Robert Kekaula and Paula Akana have been named the new weeknight 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. anchors at KITV effective Feb. 13, the station announced today, the first day of the February Nielsen TV ratings period.
Stepping down as sports director, Kekaula will succeed co-anchor Yunji de Nies, who will leave the station at the end of the month.
“We are incredibly proud of Robert and Paula for their respected careers and their impact on local news in Hawaii,” said KITV President and General Manager Joe McNamara, in a statement.
Kekaula’s more than 30 years in radio and television have been spent primarily in sports, but with this change, fellow KITV anchor Mike Cherry will step in as sports anchor for the 5 p.m. weekday newscast.
Brandi Higa will serve as sports anchor for the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. news, and weather anchor Pete Caggiano will appear on all three weeknight newscasts.
Kekaula served a recent, temporary stint as co-anchor of the weekday news.
Akana started at KITV as an intern in 1983, and in the years since has produced many special reports for the station including coverage of the voyages of Hokule‘a.
De Nies, who recently gave birth, said via email, “I have enjoyed my time at KITV and loved sharing the stories of Hawaii with viewers every night. Robert and Paula are veteran broadcasters and my dear friends, and I wish them success.”
De Nies left a network-level reporting job at ABC to join KITV, returning home to Hawaii where she was raised. She is a graduate of Yale University with a master’s degree from the University of California Berkeley School of Journalism.