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Baton Rouge

Adrian Pittman ‘No Longer With WBRZ’ After Theft Arrest

adrian pittman wbrzAdrian Pittman is out at WBRZ after he was arrested for theft, the Baton Rouge ABC affiliate reported on its 10 p.m. newscast Thursday.

“Gonzales police say a former WBRZ reporter is accused of theft from a store in Ascension Parish. Adrian Pittman is accused of putting the value of returned merchandise onto a gift card while working at the store,” Sylvia Weatherspoon said on the newscast. “There may be additional charges as investigators review a number of transactions. Again, Pittman is no longer with WBRZ.”

Pittman joined WBRZ in May 2012.

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Lee Meredith Leaving Raycom’s Memphis Station for One in Baton Rouge

Wafb_2008Lee Meredith has been named VP and GM for Raycom’s Baton Rouge CBS affiliate WAFB-WBXH.

Meredith is currently VP and GM of Raycom’s Memphis NBC affiliate WMC.

He will replace Sandy Breland, who was named GM of WVUE after Raycom started providing operational services to the New Orleans FOX affiliate. Breland is also regional VP with oversight of WVUE and WAFB as well as KSLA in Shreveport and KPLC in Lake Charles, LA.

[The Times-Picayune]

WBRZ Anchor Rosa Flores Joins CNN

Rosa Flores is leaving Baton Rouge ABC affiliate WBRZ to be a correspondent and substitute anchor at CNN. She will be based in New York City.

“To be able to report for the premiere newsgathering operation in the world has been a dream ever since I covered my first story. I am honored and excited to be joining CNN and work with the best in our profession,” Flores said in a statement. “I look forward to being able to tell stories on a national level. I can’t wait to get started.”

Before joining WBRZ in 2012, Flores worked at WDSU in New Orleans, KHOU in Houston and KWTV in Oklahoma City. She starts at CNN in July.

More from CNN after the jump. Read more

Former WAFB Reporter Allen Tumey Dies

Allen Tumey, who retired in 2011 after 11 years at WAFB in Baton Rouge, died Monday. He was 70.

During his time at the CBS affiliate, Tumey was a feature reporter who hosted a regular segment called “Tumey’s Travels.” Over the course of his career, he received several awards on both the state and national level, including the Iris Award from the National Association of Television Program Executives.

“I always had the feeling that Allen would do his job for free,” WAFB anchor Donna Britt said.  “There was such joy in his heart, and in his reporting. He had the unique ability to mine every situation for its charm, humor and beauty.”

Watch WAFB’s tribue to Tumey after the jump. Read more

Jeanne Burns Named Primary Anchor at WVLA

Jeanne Burns is joining WVLA, the NBC-affiliate in Baton Rouge, as the evening anchor.

It is a return to WVLA for Burns, who began her career there as anchor of the morning news breaks in the mid-1990s. Most recently, she was the morning anchor at rival WAFB, the CBS-affiliate. She signed off last year to spend more time with her family.

Burns, a former Miss Louisiana, will sign on tomorrow as the station’s 5, 6:30 and 10 p.m. anchor.

“I’ve admired Jeanne and her work for years,” news director David D’Aquin said in a statement. “I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with her. And I know Baton Rouge will be happy to see her back on the air.”

After 24 Years at WAFB, George Sells Will Retire

George Sells, the longtime evening news anchor at WAFB in Baton Rouge, will retire on May 31.

“I always knew this day would come, and I’m sad but I’m happy, too,” Donna Britt, Sells’ co-anchor, said during the 6 p.m. newscast yesterday. “George, the man who sat next to me for a quarter-century, is retiring at the end of this month.”

Sells, who turns 70 this year, told the Baton Rouge Morning  Advocate that he and his wife plan to stay in the Baton Rouge area. Read more

VIDEO: WVLA Weathercaster Trips During Forecast

WVLA meteorologist Jesse Vinturella ran into some trouble during the final segment of the NBC-affiliate’s morning newscast today (video above).

“Nothing like a good face plant to end a Friday…” Vinturella tweeted after the newscast.

WAFB Adding Extra Half-Hour of Morning News

WAFB is preparing to start its mornings a little earlier. The Baton Rouge CBS-affiliate announced this week that it would soon launch an expanded block of morning news with a 4:30 a.m. start time.

Beginning September 12th, the station will air a half-hour “early edition” newscast, leading into its existing weekday local news programming from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m.

The new newscast will be anchored by Matt Williams and include weather reports from Diane Deaton and traffic from Johnny Ahysen.

“Our viewers have made our morning newscast among the highest rated morning newscasts in the country,” WAFB news director Robb Hays boasted, in announcing the programming change. “As more and more people start their day earlier, we want to continue to be their choice for local interesting and informative morning news.”

Longtime WAFB News Director Dies

Carlton Cremeens, a TV news icon in Baton Rouge, passed away last week from complications with diabetes. He was 89.

Cremeens spent 30 years as news director of WAFB, while also working as an anchor for the CBS-affiliate.  He retired in 1990, and the then-mayor of Baton Rouge marked the occasion by proclaiming a “Carlton Cremeens Day” in his honor.

Before joining WAFB, Cremeens worked as a news director in Little Rock, AR, where he covered the desegregation of the city’s schools.  While in Baton Rouge, he was known for breaking cultural barriers in TV news.  As The Advocate points out, he put Baton Rouge’s first black TV reporter–Ansel Creary–and first female anchor–Mel Cafiero–on the air.

Video of WAFB’s coverage of Cremeens’s passing inside… Read more

Battling Early Stages of Alzheimer’s, Longtime WAFB Anchor-Reporter Paul Gates Announces Retirement

Longtime WAFB anchor and investigative reporter Paul Gates announced to viewers this week that he is battling the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, and as a result he will be retiring after 34 years with the Baton Rouge CBS-affiliate (video inside).

“I’m doing just fine,” Gates, 64, told viewers, “and I’m asking you to keep me and my family in your prayers, and always remember: Paul Gates Investigates.”

During his 34 years with WAFB, Gates became well-known for his tenacity in uncovering corruption and wrongdoing in Louisiana. His years of investigative reports, collectively known as “Paul Gates Investigates,” gained him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters.

“Paul has been an important part of the WAFB family and the Baton Rouge community for decades,” WAFB vice president and general manager Sandy Breland said.  “He has touched the lives of many through his reporting and his honest, fun-loving demeanor. It has been a privilege and an honor to have Paul as part of our team. I know he will face his illness with the same tenacity he showed throughout his career.” Read more