The state's oldest television station no longer has a Butte-based news anchor broadcasting from the Mining City.

KXLF-TV announced Tuesday that anchor Laurel Staples has decided not to extend her contract and is leaving the station.

Donna Kelley of sister station KBZK in Bozeman will serve now as main anchor for the 5:30 and 10 p.m. broadcasts said Jon Saunders, vice president with Minnesota-based Cordillera Communications, the company that owns all CBS affiliates in Montana.

Aside from anchor duties being reassigned to Bozeman, Saunders said the announcement has no impact on the Butte station.

A full-time staff will continue working from the KXLF offices in Butte, and the station will be adding a third local reporter in 2012.

"An increase from the current two reporters now on staff, an increase that will allow more in-depth coverage of the Butte community and surrounding areas," he said in an e-mail to The Montana Standard.

Saunders added that the station intends to build a "bigger audience and advertiser base throughout next year."

Butte will continue to serve as master control center, with all technical support for broadcasts in the southwest Montana region generated from the Mining City.

Staples declined comment when contacted Tuesday, but wanted to thank her viewers for their support over the years.

Staples started at KXLF in 2004 and most recently served as the station's news anchor. In 2010 she earned the E.B. Craney Television Broadcaster of the Year Award.

Staples' first home was in Polson, but has been living in Butte for the past 13 years. She's married to Butte native Tom Staples, and they have three children.

She reported at several news stations in Montana after graduating from the University of Montana in 1988.

Donna Kelley was born in Havre and grew up in Bozeman, according to her profile at She has worked in radio and launched her television career in Helena before working in Spokane.

She worked at CNN headquarters in Atlanta as an anchor for 16 years, and in New York.

Kelley received an Emmy for her anchoring during the Olympic Park bombing and is a winner of a cable Ace Award as best anchor on cable, her profile states.

- Reporter Justin Post may be reached at or (406)496-5572.

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