Biddeford native and Northeastern University graduate Jessica Gagne has been named to replace Melissa Kim as the sports anchor at WLBZ-TV (NBC) Channel 2 in Bangor.
Kim left in September to take a sports reporter job at WIAT (CBS) Channel 42 in Birmingham, Ala.
Gagne and John Mehler had been sharing sports anchor and news reporter chores. Mehler will remain as a news reporter.
“Jessica understands the sports landscape for the whole state and she is a good storyteller which is what the job has become. It’s not just about showing a lot of highlights, it’s about getting out and meeting people and sharing stories,” said WCSH Portland (Ch. 6)/WLBZ sports director Lee Goldberg. “She has a lot of personality, she can fit in and feel comfortable in any conversation.
“She knows her stuff. I’ve been very impressed with her,” added Goldberg.
The 26-year-old Gagne, who began working at WLBZ as a news reporter on Feb. 11, said she is “very, very excited.”
“It’s an incredible opportunity. I’ve always loved sports. I’m also a news junkie and I wanted to try to find a way to marry the two and make a living out of it,” said Gagne, who received a journalism degree from Northeastern after spending a year at Syracuse University.
She said Tina Cervasio, who covered the Boston Red Sox for the New England Sports Network, served as an inspiration.
“Once I saw her, I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,” said Gagne. “People in Maine are so passionate about sports. There are so many great programs in the state. I enjoy going around looking for unique stories based around sports and bringing them to the forefront. There are a lot of great stories out there.”
Her paternal grandmother, who encouraged her to find a profession that enabled her to use her writing skills, was another inspiration, she said.
The former cheerleader, volleyball player, competitive dancer and manager for the Biddeford High football team will anchor the 6 p.m. sportscasts on WLBZ and also will do occasional weekend anchoring for WCSH/WLBZ in addition to being a sports reporter.