Our News Crew

If you have any news story ideas contact us at:

Phone: 423.224.2020  |  Fax: 423.224.2005  |  Email: newstips@wkpttv.com

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Jim Bailey

Anchor and Managing Editor

Office: 423.224.2001  |  Newsroom: 423.224.2020  | Fax: 423.224.2005

Emailjim@wkpttv.com

Jim Bailey has spent more than four decades as an award winning journalist, news anchor, news manager and writer.

In January 2012 Jim accepted the challenge to restart new operations at WKPT-TV in Kingsport Tennessee when he became Director of News and Public Affairs. With the re-launch of prime newscasts at the ABC affiliate in March of 2013 he assumed the position of Anchor and Managing Editor.

He previously collaborated with WKPT-TV to produce the Made in Our Hometown reports on manufacturing in the Tri-Cities area, which won ABC’s highest award, The Alpha. Jim spent ten years as Anchor and Managing Editor of WJHL TV in Johnson City and six years in similar positions with WKJG TV in Fort Wayne Indiana.

In addition Jim has worked in his native South Carolina, Tampa Florida, New Orleans Louisiana, Richmond Virginia, Lexington Kentucky, Portland Maine and Colorado Springs Colorado.

Jim is a veteran of the US Army, has also worked in public relations and public affairs, and as an ordained minister worked with the WORSHIP network.

Among the most memorable stories of his career he mentions reporting on events as diverse as the launch of the original space shuttle, the return of John Glenn to space, the visit of Pope John Paul II to America and has covered every presidential campaign since Ronald Reagan’s election. In 2004 Jim was selected for a team of experienced hurricane reporters sent to Tampa Florida to report on the approach and aftermath of Hurricane Charlie.

He has been recognized with awards from the Department of Defense, The Associated Press, Women in Communication, and the Press Club of New Orleans, among others. In 2011 he was a recipient of a Milligan College Leaders in Christian Service Award.

He is active in numerous charities including the Salvation Army, FRIENDS, Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Miracle Network, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Lions Club, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America. He serves as a Deacon of First Christian Church Johnson City.

Jim graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and is a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the United States Defense Information School.

He and his wife Jackie recently celebrated their 32nd anniversary. They have one son, Jay who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Ashton Bishop

Anchor / Reporter

Office: 423.224.2011  |  Newsroom: 423.224.2020  |  Cell: 423.426.3055 | Fax: 423.224.2005

Emailashton@wkpttv.com

Ashton Bishop was selected to Co-Anchor WKPT-TV Evening News alongside Jim Bailey in December of 2013. The promotion allowed her to realize a childhood dream of anchoring the news which she formed watching Katie Couric anchor the Today Show. It was probably an apt career choice for a curious and talkative youngster who frequently brought home “does not stay in her seat” comments on her report cards.

Ashton graduated Gate City High School with honors in 2007, where she was an all state basketball and volleyball player. However it was her 11 State Championships in Track and Field that received Ashton a full scholarship to East Tennessee State University, where she earned a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcasting.

She sought to continue her dream by earning an internship with WKPT-TV in the summer following her graduation from ETSU in 2011. Her work on several summer events such as her live reporting on the Kingsport Independence Day Parade and Funfest led to her addition to the staff the following year to produce and anchor the WKPT AM News Briefs. In August of that year she became the first reporter to be hired for the renewed WKPT-TV News which launched in March of 2013.

Among her notable assignments, coverage of presidential candidate Mitt Romney during his campaign swing through Southwest Virginia and an exclusive interview with Mackenzie Stephens who survived a vicious attack by her family’s dog. A personal story to Ashton because of her love for her own dog Tulsa.

While the affable athlete harbors an ambition to one day report sports for a major network she is happy to broadcast from the WKPT-TV News desk close her parents in Gate City and a younger sister, who plays volleyball for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

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Bob Haywood

Vice President/Local Sales Manager/Sports Director

Office: 423.723.1758  |  Newsroom: 423.224.2020  |  Fax: 423.245.3462

Emailrhaywood@wkptsales.com

Bob Haywood is the Vice President and Local Sales Manager TV for Holston Valley Broadcasting Corporation. Bob grew up in Rogersville, Tennessee where he played baseball and a little basketball at Rogersville High School. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a major in Broadcast Management and Marketing.

