Darlene Melendez Named Co-Anchor Of KOAT Early News

Hearst Television’s ABC affiliate KOAT Albuquerque, N.M., has hired Darlene Melendez to co-anchor KOAT Action 7 News Live at 4 p.m., beginning Jan. 24. Melendez will work alongside co-anchor Ron Burke and meteorologist Kelly Franson.

Prior to joining KOAT, Melendez was weekend anchor at News 12 in New Jersey since 2019. She also worked as a reporter at KLAS Las Vegas and KYMA-DT Yuma, Ariz. Melendez reported during the horrific Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas. Soon after joining News 12 in New Jersey, Melendez covered another tragedy during an anti-Semitic terror attack in 2019.

“We are thrilled to have Darlene join the KOAT Action 7 News team,” said Jess O’Neill, KOAT news director. “She’s a very talented journalist who is passionate about the important stories we strive to cover in New Mexico. Her experience and drive will be a welcome addition to our high performing team. We look forward to getting Darlene settled back into the Southwest.”

Melendez’s live coverage during 24 hours of the October 1 shooting garnered a Pacific Southwest Chapter Emmy award. She also received a New York Chapter Emmy nomination for her coverage of the Jewish Deli attack in New Jersey.

Melendez is a graduate of Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and a minor/focus in media production and marketing.

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