January 2, 2014

Longtime weatherman Joel Nichols leaves KMBC

KMBC Channel 9 news director Sherrie Brown confirmed Thursday that longtime weatherman Joel Nichols has left the station.

Joel Nichols, whose career as a Kansas City weatherman spans a quarter century, has left KMBC Channel 9.

Station news director Sherrie Brown confirmed Nichols’ departure Thursday, saying that the decision to leave was his own. His final day with KMBC was Tuesday.

“Our goal was to keep him, but he decided not to continue,” Brown said.

Nichols’ exit marks KMBC’s second high-profile talent change since November, when longtime anchor Larry Moore, who had spent 40 years with Channel 9, stepped down to take an anchor emeritus position at the station. Moore is still expected to appear periodically on KMBC newscasts.

Brown declined to discuss the specifics of Nichols’ departure — “it would be inappropriate to talk specifics,” she said — but a source familiar with the situation told The Star that Nichols’ exit stemmed from a contract issue.

Though Nichols was offered a new contract, the source said, it called for him to leave his customary morning broadcast in favor of KMBC’s early-evening newscasts, where he would work alongside chief meteorologist Bryan Busby.

Requests for comment to Nichols were not immediately returned.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Nichols joined KMBC in 1988 after serving as a weather anchor and feature reporter for Madison’s WMTV. During his time in Kansas City, Nichols also served as part of News Radio 980 KMBZ’s morning news team and taught broadcast journalism at Johnson County Community College.

His segment “Afterwords” included interviews with visiting celebrities, including Rush Limbaugh, Ellen DeGeneres and Drew Carey.

According to the KMBC website, the station’s weather team consists of Busby, Erin Little and Lisa Teachman.

“We did everything we could to keep him,” Brown said. “But in the end, we honor his decision. His contributions on air and off air will always be a part of our station’s legacy, so we thank him.”

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