A legend among giants: Remembering Kenny Boles

It’s now been a year since KLTV & KTRE lost our longtime news director, Kenny Boles, who was called home unexpectedly in 2018 after a short battle with cancer. His impact in the lives and careers of so many of my colleagues keeps Kenny in the forefront of what we do each day.

A plaque honoring Kenny’s life stands sentinel at our building’s main entrance. The smile on his face is an ever-present reminder of how proud he was of KLTV and fiercely passionate about the success of our team.

The plaque’s inscription reads,

David Kenny Boles was an exceptional newsman. Over four decades, this visionary news executive mentored generations of young journalists.

Kenny began his career at age 17 at KTRE-TV in Lufkin, Texas on the floor crew. Something of a prodigy, he jumped 100 markets in just two years to become the night-shift police reporter for Houston’s KPRC-TV in 1973.

Kenny moved up quickly to news producer, investigative reporter, and anchorman. Still in his twenties, he decided to shift from reporting the news to managing the coverage as Executive News Producer at KDFW in Dallas. Then, WLS in Chicago, WESH in Orlando, and KNBC in Los Angeles. He had the uncanny gift to be where major news was happening, and mastered the art of telling the news of the day.

In 1996, he became News Director for KLTV in Tyler, Texas, revealing what will be his legacy. While molding the station into an award-winning powerhouse, his newsroom became a classroom for journalists eager to do the job with integrity and compassion.

In 2016, he was asked how broadcast news must change in an all-digital world. The “Newsroom of the Future” radically re-imagined how it should be done. “East Texas Now” launched with great success in January of 2018.

Kenny was proud to be inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Lone Star Silver Circle in 2016. The award recognized a lifetime well lived as a journalist, leader, and mentor.

David Kenny Boles, gone too soon at age 63, passed away in 2018.

I know many of us often find ourselves asking, “How would Kenny have approached this story or solved this problem?” He’d probably argue that we give him too much credit, but the facts paint a unmistakably clear picture.

So many admirable qualities made him that ‘exceptional individual.’ Though, the one thing I’ll always respect about about him — he constantly stressed the importance of putting ‘family first’ in this business. It was so evident he believed that with every fiber of his being. Kenny never missed an opportunity to remind us of that, both in word and in deed.

I’ll be forever grateful for Kenny’s bringing me into the KTRE & KLTV “family” 10 years ago, when he rescued me from my first TV job in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was at the genesis of so many profound career opportunities set into motion for me. Looking back, I’m amazed by how much he invested in teaching me and always challenging me to grow. But at the end of the day, there was nothing more satisfying than a Kenny Boles “well done.”

In the year since his passing, I’ve heard so many stories from colleagues, past and present. And I’m not at all surprised by how many that sound just like mine. I thought it would be a bit unsettling to think about a newsroom without Kenny. Turns out, it’s not been difficult to spot Kenny reflected by so many others. It’s obvious he lived to share his passion with others.

I can’t help but think of Nelson Henderson’s words, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

A life well-lived, Kenny Boles. The shade feels great. God bless you.

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Gray Television. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2019 Lane Luckie

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