(Editor's Note: Due to Patrick's current employment status with KFOR, we felt it would be better to have a different, and much nicer, TLO Contributor cover Linda Cavanaugh's final KFOR broadcast. Here's Peter...)
Linda Cavanaugh retired after 40 years at Channel 4 on Friday night.
Her final show kind of snuck up in spite of a couple of months of constant promos. I didn’t realize Friday was the day until I saw her mention it on Twitter. Considering that wasn’t just a regular Friday night but also when about 90 percent of the people in OKC decided to throw their holiday parties, it was a weirdly quiet time for her to sign off. They probably should have consulted with News 9 and moved the final broadcast to a Thursday.
Maybe that was intentional. After all, Linda Cavanaugh has always been the anchor you could rely on to give the news without too many gimmicks. She had her own voice, but it rarely overpowered the story. And on Friday night she sailed into retirement with as much professionalism and polish as you’d expect. Here are some things you might have missed.
There was a very long montage.
No other station can do a montage the way KFOR does a montage. They already go straight for the emotions with stock music features almost every night. So they knew what to do for Linda’s montage, which was actually split into two versions, the last of which clocked in at more than seven minutes:
For anyone else, I’d say that seems gratuitous, but Linda was the first woman to co-anchor a newscast in OKC and she did it for so long that it felt earned. In fact, this could have been much longer. Trash or Treasure and Strangers in Their Own Land could have had montages of their own.
Joleen Chaney got a pat on the back.
When they made the public announcement about Linda’s plans to retire in October, they also said Joleen Chaney would be taking her place. Then and again on Friday, Linda seemed fine with it. In her final monologue, she made a point to say, “Joleen is ready.” Unfortunately for us, it seems like there won’t be much drama with this transition. No passive aggressive pot shots on Twitter this time.
Joleen did pop-up briefly during the 10 p.m. show to deliver a story on Rodney Anderson and be in a quick shot at the desk with Linda. There was no passing of the torch, but she did get an awkward back pat from Linda as they dropped the charade of this being a normal newscast.
Cherokee Ballard was there.
Cherokee Ballard was once an intern at KFOR who went undercover on a news story for Linda Cavanaugh. Who knew?
KFOR had a lot of send-off messages from the usual batch of local celebrities – Barry Switzer and Mary Fallin, for instance – but Cherokee’s thing was a bit of a surprise.
They named the studio after her.
If Linda choked up at all during her Friday shows, I didn’t see it. She was in full Linda Cavanaugh mode. But she seemed moved in clips of her retirement party earlier in the day as it was announced their fancy new studio would be named after her.
I guess that leaves the Flash Point set for when Kevin leaves. I wonder what Mike Morgan will get.
It’s still weird to picture Channel 4 without Linda Cavanaugh. Her style and the station’s approach to news were perfect for each other, and maybe it was designed that way. I’ll miss seeing her, and I’m a millennial who really only saw her for about half of her time on the OKC airwaves. Feel free to share some Linda Cavanaugh memories in the comments.