, including five for Best Anchor, five Edward R. Murrow Awards and was part of a team that was awarded a Peabody for wildfire coverage.
KWGN’s new anchor and Denver broadcasting legend, Mike Landess:
“My motto is ‘Be where you’re supposed to be’and the opportunity to be with friends and colleagues at KWGN called my name. I love what I do and it is a blessing to be able to do it in a community I care about so much.”
KWGN 2 and KDVR 31’s Vice President and General Manager, Joan Barrett:
“Mike is an iconic anchor who understands the issues and the audience in the Denver metro area. I’m confident he and Deb will make a fantastic team since she too has deep roots in our community. We are proud of KWGN’s history as the first television station in Colorado and we look forward to continuing to build a team and news product that puts Coloradans first.”
According to KWGN 2’s website at KWGN.com, Channel 2 News at 4:00 will feature stories that highlight the communities and people who make Colorado unique. Chief Meteorologist Dave Fraser, anchor Mike Barz and reporter Kevin Torres will play regular roles in the 4:00pm newscast and Channel 2 News Daybreak’s Kim Posey, meteorologist Chris Tomer and traffic reporter Heather Mills will also regularly contribute stories.
KWGN 2’s Vice President of News and Digital Content, Holly Gauntt:
“Having grown up in Colorado, I know how important KWGN is to our community. It’s part of our fabric. And it’s time to increase our news footprint. I can’t think of a better way to do that than by adding newscasts that are anchored by journalists with deep roots and a strong understanding of our community. And I can’t think of a stronger team than Mike, Deborah, Matt, Dave, Kevin and Kim. We are making a huge commitment to KWGN and our newscasts on that channel. We feel they’ve been neglected. We want to go back to that station’s roots as the first television station in Colorado and one of the original Independent television stations in the country.”
According to The Denver Post, this is part of a long-term goal which is to return KWGN 2 to its former glory, rather than regarding it as an afterthought, the stepsister to KDVR 31.
Again, the newscast will launch on the station’s 64th birthday. The station signed on July 18th, 1952 as Denver’s first television station. KWGN’s long history, according to KWGN.com, ranges from Blinky the Clown to the Colorado Rockies, from the DuMont Network (which was shut down in 1956) to The WB (1995-2006) to the CW (since 2006) and today’s duopoly with KDVR (in existence since 2009). And yes, includes broadcasting local news since 1952.
So happy (early) birthday to KWGN Channel 2! Getting a new newscast and having Mike Landess back to Denver and Colorado? It doesn’t get any better than that for amazing birthday presents. And that’s what its like to be Colorado’s Own for 64 years (1952-present).