UCA gave local TV newscaster his start

By Scarlet Sims

Aaron NolanAaron Nolan, ’04, caught his big career break as a student at the University of Central Arkansas.

“UCA is where I started my career,” Nolan said.

The 33-year-old newscast anchor for “Arkansas Today” at KARK took time from his hectic schedule to talk about why UCA matters.

“Without UCA, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Nolan said.

Nolan has been in the news business for more than eight years.

The Maumelle native is a well-known news personality in Arkansas. In September, he became a co-anchor for Nexstar Broadcasting’s statewide newscast, making his way back to Central Arkansas after working at KOLZ in Springfield, Mo., in 2012.

He and his wife, Ashley Ketz, an evening anchor for KARK, are moving back to Little Rock, Nolan said.

Previously, he worked four years as a sports anchor and reporter for KARK’s “Razorback Nation.” He also worked for an NBC-affiliated television station in Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas River Valley.

Nolan’s first anchor position was for Channel 6 at UCA. Some stories he thought at the time were just “busy work,” ended up helping him learn skills that propelled him forward in his career, he said. Everything he learned while earning his degree in telecommunications helped, Nolan said.

Nolan continues to push himself to improve. He uses social media to reach new audiences and strives to “evolve” as a reporter, he said.

“It’s pushing yourself,” Nolan said.

That drive and ambition comes partly from Nolan’s UCA experience. He said he wishes he had been more focused and given 100 percent for every UCA assignment. He advised current students to take each assignment seriously.

“It’s all about how you do it, and how you embrace it,” Nolan said. “I wish I would have, for that assignment that seemed like busy work, just soaked it up. You’ve got to dive in. Whatever you are doing at UCA, make it worthwhile.”

The university and Central Arkansas helped Nolan develop his news style, he said. He strives for news that is entertaining and informative.

“I want to give people a reason to watch every single day,” Nolan said.

That outlook — working hard and having fun — is something UCA taught Nolan, he said.

“I think that’s what you take away from UCA is work hard, play hard,” Nolan said.