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Dave Barnes, Former WWL Chief Meteorologist, Has Died

Dave Barnes, who was chief meteorologist for more than a decade at New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL, died Saturday in Florida of complications from cancer. He was 78.

Barnes retired in 1997. “Dave was the consummate professional,” said former WWL anchor Angela Hill. “But more than that, I’ll remember Dave for the loving and caring person he was and for always being a perfect gentleman.”

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WVUE’s New AM Anchor Reveals Unique Start to His Career

adaline wvueGreg Adaline made his debut on New Orleans FOX affiliate WVUE yesterday morning.

That alone might be interesting enough for a single post, but The Times-Picayune reports Adaline started his career by beating out hundreds of contestants in an on-air “audition derby” at Detroit’s WDIV in 2004.

“This was right around the time that ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘American Idol’ were just starting to take off,” he said. “Reality TV was a new thing.”

A VHS audition tape in hand, Adaline arrived at the open-call audition and took his place near the end of the line of nearly 300 contestants. He survived the first round to be one of eight finalists in the competition.

The finalists did stories on-air for the next two weeks, with a 5 p.m. newscast vote-off by a judges panel winnowing the field.

Adaline prevailed — “It was an amazing couple of weeks,” he said — and the stories he did that summer at WDIV enabled him to put together a sampler tape of stories he used to secure his next job.

“I was off and running,” he said. “That’s how my career started.”

According to his WVUE bio, he was offered a three month on-air contract at WDIV. Adaline went on to work as the morning anchor at WLNS in Lansing, Mich. He then went to KCTV in Kansas City before returning to WLNS in 2011.

Meteorologist Changes at WDSU in New Orleans

wdsu weatherWDSU viewers will notice a couple of changes to the station’s weekday morning and afternoon shows today.

Jonathan Shelley, news director for the New Orleans NBC affiliate, told TVSpy, morning meteorologist Jay Galle is moving to a day shift and will anchor the 4:00 p.m. news. He will also come in early or stay late when team coverage is needed, produce web content and handle weather updates from mid-morning through early afternoon.

Weekend morning meteorologist Damon Singleton will replace Galle on the weekday morning show.

Shelley said the station hasn’t made any announcements regarding the weekend morning meteorologist.

Nicolas Cage Makes WWL Studio Hollywood for a Day

cage on wwl setNew Orleans CBS affiliate WWL got a visit from film star Nicolas Cage in between the morning and noon news yesterday.

But he wasn’t there to talk, he was there to work. Cage was in town to shoot a movie set in the wake of the BP oil spill.

Houston CBS affiliate KHOU reports the director shot in New Orleans because he wanted to keep keep the film authentic.

But another important element for him was keeping things local. That included dozens of crew members in the studio and some familiar faces you’ll see in the film.“Like Wendell Pierce and Bryan Batt and a lot of the smaller roles are a lot of local actors, and about 90 percent of our crew are also Louisiana locals as well.” Read more

Jon Huffman Set to Retire From WGNO

jon huffman wgnoWGNO morning anchor Jon Huffman will retire from the ABC affiliate in New Orleans next month. Huffman has been on New Orleans television since 1990 and has anchored WGNO’s “Good Morning New Orleans” since 2008.

“Jon was a fabulous mentor for new employees on Good Morning New Orleans. His easy going nature helped them make the transition to waking up in the early morning hours a little easier. He’ll be missed,” WGNO news director Rick Erbach said in a statement. “Sleep in Jon. You’ve earned it.”

Before WGNO, Huffman worked as a reporter and anchor for WVUE, the Fox affiliate in New Orleans. He will officially sign off from WGNO August 1.

“I will deeply miss my co-workers at WGNO and the fun spirit of ‘Good Morning New Orleans.’ But I certainly won’t miss the alarm clock going off at 2:30 in the morning! It’s time to move on to a more relaxed—and relaxing—phase of my life,” Huffman said.

WWL Adds Weekend, Evening Newscasts

wwl logoWWL-WUPL, Gannett’s duopoly in New Orleans, is adding evening and weekend newscasts next month. WWL will debut weekend morning newscasts anchored by Antwan Harris on August 9, and WUPL will debut weeknight newscasts anchored by Natalie Shepherd and Thanh Truong on September 9.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has more:

“I think people want to know the overnight news,” said Bill Siegel, WWL’s news director. “They certainly want up-to-the-minute weather. Given weekend plans and how much time everybody spends outside here, that’s really important.

“We also have the opportunity to do some different things on Saturday and Sunday, a deeper dive on cultural things and festivals. There’s a lot of opportunity there.”

Weekend Anchor Rachel Wulff Leaving WDSU

rachel wulffWDSU weekend anchor Rachel Wulff has opted not to renew her contract with the New Orleans NBC affiliate, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

She said Friday (June 27) that she was leaving WDSU on good terms, and cited the station’s “Neighbor or Nuisance” series as a reporting highlight of her time there.

“I feel privileged to have worked with some amazing journalists here who are committed to the community — uncovering corruption, educating the public and providing much-needed information when disaster strikes,” she said. “I am proud to have given a voice to many struggling to return post-Katrina.”

Jonathan Shelley, WDSU’s news director, said there would be no immediate announcement about Wulff’s replacement.

WDSU Preempts Part of ‘Today’ Show Over Rival Anchor’s Appearance

New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU is facing viewer backlash after replacing the fourth hour of the “Today” show with a rerun of Queen Latifah’s show Friday. The NBC affiliate chose to preempt “Today” because the program was guest hosted Friday by Karen Swensen, an anchor on rival WWL.

After viewers responded negatively on social media, the station responded on its own Facebook page: “WDSU does not enable the promotion of anchors on other local television stations through roles as hosts of programs on our television station. We regret the circumstances that required us to make this decision.”

TVNewser has more.

Blake Hanson Joins WSOC From WDSU

After two years at WDSU, Blake Hanson is leaving New Orleans for Charlotte. He announced the news on Twitter:

Hanson is a general assignment reporter for the morning newscast at WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans.

Norman Robinson Retiring From WDSU

norman robinsonNorman Robinson is retiring from WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans. His final broadcast will be May 30.

“We have been honored to have Norman as a colleague and friend for nearly a quarter-century and we congratulate him on his remarkable achievements and his well-earned retirement,” WDSU president and general manager Joel Vilmenay said in a statement. “We are pleased that he will continue to make contributions through partnerships and appearances in the years ahead.”

Robinson has worked at WDSU since 1990. Last year, he scaled back his duties, stepping away from the 10 p.m. anchor desk but continuing to anchor the 6 p.m. newscast.

“I am filled with bittersweet emotions, but happy to turn the page to a new chapter in my life. Most of all I have been lucky enough to fulfill my lifelong dream to become a news anchor in the city I love,” Robinson sad. “For that, I am most grateful.”

Read WDSU’s official announcement after the jump. Read more

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