As Nexstar Broadcasting Group prepares to take over WKRG-TV, another major defection has taken place.

General Manager Mark Bunting announced last week he’s leaving Channel 5 and heading to Montgomery to assume the same position for WSFA-TV. Bunting’s departure comes less than three months after Mike Rausch ended a seven-year stint as news director and left for a job at KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Chris Best is set to take over Rausch’s old spot next week, coming from WMC in Memphis.

While WKRG insiders say Bunting’s departure was something they thought might be coming giving ownership changes, they still were upset the popular GM is leaving. The Spring Hill College graduate has been an active and public general manager, often taking a hands-on approach to promoting his stations and working in the community. His work as a “shoe guy” at last spring’s Wine, Women and Shoes fundraiser earned him legendary status if nothing else.

“Leaving this awesome television station, the extraordinary staff and the wonderful Gulf Coast community is bittersweet, but I have been offered a great opportunity to serve as the VP/GM of Raycom’s NBC affiliate, WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama,” Bunting said. “I was not actively looking to make a change, but Raycom reached out to me and provided me a great offer that was well suited for me and my career. I am excited for the new challenges ahead. Over the past five years of my VP/GM tenure at WKRG and WFNA our stations have experienced a number of changes that I am very proud of being a part of.”

Some of those changes include the addition of 14 hours of weekly news, hiring additional staff, building a new set, building renovations, increased community support and involvement, and the winning of many awards, he said.

 “WKRG represents some of the finest professionals in the business and the station will continue to grow and thrive long after my departure,” he added. “Of course, our success is also the result of so many folks in our viewing area who have taken the time every day to watch us and connect with us online. I offer my WKRG/WFNA family much thanks for their love and support and the wonderful experiences I have had with them over the past 30 years.”

Bunting said his last day with the station will be Jan. 20.

Lipford live
For those who want a more interactive experience with Mobile-based home improvement guru Danny Lipford, January is your lucky month.

Every Friday this month the host of “Today’s Homeowner” will be taking to Facebook Live for some Q&A. Lipford and co-host Allen Lyle will field questions and toss back answers each Friday, 12-12:30 p.m., at https://www.facebook.com/todayshomeownermedia/.

It’s a good chance for local fans of the show to get a little home improvement help from the master.