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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

Weekend co-anchor Mollie Lair leaving WLWT-TV

Mollie Lair and Courtis Fuller
Courtesy Mollie Lair
Mollie Lair in the WLWT-TV newsroom with Courtis Fuller, her weekend co-anchor since hired in 2017.

WLWT looking for a new weekend co-anchor and traffic reporter after departures of Alanna Martella and Lair.

After five years, Mollie Lair is dropping the mic and "taking a break from this crazy news life."

The Kentucky native, hired as Courtis Fuller's weekend evening co-anchor in August 2017, announced on social media that she's leaving the station this week.

"This role has defined much of my life since 2017," says Lair, a 2011 Elon University graduate. "It is a bittersweet moment to put down the microphone. After all, this job is all I’ve known my entire adult life. I’m thrilled for a new chapter filled with new challenges."

Lair tells me that she's staying in Cincinnati after her final day at Channel 5 on Wednesday Aug. 10.

"As far as my TV career, I am excited to explore another opportunity and I am undecided on whether I may eventually return to TV," she says. Lair also echoed her social media posts in telling me that she's "grateful for the years with Courtis and the opportunity to learn from someone of his caliber."

Her departure leaves Branden Frantz, WLWT-TV president and general manager, with two vacancies to fill as the start of a new TV season on Sept. 19 approaches. Traffic reporter Alanna Martella left July 29 to move to Boston with boyfriend Michael Parman, who's starting a one-year sports medicine fellowship at New England Baptist Hospital.

Fuller, her co-anchor for five years, says that "from the moment Mollie arrived at WLWT and we did a practice run on the anchor desk I've been her biggest fan. When that camera light goes on she doesn’t miss a beat," he says.

"What impressed me the most is how quickly she learned this community and how viewers connected with her. She is an excellent journalist who is smart and caring. She also has a great sense of humor and laughed at my jokes. Of course viewers know that Mollie is a huge University of Kentucky sports fan – and watching her watch a basketball or football game is priceless," he says.

Mollie Lair and Courtis Fuller 8-9-22 from Courtis.jpg
Courtesy Courtis Fuller
Courtis Fuller sent me one of his favorite photos with Mollie Lair at the WLWT-TV anchor desk.

"I know she gave considerable thought to this decision. Although I will miss working with her I am happy for Mollie and she has my full support as a friend," Fuller says. "I was hoping to say all of this during what would have been our final newscast this past Sunday but of course the breaking news of the weekend changed all of that."

Lair worked two years in Parkersburg, W. Va., before going to KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau, Mo., for nearly four years. She interned for the CBS Evening News in New York and for NBC News in London while attending Elon University in North Carolina.

She missed her last opportunity to co-anchor with Fuller on Sunday due to Channel 5's coverage of the Over-the-Rhine shootings. This is the message she posted Sunday night:

"LIFE UPDATE: Today is my final shift as weekend evening anchor at WLWT. Due to breaking news, I won’t be at the desk with Courtis, but I wanted to mark the end of five years of sharing the anchor desk with a legend. This role has defined much of my life since 2017.

"It is a bittersweet moment to put down the microphone. After all, this job is all I’ve known my entire adult life. I’m thrilled for a new chapter filled with new challenges, but am emotional about giving up the seat beside Courtis. He is a journalist to his core. He is driven, kind and incredibly generous with his time. I have not met anyone more involved in their community outside work. He is a mentor to all in the newsroom and truly someone we all admire. He was my welcoming committee, cherished colleague and is a dear friend. And it has been my great honor to spend weekends anchoring with him.

"We love our small, but mighty weekend crew who always get things done. I’m blessed to walk away with many wonderful friendships that I know will last outside the newsroom walls. It’s a tough job and we truly rely on one another to get through each day. Thanks to production teams, producers, web, desk, photogs, reporters, anchors and managers who have been more family than friend.

"I have three more days at WLWT before taking a break from this crazy news life. Thanks for watching and sharing your stories."

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.