Bob began working at ABC 19 WKPT in August of 1979 as a news reporter. A year and a half later Bob became sports director and anchor and held that position for 22 years. It was a dream job for Bob who has a passion for sports. During that time Bob earned numerous ‘Sportscaster of the Year’ awards in the Tri-Cities and started several programs like The Scholar-Athlete of the Week, the Locker Room High School Football Show, and the high school players of the week. Bob started the ultra popular ‘Freaks of the Week’ in the late 1980’s that soon developed a cult following in the Tri-Cities. Called the unusual, the unique, and the outstanding in the world of sports, the Freaks of the Week ran for 498 episodes until local news ended for a period at ABC 19 WKPT in 2002. When news returned to ABC 19 WKPT in March of 2013, Bob also returned to the air with a daily sports minute. And the Freaks of the Week also made a comeback with the Freaks of the Week Flashback every Friday.

Bob is married to Terrie Haywood. He has one son, R.J., four step children, and three grandchildren, Miles, Taryn, and Amaya.

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Joe Reedy

Meteorologist

Office: 423.224.2008  |  Newsroom: 423.224.2020  |  Fax: 423.224.2005

Emailjoe@wkpttv.com

Joe’s love for weather began when he was just six years old when the 1993 Blizzard struck his hometown of Unicoi County. One of his earliest memories is that night with transformers showering the night sky with sparks as they blew from the weight of the snow. The next morning snow drifts were piled higher than his head against the screen door. As a young fellow who loves snow he was simply amazed by the power of the ”Storm of the Century”. Now 20 years later Joe is humbled to be able to live his dream as a broadcast meteorologist for his hometown friends and family who have supported him all of these years. Joe began doing weather research and studying forecasting after that 1993 blizzard. He graduated in 2005 from Unicoi County High School and headed off to the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont for college.

Joe graduated from Lyndon State College in 2009  with a major in television studies, with a meteorology concentration. For two years, Joe was on the board of the American Meteorological Society’s College Chapter and was named, The Community Outreach Officer, traveling to local schools educating students in math and science as well as hosting an annual science fair at Lyndon State College.

Joe was on the board of The Annual Northeastern Storm Conference which is hosted entirely by the LSC-AMS & NWA. This is the largest student-run conference in the nation. Attendance includes individuals from all sectors of meteorology as well as high school, graduate, and undergraduate students.

Joe has provided a local forecast for The Erwin Record for the past decade. Joe joined the ABC 19 News Team in December of 2012.

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Rachel Elvis

Morning Anchor

Newsroom: 423.224.2020  |  Fax: 423.224.2005

Emailrachel@wkpttv.com

Rachel Elvis joins the WKPT ABC 19 team as the anchor of the station’s newest program, Good Morning Tri-Cities. Rachel is a native of Mobile, Alabama where she got her start in broadcasting early in life as a reporter for WKRG Small Fry News. This experience fostered her life-long desire for journalism.

Rachel made her home in the Mississippi Delta for thirteen years prior to moving to East Tennessee in 2013. She spent seven years at ABC WABG TV 6 News in Greenville, Mississippi. Her experience there included five years as the anchor/producer of Good Morning Mississippi and two years as weather anchor/reporter.

While working with WABG, she also became a full-time nursing student. Rachel earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Delta State University in addition to studying Broadcasting at Mississippi Valley State University.

After graduating as a nurse, Rachel continued her broadcasting career. Each weekday morning she would spend the early morning hours on air, then head for a full day’s shift at the local emergency room. She eventually became Charge Nurse.

Rachel also spent 7 years as host of the Delta March of Dimes Telethon, which is the sole remaining March of Dimes Telethons in the nation. She enjoys involving herself in local charities and community outreaches. Health and wellness is a very important platform in her career. She has also won an award with the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters for her health reporting.

Rachel and her husband Jerry will celebrate 26 years of marriage this September! They have two grown sons, Ashton and Taylor who also live in the Tri-Cities. Jerry pastors The Bridge Church located in Bristol, TN.

You may spot Rachel at one of the area’s wonderful parks, trails or 5k races. She loves to be outdoors jogging, bike riding or just taking a leisurely walk. In addition to her duties at WKPT, you may also see her in scrubs at Holston Medical Group where she works as well.

