KATV has named Pine Bluff native Ryan Houston and former Fox 16 weekend anchor Cassandra Webb to join meteorologist Melinda Mayo on the anchor desk of Channel 7’s “Daybreak” news program.
Houston, who recalls his grandmother watching KATV regularly in his childhood, is a weekend anchor and reporter at WPXI in Pittsburgh and has worked in Cincinnati; Jackson, Mississippi; and two stations in Georgia.
Webb, an award-winning reporter with experience in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, California, is a former schoolteacher who got her master’s degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in an earlier stint when her husband was flying C-130s out of Little Rock Air Force Base.
Both said joining Daybreak resembled a homecoming.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that I’d have the opportunity to work for the TV station my grandmother Myrtle Houston watched faithfully,” Houston said in a news release. “Anytime a storm or anything was happening, she turned to KATV to learn more about what was happening in our city. I understand the privilege and the honor that comes with working for Channel 7 and the people of Central Arkansas. It's a job I take seriously and will work every day to gain the trust of Arkansans.”
He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and has a degree from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Webb, who spent time raising her family while following her husband’s moves for his military career, lived in Arkansas from 2005 to 2012 and went to work at Fox 16 about a year ago.
She called it a “true honor to continue the legacy of KATV Daybreak” and said she was thrilled to work with “beloved local talent like Ryan Houston and Melinda Mayo,” as well as the entire Channel 7 team.
"It's a true honor to continue the legacy of KATV Daybreak," Webb said. "I am thrilled to work alongside respected and beloved local talent like Ryan Houston and Melinda Mayo, as well as the rest of the Channel 7 team. “My family and I chose to plant our roots in central Arkansas for a reason: we love the people here. I'll never take for granted the privilege it is to serve this community by starting their mornings with relevant stories and hopefully, a smile or two."
The veteran Mayo has been with Channel 7 since 1996.
KATV General Manager Mark Rose praised the new team members in the release, saying their experience “will help us continue to grow and tell the stories of Arkansans.”
Houston’s first day morning on “Daybreak” will be Jan. 16; Webb will start sometime in February, the station said.
The two are filling positions formerly held by Chris Kane and Alyson Courtney. Kane left the station in August after a dozen years on the air. Courtney, who joined the KATV in March 2011, departed in April.