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New Orleans

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

Dennis Woltering Retiring from WWL


New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL has announced the retirement of longtime anchor Dennis Woltering.

Woltering, who will step down at the end of May, started at WWL in 1977 as a weekend anchor and reporter. He left in 1984 to work at WCAU in Philadelphia but returned to WWL in 1994.

“Dennis not only represents the best of what WWL-TV stands for, he represents the best of what it means to be a journalist,” Tod Smith, WWL president and GM said in a statement.

“There were indications that they wanted to sort of go in a different direction,” Woltering told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “It was just the time. Last year when Angela [Hill] left, she said, ‘It’s time.’ And if it was time for her, it was way past time for me.”

“It wasn’t that we went in and said, ‘Dennis, we need you to retire,’” Smith told Times-Picayune. “That wasn’t the case. It certainly was Dennis’ decision, and I respect that.”

“I’ll probably have some kind of little commentary at the end,” Smith said. “The station has been great to me. I’ve really had an extraordinary time here. They’ve given me so much opportunity. I really am grateful to this station, and for the people I’ve worked with.” He added, “I’ve had an extraordinary career here. I’m a very lucky person.”

WVUE to Re Air ‘Cosmos’ After Evolution Segment Partially Covered by Commercials

wvue_304Viewers of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s show Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey again missed out on part of a discussion about evolution when a technical error covered it with a news promo, a psa and some commercials.

In the latest error, viewers of New Orleans FOX affiliate WVUE missed nearly a minute and a half of Tyson talking about how global climate change millions of years ago paved the way for the primate to human evolutionary journey.

A similar snafu happened at Oklahoma City FOX affiliate KOKH. There, a master control error was blamed for covering over Tyson talking about evolution.

WVUE president and GM Sandy Breland told nola.com the cover up was “an automation error.” She also said the episode would re-air at 10:35 p.m. on Thursday. Breland added, “It was a mistake. We certainly regret the error.”

Gerry Vaillancourt Out at WVUE

vaillancourt wvue croppedWVUE morning anchor Gerry Vaillancourt has been let go by the New Orleans FOX affiliate.

Vaillancourt has been the radio color analyst for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets for the past 19 seasons.

“They said they wanted to go in a different direction,” Vaillancourt told Nola.com. “They want a ‘news anchor’ type with a news background. I can understand that.”

Vaillancourt started at WVUE in October 2012.

Dave Nussbaum Joins WWL in New Orleans

wwl_nussbaum_debutMeteorologist Dave Nussbaum made his debut on New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL today.

WWL news director Bill Siegel told TVSpy Nussbaum will work the Noon and 5:00 p.m. shows.

Nussbaum said goodbye to Baton Rouge ABC affiliate WBRZ last Friday after working there for more than a decade.

Raycom Names Sandy Breland GM of WVUE

wvue_304Raycom Media has named Sandy Breland vice president and general manager of WVUE in New Orleans.

Breland is charged with leading the transition as Raycom begins providing operational services to the New Orleans FOX affiliate Monday.

WVUE’s parent company announced last month it had entered into a shared services agreement with Raycom.

“Sandy is the perfect choice to lead and grow this station,” Paul McTear, president and CEO of Raycom said in a statement. “She knows New Orleans and served the people of that community during some of the more challenging times in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

Breland, who replaces retiring GM Joe Cook, had served as news director at rival station WWL for 11 years. Before coming to WVUE, she was the GM at Raycom’s Baton Rouge station WAFB.

Breland will continue in her other role as regional VP overseeing Raycom’s stations WAFB, KSLA in Shreveport and KPLC in Lake Charles, LA.

New Orleans TV Icon Frank Davis Dies

Frank Davis, New Orleans TV icon for CBS affiliate WWL has died.

For more than 30 years, Davis brought his morning show cooking segments, his “Fishin’ Game Report” and his “Naturally N’Awlins” features to New Orleans viewers.

In May this year, Davis revealed to viewers he was suffering from a rare autoimmune disease called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy which robbed him of the use of his arms and legs. He retired from the station in 2011.

“Thank God in heaven that I’ve got that happy personality, that I can see something bad and smile about it,” he told WWL medical reporter Meg Farris about his CIDP diagnosis in a May interview. “Believe me, I don’t want to smile about it because it bothers me. It’s a roller coaster ride. I’m good one day. I’m bad one day.” Read more

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