Nearly eight months after Brendan Higgins was fired as co-anchor of CBS 11 News This Morning, KTVT/Channel 11 has named his replacement, although it will be nearly an additional three months before we see him.
Russ McCaskey, most recently the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. anchor at KJRH in Tulsa, will join Karen Borta as co-anchor of the 4:30-7 a.m. weekday newscast beginning June 1, the station announced Wednesday afternoon.
Like the Arlington-bred Borta, McCaskey has a lot of DFW in his background. Dallas native, Plano Senior High School graduate, TCU alum.
“Russ is a very skilled journalist with deep Texas roots,” Mike Garber, CBS 11 vice president of news, said in a release. “It’s going to be terrific to have two native North Texans side-by-side on the anchor desk each morning.”
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McCaskey, in the same release: "I am thrilled to be returning home. It's the best possible scenario to be able to do a job you love, in a place you love and as a bonus, be close to family and friends."
McCaskey has been at KJRH a long time — since fall 2000, according to the station’s website. He has also been an anchor-reporter at KWTV in Oklahoma City and at KXII in Sherman. He has been recognized for his work by the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists, and the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. He has also received nine regional EMMY Awards.
According to McCaskey’s KJRH bio, stories he has covered include the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and — not surprisingly for Oklahoma — tornadoes. But he likes to go beyond the regional: “He produced, anchored and reported an award-winning documentary covering the Palestinian/Israeli conflict following a trip to Israel and the West Bank. He also traveled with a national guard unit on a C-17 to Europe the day NATO forces began bombing Kosovo in an effort to drive out the Serbs and restore peace.”
And then there’s this: “Russ was invited to play basketball for the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters. He scored five points and played five minutes.”
McCaskey’s wife, Deb McCaskey, is a former news anchor herself — they were anchoring together at KJRH when 9-11 happened. Ten years later, he remembered that day in this post.
Here’s a composite video that will give you an idea of what to expect from McCaskey. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Jason Allen, who has been filling in as a co-anchor since Higgins was axed in August after being arrested in connection with disorderly conduct in Aspen, Colo., will return to his duties as reporter and continue as a fill-in anchor for the station.
Borta, a 20-year veteran of the station, moved to the morning co-anchor chair in January. Adrienne Bankert, who joined the station in June 2012 as Higgins’ co-anchor, left at the end of 2014.