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Jessica Larkin

Morning Anchor

Newsroom: 423.224.2020  |  Fax: 423.224.2005

Emailjessica@wkpttv.com   Twitter@Jess_ABC19

From an early age, Jessica Larkin has had a passion for entertaining people. Whether on stage, at a live event or on camera, Jessica enjoys making people smile. Jessica graduated from Volunteer High School in 2010 with Highest Honors and from East Tennessee State University in December 2013 with a degree in Broadcasting and a Sport Management minor. She has studied Interview and Personal Communication Techniques with Don Baker, a nationally recognized personal interview coach. Jessica’s broadcasting background includes a sports internship with WJHL, and working as a reporter, host, producer, and content manager for ETSU athletics. During her career she has produced ‘Holding Court with Jay Bilas’ and has had the privilege to personally interview several professional athletes and coaches, including NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide drivers Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Kyle Larson; University of Tennessee Football Head Coach Butch Jones and former UT football head coach Phillip Fulmer; notable college basketball coaches Bobby Cremins, Les Robinson, and Sonny Smith.

Having danced since age 4, Jessica has had many years to practice the art of entertainment and watch people smile. She considers it a privilege to have danced in such venues as The Grand Ole Opry, Opryland Hotel, US Junior Olympics, the Miss Tennessee pageant, Carowinds, and Dollywood. Her love of dance and performance allowed her to work for 2 and a half years as a professional clogger and stage personality at a family theater in Pigeon Forge.

Her passion for performance and pride in her community led her to the title of Miss Kingsport 2011, which led her to the responsibility of representing Kingsport at the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant, the state preliminary for the Miss America Pageant. Jessica returned to the Miss Tennessee Pageant in 2013, representing the regional title of Miss Tri Cities. During her pageant preparation, Jessica acted as an advocate for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. Jessica is a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award for outstanding community service, awarded by The Duke, himself and Miss America.

Her passion for sports, especially NASCAR and UT football, and her desire to entertain has led her to her career choice. Jessica aspires to further her career in sports broadcasting and looks forward to launching her career with WKPT-TV ABC 19.

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Anna Kuskin

Reporter

Newsroom: 423.224.2020  | Fax: 423.224.2005

Emailanna@wkpttv.com   Twitter@annakuskin

Anna Kuskin joined the WKPT team in July 2014, and could not be more excited to experience life in Tennessee for the first time. Born and raised in New Jersey, Anna has had a curiosity about the world, and passion for storytelling, from a very young age.

Anna recently graduated with honors from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications, where she majored in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. While attending Syracuse, she minored in both Nutrition and Psychology—two subjects which interest her greatly, as well. Her keen interest in health is why she reports on a health-related topic each week at WKPT-TV.

During her undergraduate career, Anna was always busy, seeking opportunities to learn and grow as a journalist. She completed several prestigious internships—including CNBC in New Jersey, Entertainment Tonight, and Fox News Channel in Los Angeles. She was also a reporter for the student-run television station, and the co-host for Syracuse University’s only morning show, Juice & Java.

When she’s not reporting in the field or in the studio, Anna enjoys singing, running, yoga, cooking, and outdoor adventures. She’s looking forward to living in the Tri-Cities, and hopes to educate and inspire viewers through her work. Feel free to email her with any story ideas, questions, or just to say, “hello.”

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Rachel Downs

Reporter

Newsroom: 423.224.2020  | Fax: 423.224.2005

Email: rachel.downs@wkpttv.com   Twitter@Rachel_ABC19

Rachel Downs joined the ABC 19 news family in September of 2014. She was born and raised in White House, Tennessee.

She is a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee (go Vols!) where she studied Journalism and Political Science. While in school, Rachel reported for her student-run newscast, UT Today.

Rachel began her news career as an intern at WBIR-TV in Knoxville. Shortly after, she was hired as an editor/photojournalist.

She has a passion for storytelling and the South.

Rachel enjoys meeting new people, exploring the outdoors and a good Netflix binge. She’s eager to see what the Tri-Cities have to offer! If you have a story idea, feel free to email or find her on twitter: @Rachel_ABC19.

If you see her around, make sure to say hello!

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