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WDRB's Lawrence Smith interviews a Norton Healthcare doctor outside a triage tent set up for COVID-19 patients. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Lawrence Smith, who elevated WDRB News’ politics and government coverage during nearly 10 years with the station, is leaving to become communications director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Smith, 64, has worked in television news for more than 30 years, including stints at WAVE and WHAS in Louisville, along with stops in Houston, Texas; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lexington, Ky.

“I was not looking for another job, but after I was approached about this role, God made it clear that He wanted me to spend the next season of my career serving the 2,500 churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention,” he wrote in an email to newsroom staff Thursday.

He also will become the executive editor of Kentucky Today, the convention’s news outlet.

Among his colleagues, Smith is known for his unflappable demeanor, thoughtful perspectives on government issues and deft puns that would be excessive for most other reporters.

He counts his coverage of the 2012 Henryville, Ind., tornado among his most memorable stories, as he and his photographer arrived before the twister hit and had to seek shelter in a gas station.   

“Right before it got to us it jumped across the street and destroyed a gas station across the street and went through Henryville,” he said. “So that tops the list of everything.”

Smith covered his first U.S. president, Gerald Ford, in the late 1970s and more recently interviewed former presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump. He said he has greatly enjoyed reporting on the Kentucky General Assembly, where he is a staple of the Frankfort press corps.

Barry Fulmer, WDRB Media Vice President of News, told staff in an email that Smith “helped give a voice to those in need while being the utmost professional each day.”

“I believe I speak for everyone when I say WDRB News is stronger because of his outstanding body of work,” Fulmer wrote. “Thank you, Lawrence.”

Smith’s last day at WDRB will be January 13.

“WDRB is the finest station I've worked for, and I’ve worked for a lot of them. And the leadership here has been outstanding. My colleagues have been great,” he said. “I'll miss the camaraderie here, but I'm looking forward to what the Lord has in store for me next.”

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