After nearly 10 years anchoring the WTVQ-TV Channel 36 morning news, Doug High signed off on Friday. High announced Thursday that the 9 a.m. newscast for the Lexington ABC TV affiliate would be his last.
He has been named director of the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation in Frankfort, which he called “his dream job.” He starts Monday.
“Obviously, I’m leaving with mixed emotions. It’s bittersweet. But I’m excited about next chapter,” High said.
“It’s interesting how it came together. My day here ends at 10 a.m. and I spend rest of day either producing documentaries for KET or consulting,” High said. “I’ve being doing consulting for the Kentucky Historical Society and I always though I wanted to run it when I was done. But then this wonderful opportunity came up.”
He will be working with the historical society in the Thomas D. Clark Museum in Frankfort. “We’re there to raise money for the historical society, to create opportunities and partnerships,” he said. “Because of my skill set, I am going to be helping them with programming, producing and finding the revenue. In that regard, it’s not that different from what doing for years.”
High’s independent documentary film company, High Impact Products, which produced the Emmy-winning “Belle Brezing” for KET, will be finishing a half-hour documentary series for KET and then he will close up shop.
“History was my first passion, what led me to broadcasting. So I feel like I’m coming full circle,” he said. “But waking up at 2:30 or 3 in the morning is a game for the young,” said High, who is turning 50 this year.
High moved to Lexington from WNWO-TV in Toledo, Ohio in December 1999 to work at WKYT-TV. In 2002 he became general manager of Wrigley Media Group (formally Post Time Studios) before joining WTVQ-TV in December 2009 as a weekend anchor, according to the news release.
He was promoted to the morning slot in 2010 and has anchored “Good Morning Kentucky,” weekdays from 5 to 7 a.m. and “Good Day Kentucky” at 9 a.m. ever since.
His co-anchors during his tenure have included Kristi Runyon, Lauren Gawthrop, and Katie Solove. Erica Bivens joined the morning newscasts with him in January.
“I’ve been blessed to have worked with some amazing co-anchors, meteorologists, reporters and producers who have become lifelong friends,” High said. “Anchoring the morning news at WTVQ has truly been the greatest professional joy of my career to date. The honor and privilege were never lost on me, nor the responsibility. I will miss the news desk, my colleagues and our viewers, fiercely.”
“Make no mistake that we will miss Doug in the morning,” said Chris Aldridge, WTVQ-TV general manager, in a statement. “For almost 10 years he’s been an important part of the ABC 36 family. On a personal note, I could not be happier for Doug. I can’t think of anyone in the Commonwealth who is better suited to run this important organization than Doug High.”
High plans to stay in the U.S. Naval Reserve, where he serves as a Commander. He took a leave from his post in 2017 when he was called to active duty in Afghanistan. He returned to the air in January 2018 a decorated veteran.
Viewers may still see High as a “fill-in” anchor and his wife, Lyssa High, will continue to be a lifestyle correspondent for “Good Day Kentucky” at 9 a.m. They previously co-hosted “Midday Kentucky” at noon together for a year.
“I will really miss working with my wife on ‘Good Day,’” High said in a release. “We absolutely loved the on-air collaboration and our viewers did, as well. I’ll be cheering her on from the sidelines as her biggest fan since we met in 1995.”
High does not rule out returning to local television full time someday.
“I’m staying in the family. That place has been home for a decade. I couldn’t figure out how to walk away cold turkey,” he said.”We love working together, so I’m going to keep the key to the door and stay as a fill-in anchor. When they need someone for weekends, mornings, I’m the on-call guy. “
But he’s looking forward to how a new schedule will let him spend more time with his sons Jackson, 14, and Harrison, 9.
“Ultimately I think I’m going to be a more present husband and father,” High said.