Forecast: No more Watts for KHSL

Well, it’s official: Longtime KHSL meteorologist Anthony Watts is winding up his tenure on the air.

Watts’ last day will be Friday, Feb. 1, said station News Director Scott Howard. The official reason for Watts’ departure is to allow him to devote full-time efforts toward building ItWorks, his software company.

Rumors that Watts planned to leave the station, though, have been circulating for months. KHSL, along with KNVN (the stations are operated by the same management company), is in the middle of a major personnel shuffle, and Watts is only the most recent in a long line of on-air personalities to leave.

He is also one of the most senior staff members to leave. Watts started at KHSL in 1987 and was the station’s first certified meteorologist.

New weatherman Dave Van Ore will take over for Watts starting this weekend, Howard said. That’s hardly the only personnel change in the works, though. KNVN anchor Christianne Klein’s last day on the air will be Friday, Feb. 1, and KHSL anchor Crista Evans, who is currently on maternity leave, doesn’t plan on coming back full time, Howard said.

He declined to discuss the terms of Klein’s departure, other than to confirm that she had been on contract and to say that she is leaving amicably. Evan Michael, who currently anchors for KNVN, is transferring to the station’s Redding office, and Matt Keller will start anchoring for both stations on Monday.

Eventually, the stations will scrap their separate broadcasts and start simulcasting their evening news shows (something they’re already doing for both the morning news shows and the weekend late news), but first they will stagger the broadcasts to avoid allowing the shows to compete against each other for viewers.

To that end, starting Monday KNVN will air news shows at 5 and 6 p.m., and KHSL will broadcast at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. The national CBS Evening News will air at 6 p.m., and the NBC Nightly News will air at 5:30 p.m., Howard said. And the weekday late news will be simulcast on both stations.

"I guess you could say that we’re heading in a different direction," Howard said. "…It’s all pretty crazy right now."