A familiar face to local news is back on television, and this longtime Fresno native is ready to cover different topics and issues compared to what he used to discuss.
Alexan Balekian is the new weekend anchor at KGPE, a.k.a CBS-47, as well as a news reporter for both the CBS station and KSEE-24, the NBC affiliate.
Balekian had been KSEE-24’s weekend sports anchor and a sports reporter from 2004-09 when he first worked in the local TV market.
“It’s like when your life comes full circle,” said Balekian, who started working in Fresno again last week and made his weekend anchor debut Saturday. “It’s fun being back. I feel like I started something that I didn’t get to finish.
“The plan is to stay forever now and do great things with the community and at the station.”
Balekian’s initial local TV stint ended in 2009 after KSEE-24 laid him off during a time parent company Granite Broadcasting Corporation was undergoing financial problems and media outlets across the country began to downsize.
Nonetheless, Balekian said he never hesitated about returning to the station, much because it’s under different ownership.
In 2013, parent company Nexstar purchased the station from Granite, which had declared bankruptcy in 2006. Nexstar also acquired KGPE around the same time, and the two stations have since operated as a duopoly.
“When Nexstar took over CBS47 and KSEE, I knew it was going to head back in the right direction,” Balekian said. “They have really transformed the newsroom.
“Everything is completely different from the days I was there. Nexstar has really put a lot into it. They care about their product. They care about this community.”
Balekian spent the past year working at a different Nexstar station, serving as a morning anchor at WFXR, the FOX affiliate in Roanoke, VA.
It was in Virginia that the Fresno State and Roosevelt High alumnus began his transition from sports to hard news.
Balekian served as the station’s primary politics reporter and was sent to Washington, D.C. (a four-hour drive from his former station), a handful of times to cover stories.
Among the stories he covered was interviewing Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate Sen. Tim Kaine exactly one year after they lost the election.
“Got a good crash course covering politics and hard news in Virginia,” Balekian said. “I hope the people of Fresno know that I’ve worked really hard to become more of a news and political figurehead so to speak.
“I still want to interject that personality that I had in sports. Not over the top. But I do want to bring some personality and energy in a news capacity.”
Following his departure from KSEE-24, Balekian moved to radio and served sports director at KMJ-580AM for four years. Then he moved in 2013 to Phoenix, where Balekian worked several freelance jobs, including GameDay host for ESPN radio for Arizona Cardinals games.
What did Balekian miss most about being away from Fresno?
“All my family is here; Fresno has always been my home,” Balekian said. “But I definitely missed Armenian food. I think I was the only Armenian in Virginia. And I missed Fresno State football games.
“It’s just great to be back.”