MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt is in Montgomery Tuesday as part of his Across America Tour, and he spent part of his morning on Today in Alabama.
Our Tonya Terry and Judd Davis chatted with Holt about his visit to the capital city, and he said he’s delighted to be here.
“This is a place I’ve always wanted to come to, and there’s so much history here, and we’re looking forward to a good visit,” he said.
Holt said civil rights is an important part of the history here, and while in town he will talk with Bryan Stephenson with the Equal Justice Initiative about his work in criminal justice reform, which he says is something he’s become very passionate about over the last couple of years.
Holt worked in local news for 20 years, and he said having a connection to a community is something you don’t really have in national news.
“Getting out on the road like this, we’re able to meet communities, and it’s important for us to remind ourselves there’s a whole world outside of New York and Washington,” he said.
Managers at WSFA 12 News and Raycom Media , along with the City of Montgomery and the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce worked hard to convince Holt and NBC Nightly News to make Montgomery a stop on the tour, and Dawn Hathcock said his visit is huge for the city.
“There is no price tag on the exposure that we’re going to get being on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” she said. “It’s just absolutely incredible for Montgomery, and we are so honored and we are very excited.”
Holt came into the capital city from Houston, his first stop on the tour, and will be in town all day Tuesday as he prepares for his live national broadcast from downtown at 5:30 p.m. While on Today in Alabama, he also tracked Hurricane Michael with meteorologist Eric Snitil.
The veteran news man also joined WSFA 12 News anchor Sally Pitts on-air Thursday from his New York studios to talk about his excitement for the visit.
Montgomery is, by far, the smallest city on the tour. Holt will also Kansas City, San Diego, and Tampa.
So why did he choose Montgomery?
“Well, I’ll be very honest with you, part of it was because your station made such a very passionate pitch as to why we should go,” Holt admitted.
Other considerations included geography, with a desire to include the South in the tour.
“For a lot of reasons, it just seemed like the kind of place we needed to be,” Holt concluded.
NBC Nightly News will broadcast from Montgomery at 5:30 p.m. in front of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. The city and NBC News are asking that anyone who comes downtown to watch the broadcast not bring signs to the area. They will not be allowed.