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Posted: 3:21 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Leslie Rhode leaving KXAN 

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Leslie Rhode
Leslie Rhode

By Gary Dinges

Leslie Rhode, one of Austin’s best-known and most-respected newscasters, will soon depart KXAN.

Rhode, who co-anchors the NBC affiliate’s 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts alongside Robert Hadlock, says she’s leaving to spend more time with her family.

Her final day hasn’t been determined, but it’ll be by year’s end.

“I need a better work-life balance,” Rhode said. “That’s what this all comes down to. I have a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old and I want to see them more. Right now, I drop them off at school in the morning, then I don’t get to see them again until the next morning.”

Rhode says she’s going to “take some time to breathe a bit” before she begins looking for a new job with family friendly hours. She has no plans to leave Central Texas.

This is Rhode’s second stint at KXAN. She first arrived in 1995, serving in a variety of roles, including as a reporter, morning co-anchor and evening co-anchor. Rhode stuck around till 2003, departing for Washington, D.C. After five years in our nation’s capital, she returned to Austin in 2008 to once again anchor KXAN’s evening newscasts.

“I’m very sad to go,” she said. “It has taken me a long time to make this decision. I love the team at KXAN so much.”

During Rhode’s time on the KXAN anchor desk, the station’s 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts have climbed in the Nielsen ratings and now typically rank No. 1 in their respective time slots.

“I want to thank every person in Central Texas who has allowed me to share stories with them,” she said. “I’m so fortunate I've been able to work in what I believe is the best city in the world. I’m so glad to be here.”

The station will immediately begin a search for a replacement for Rhode, according to Eric Lassberg, president and general manager of KXAN and sister stations KBVO and KNVA.

"Leslie will be greatly missed,” Lassberg said. “From the bottom of our hearts, all of us at KXAN thank her for the many years of great work. She was a champion of our core values, lived out with passion our core purpose and delivered outstanding work day in and day out. We wish Leslie the best as she continues her life journey."

Gary Dinges

About Gary Dinges

Gary Dinges covers bars/restaurants, movies, music, radio and TV -- plus a bunch of other fun stuff -- for the Austin American-Statesman.

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