A look back at Linda Cavanaugh’s 40 years at 4

OKLAHOMA CITY - It was a bittersweet day at News 4.

After 40 years at 4, Linda Cavanaugh is leaving Channel 4.

She gave her goodbyes Friday night on her last newscast to our KFOR family and to yours.

Linda began her career as a reporter/photographer and in a short time, became the first female co-anchor of the evening newscasts at Oklahoma’s News Channel 4.

She has earned more than 30 national awards for her reporting as well as twice that many state and regional awards in addition to 15 Emmys from the Heartland Chapter of NATAS.

An Oklahoma native, she has worked throughout her career to better her community and the state she calls home. Through her efforts, the first hospice in Oklahoma was born. Her documentary, “A Time to Die,” raised the seed money that was used to start Hospice of Oklahoma County, a non-profit organization that brought home care to the terminally ill.

Her investigative reports on conditions inside Oklahoma restaurants resulted in changes in the law. “Behind Kitchen Doors” moved lawmakers to open the inspection records of the health department so that consumers, for the first time, could be aware of violations.

In the early 90s, she became the first journalist allowed to photograph ancient Indian rituals that had been closed to all except tribal members. Her resulting 12-part series, “Strangers In Their Own Land” brought a sense of understanding and pride to Oklahoma’s 37 Indian tribes.

Prior to the Friday afternoon newscasts, KFOR General Manager Wes Milbourn announced the dedication of the 'The Cavanaugh Studio."

"For more than 40 years, Linda Cavanaugh has been our state's premier storyteller. As a journalist, she consoled Oklahomans in the midst of collective tragedies and cheered their inevitable triumphs. Her contribution to journalism in our state is immeasurable. We dedicate this studio to Linda Cavanaugh, a broadcast pioneer, who photographed, edited, wrote, reported, produced and anchored 'our story' for four decades," the dedication plaque reads.

"I can't even imagine having a studio named after me when there are so many great people who came through here. So I hope you'll let me accept this in their names as well because this station has housed remarkable journalists, and I'm not at the top by any means. Some them are names that you wouldn't even know, and I remember them and I'm grateful," Linda said.