DMAS 62 & 86

New GMs At Nexstar’s WATE, WCIA-WCIX

The station group promotes Coby Cooper to lead WATE Knoxville, Tenn., He’s succeeded as GM of WCIA-WCIX Champaign, Ill., by Gary Hackler, the duo’s former sales director.

Nexstar Media Group today promoted Coby Cooper to VP-GM of ABC affiliate WATE Knoxville, Tenn. (DMA 62). Since 2010, Cooper has been VP-GM of Nexstar’s WCIA (CBS) and WCIX (MNT) in Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (DMA 86). Cooper will assume his new responsibilities immediately and report to Mike Vaughn, Nexstar SVP and regional manager Cooper will be succeeded at WCIA-WCIX by Gary Hackler, who has been the stations’ sales director.

Coby Cooper brings over three decades of broadcasting experience to his new role, including 10 years with Nexstar, with expertise in sales management, local and digital content creation, new business development and strategic planning across multiple media platforms.

Prior to his tenure at WCIA-WCIX, Cooper was VP-GM of Nexstar’s WMBD Peoria-Bloomington, Ill., where he was also responsible for overseeing the company’s relationship with Cunningham Broadcasting-owned WYZZ (Fox) under an outsourcing agreement.

Before joining Nexstar, was VP-GM of KGBT Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas. Earlier in his career, he was the director of broadcasting at WIS Columbia, S.C.,  and was a manager of Ten Productions from 1991 to 1998. He began his broadcast career in 1982 at KAIT Jonesboro, Ark., where he served in various production and operational roles.

Cooper is a graduate of Purdue University. He is the past chairman and current board member of the Illinois Broadcaster’s Association.

Gary Hackler broadcast career spans nearly three decades in the Champaign-Springfield-Decatur market. He joined Nexstar’s WCIA-WCIX in 2008 as an account executive, ultimately being promoted to local sales manager in 2013. In late 2014, he was elevated to director of sales.


Prior to joining Nexstar, from 1990 to 2007 Hackler held various sales management positions at the market’s ABC affiliate, WICD, rising from local account executive to station manager, where he successfully led the station through an affiliation change.

Hackler graduated from East Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications.

Comments (3)

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m j says:

March 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Congratulations to both of these two. Coby is a fantastic GM and Gary will be a great GM in Champaign!

    Brock Mills says:

    March 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks Jim! I appreciate the kind words!!

Lisa Leff says:

March 17, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Congratulations to both Coby and Gary. Well deserved for sure.

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