LEX 18 is pleased to announce the hiring of Larry Smith as the new main co-anchor for LEX 18 News. He will join the station's weeknight 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, and 11:00 newscasts starting next month.
Smith replaces longtime WLEX anchor Kevin Christopher, who retired after two decades behind the news desk at LEX 18.
"There is a professional grace, passion, and commitment that is shared among the leadership and team members at LEX 18, and that combination is hard to find in media outlets today," says Smith. "I'm excited to join this winning group and looking forward to becoming a part of the Lexington community."
LEX 18 News Director Brian Neal adds that "Larry brings an impressive resume to Lexington, having anchored at both the local and network level. He made an immediate connection with our newsroom and looks forward to making that same connection with our viewers. We are thrilled to have someone of his caliber and experience covering stories that matter to central Kentuckians."
Many viewers will recognize Larry from his time at CNN and HLN, where he also first worked with LEX 18's Mary Jo Perino. As a sports journalist and correspondent at CNN, he covered multiple Olympics, Super Bowls, NCAA Final Fours, and other major sporting events. Smith was also a freelance studio host for Turner Sports and covered Atlanta Braves baseball, the MLB playoffs, and the NBA.
But Smith is no stranger to local news, having worked at stations in Knoxville, West Palm Beach, Cincinnati, and most recently in Washington, D.C., where he anchored both the morning news and 5:00 p.m. news at WJLA. Smith has been honored with a prestigious Peabody Award and also won a Regional Emmy Award for a Smithsonian Museum special at WJLA.
"We are very privileged to have a fine journalist like Larry join our team," said LEX 18 VP and General Manager Andrew Shenkan. "He brings a tremendous amount of leadership and experience to our newsroom. And Larry has a genuine warmness about him, so it's like having a conversation with your next-door neighbor when you meet him for the first time. There is no doubt that Larry will be a great addition to not only our LEX 18 family but to all of our communities here in the Bluegrass."
"I couldn't be more pleased that Larry will be joining our team at LEX 18," said LEX 18 main anchor Nancy Cox. "We became fast friends and see eye-to-eye about how to best serve central and eastern Kentucky. He has a passion for serving the community as a trusted, reliable source for information, especially in these troubling times. I welcome Larry and his family to Kentucky to share in our mission at LEX 18 for a long time to come."
Smith has been married to his wife, Rita, for 26 years. Their daughter, Jaylen, is a first-year student at Mercer University in Georgia majoring in psychology and Spanish. Their son, Elijah, is a senior in high school and plans to major in journalism. Smith is a native of Mattoon, Illinois, and graduated from Eastern Illinois University.
Smith is a self-professed news junkie with a love of museums, history, and touring historic homes. He loves golf and is proud to say he once hit a hole-in-one.
Smith has two keys to approaching each day: "When you first look in the mirror every morning, you should like what you see and who you are. If not, decide what you will do to change it." And finally, "at the end of your day, ask yourself, what did I do to make a difference?"