BILLINGS - After more than a decade on the Q2 news desk, news anchor Jeanelle Slade signed off Thursday night for the last time.
Slade was first hired at Q2 in 1996, less than a month after she graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism.
Her first assignment had her at work at 2:15 a.m. every Monday through Friday on Q2's Daybreak, with Billings Anchor Laura Thornquist.
"What I learned from Laura is irreplaceable," Slade said. "But I also figured out in that first year I couldn't function with the early morning hours."
Slade went on to report Monday through Friday and eventually spent six years on the Q2 weekend anchor desk before transitioning to a local media relations and internal communications job at St. Vincent Healthcare.
In August 2011, TV called her back. This time, joining Jay Kohn, Bob McGuire and Scott Breen on the desk Monday through Friday at 5:30 and 10 p.m.
The team, along with a dedicated news crew, delivered the day's news and dominated the local ratings. Slade was named Montana Broadcaster of the Year five times during her tenure on the news desk.
The last few years have seen some major changes at Q2. Jay Kohn retired at the end of 2018 after decades with MTN News, and weatherman Bob McGuire followed in 2020.
As Kohn was transitioning out of his nightly anchor duties, Billings native Russ Riesinger came on to co-anchor with Slade on both Q2 evening newscasts, as well as a 9 p.m. show on the CW network.
When Covid struck in 2020 Q2 split the news anchor team, and transitioned sports into the field.
"Covid was hard for everyone, and news is no different," said Slade.
The veteran Montana news anchor signed off Thursday thanking her former colleagues and Q2 family. She expressed gratitude to the Q2 viewers over the years.
"Thank you for allowing us to bring you the days news, the breaking details and the stories that impacted your lives."
Slade became most choked up as she neared the end of her goodbye.
"And finally for those of you who allowed me to tell your stories, personal, difficult, inspiring, and even life-changing, you helped me grow, communicate, inform, and educate others across our community, state, and sometimes even beyond. Thank you."
Slade has no specific plans as she moves forward. Her husband and two Cockapoos are here in the family home, and her two daughters, born and raised in Billings, are now split between Montana State in Bozeman and the University of Montana in Missoula.
Editor Note: Please join us at Q2 in wishing Jeanelle all the best and enjoying these memories: