KTLA’s new incoming general manager was announced Thursday, and outgoing longtime station leader Don Corsini passed the symbolic “baton” to her.
The Los Angeles station’s parent company, Nexstar Media Group, announced that Janene Drafs will be KTLA’s new vice president and general manager, and she appeared before staff shortly before noon.
Soon after Drafs was introduced, she joined Corsini in a surprise appearance on KTLA’s online-only show 5 Live. A can of hair-styling product stood in as the symbolic baton that Corsini handed to Drafs.
“Your baton is the hairspray. It’s the most TV thing of all,” 5 Live host Andy Riesmeyer commented.
Drafs comes to Los Angeles from Seattle’s KOMO, where she started as an entry-level account executive in 1992 and steadily rose through the ranks. In 2012, she was named GM of the ABC-affiliated station, which is part of a Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned duopoly with Univision affiliate KUNS.
“My path through sales, programming, operations, and management has provided me with the kind of on-the-job experience one must possess to lead a station like the local powerhouse that is KTLA, and I am grateful to Nexstar for giving me this opportunity,” Drafs said in a statement released by Nexstar.
Drafs will be KTLA’s first female leader. She takes over at KTLA on Feb. 10, and will report to Brian Jones, chief operating officer of Irving, Texas-based Nexstar.
“Janene is the perfect choice to take the reins of leadership at KTLA-TV,” Jones said. “Through strategic vision and determined leadership, Janene has successfully met every challenge that she’s encountered. … I am looking forward to working with her as she guides KTLA-TV in the years to come.”
Drafs’ attended the University of Washington. She has two daughters with her husband, Steve Gahler. She plans to relocate to the L.A. area soon.
Corsini, an icon in the Los Angeles television news business, is retiring after some five decades in the market. He has been at KTLA since 2009.