Veteran JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com News Director Lou Baxter announced plans to retire from the day-to-day management of news operations of the Erie TV and digital platforms effective August 27.
Lou Baxter has worked at JET 24/FOX 66 for 41 years, serving as news director of the local Nexstar station for the last 17 years. He followed in the footsteps of previous news directors Bob Sutherland, Eric Johnson, Chris Huston, and others. He spent the first 24 years reporting and anchoring FOX 66.
In making his announcement Tuesday, Baxter said, “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished over the years. I was fortunate to manage, lead, and inspire a talented team of broadcast and digital journalists. My mission was to keep us the TV news leader in northwestern Pennsylvania and we’ve done that. As I leave this newsroom, JET 24 Action News and Good Morning Erie are #1 in every newscast, every day! ” He added, “While I’ll miss having my finger on the pulse of everything going on and mentoring young journalists launching their careers, it’s time to do some other things.”
During his news leadership, JET 24/FOX 66 won numerous awards and recognition for its news coverage from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In his final year as ND, the JET 24/FOX 66 team was recognized for having the best Breaking News coverage in the state, for it’s coverage of the Black Lives Matter protest in May of 2020.
Over his career, Baxter has reported from the White House, Capitol Hill, Pearl Harbor and every corner of the tri-state region.
He began his broadcast news career at 17, reporting for WWYN Radio. After graduating from Edinboro State College, he joined WRIE Radio as a news anchor and reporter.
In 1980, he responded to an invitation to join the newly rebranded JET 24 Action News team. It was a small group that included anchors Don Shriver, Joey Stevens, John Evans, and reporters Cyndy Patton and Steve Drexler.
Along with the rest of the news team, this group propelled the markets #3 rated TV newscast into the region’s most watched local television news. Baxter went on to become the first live morning show anchor, and the first weekend anchor in the station’s history.
While Baxter is moving aside to make a news management opportunity available for someone new, he’s not leaving JET24/FOX66 viewers, work colleagues or the community behind. Baxter has agreed to continue in a new role, coordinating special projects for the TV stations and YourErie.com.
“I can’t say stick a fork in it, because I’m not done yet,” Baxter said with a smile. “My new limited role will allow me the freedom to spend more time at home with family, which includes 11 grandchildren, to travel, and to do some things we’ve always wanted to do. One of those things might be to sleep most days until I’m done!”
JET 24 VP/GM Julie Zoumbaris said of Baxter’s decision and changing roles, “I’ve enjoyed watching Lou’s leadership and am delighted he’s staying on to continue the station’s legacy in serving Erie. He’ll continue to be an important part of the fabric of the station and our community.”
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