EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - This is an especially tough week for us at KTRE News. Our leader for the last eight years passed away on Wednesday night, February 14.
Kenny Boles had guided the news department as news director at KLTV since 1996 and at KTRE since 2010. Although he rarely appeared on television during that time, many of you know him. He was a native East Texan whose career took him full-circle, from Lufkin to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and then back to East Texas.
Kenny had a profound impact on hundreds, likely thousands of journalists over his 47 years in broadcast news, and we wanted to share that part of his story with you.
"When the local cable company installed a television studio into Lufkin High School, I fell in love," Kenny said in a 2016 interview. "My dad was in the grocery business, and I hated the grocery business. I began looking for a way out."
That way out was here at KTRE in 1971. At 17 years old, Kenny started at Channel 9 the same way he mentored so many others to get their start: running camera in the studio, directing a newscast, sweeping the studio floors; he had found his way out of the grocery business.
Boles was later promoted to weathercaster at KTRE, and eventually sports director.
And by age 19, he had found his way into one of the largest markets in the country.
"The state's Democratic Convention was gaveled to a close tonight here in Houston," he reported as a young reporter. The video of Kenny's days as a reporter and anchor in Houston resurfaced in 2016 when Kenny was inducted into the very exclusive Lone Star Emmys Silver Circle for Lifetime Achievement.
"Those tapes of my early anchor work -- it was like I was looking at someone I knew, like an old friend. I knew him from the past, but I had moved on and left him behind," he reflected then.
Kenny left Houston behind for news management at TV stations in Dallas, Chicago, Orlando, and eventually Los Angeles. There, he broke stories on some of the biggest sagas in modern news history: Michael Jackson and the children at Neverland Ranch, The OJ Simpson arrest and trial, and the Rodney King beating and riots. Just one of those stories makes a career in TV news. One after another, after another, served to change Kenny's priorities.
"So he came back home, to East Texas, and for 22 years this man, who had left a career in the second largest market in the country, hired and taught young journalists to be great," says friend and coworker Joe Terrell.
"Every time you reach out to give a piece of advice or assist or to help younger journalists, you are playing a hand in the next generation. They're going to carry the touch on. And to have the opportunity to influence them in a positive way and in a good way is just one of the most incredible rewards of doing what I do," Kenny said in that 2016 interview.