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DFW broadcaster to watch 2014: Ken Molestina of Channel 11

Posted 7:01pm on Wednesday, Jan. 08, 2014

Editor’s note: As much as we wish there were a fully functioning crystal ball in the DFW.com offices, there is no such apparatus.

But that won’t keep us from casting our gaze forward and forecasting who and what will capture our imaginations this year: a wonderful and weird artist who is finally getting his due, a young pastry chef whose sweet creations could become the talk of the town, a fresh-faced newsman (see below), an inspiring actor, a hip-hop queen in waiting, even a surprising drink that could propel the next craft craze.

Those are a just few of the stars we’ve got our eyes on for 2014.

The broadcaster: Ken Molestina

Who he is: A new reporter/weekend anchor for KTVT/Channel 11. He’ll make his local anchor debut alongside Sharrie Williams on the station’s 6 and 10 p.m. weekend newscasts.

Where he’s from: Born in New York, raised in Miami. Both his parents are Ecuadorean; Molestina is fluent in English and Spanish.

Current hometown: By the time you read this, it will be Dallas, but he most recently was in Washington, D.C.

Where you might have seen his work already: He’s new to the DFW market, but it’s possible you saw him in El Paso, where he covered border issues for KVIA-TV, or in Washington, where he covered such things as the government shutdown for CBS affiliate WUSA.

Why he’ll be a big deal in 2014: Molestina has risen fast, jumping from market No. 99 El Paso, where he started in 2006, all the way to market No. 8 Washington and then to DFW, the fifth-largest market in the country. You’ll also see him filling in for CBS-11’s main anchor, Doug Dunbar.

What’s his deal? Molestina studied telecommunication news at the University of Florida and began his career as an intern at WFOR in Miami and worked at other Florida stations. But his break came in El Paso, where he covered drug cartels, border security and immigration — and spent three years as a volunteer firefighter.

In 2010, he made the jump to Washington, covering crime and public safety and, most recently, the government shutdown. When his contract came up, he looked around again. He’d always wanted to come back to Texas, and the CBS-11 job came up.

Pre-journalism jobs: Serving popcorn and sodas at a Miami-area movie theater; working at a telemarketing agency during college. “I became a manager there, and I remember making more money as a part-time manager at this telemarketing company than I did in my first year as a journalist. … I tell people time and time again that we don’t get in this to be rich. If you’re lucky, you can make a decent living. But this isn’t Hollywood. It’s about storytelling.”

First time on the air: “It was a very, very cold winter day, and the first live shot was at a homeless shelter in Las Cruces,” a New Mexico city about 40 miles north of El Paso. “The story was on what the shelter and the city were doing to try to keep homeless people off the streets during the cold spell.”

Proudest moment on the air: “When I led our station’s coverage of the shutdown up on Capitol Hill. That was an opportunity to sort of focus in for two weeks on an issue that affected the entire country, not just the Washington, D.C., market, and to be able to ask difficult questions of members of Congress and hold them accountable.” Molestina says he was also one of the first reporters to go live from outside the White House the night Osama bin Laden was killed.

“Ron Burgundy” moments: Molestina says he has two: On his first time on the anchor desk in El Paso, he did a morning weekend shift after having worked the Friday late-news shift, with only about four hours between the two. During a pre-recorded, eight-minute sports segment, he took an opportunity to doze — and the director accidentally showed that on-air for about two minutes.

The other was covering Game 7 of the National League playoffs, when St. Louis beat the Washington Nationals to advance to the World Series. “The fans were upset that [the Nationals] had lost, because they basically gave the game away,” says Molestina, who adds that he was hesitant to interview fans because of the way they were acting. He grabbed one fan and admonished him not to curse on TV. “He says, ‘I’ll try.’ He starts answering a question, and just as he’s doing that, this other dude comes out of nowhere, completely jumps in front of the camera and yells, ‘This is bull----!’ ” That clip made Jimmy Kimmel Live. “If you Google that, you can find the video. I mean, it is funny.”

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