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Posts Tagged ‘Gayle Sierens’

Jennifer Leigh to Replace Gayle Sierens at Tampa’s WFLA

6191888_GTampa NBC affiliate WFLA announced last night that anchor Jennifer Leigh would replace a Tampa Bay local news legend, Gayle Sierens, who has been with the station since 1977. Leigh will assume the role of 11 p.m. anchor in January–though Sierens is off for the rest of the year, so Leigh effectively has taken the role already. She’ll replace Sierens at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. next May.

Leigh told the Tampa Bay Times it’s a humbling promotion:

“It’s still pretty surreal,” Leigh, 42, said. “I’m just really, really honored.”

For the past two and a half years, Leigh has anchored WFLA-Ch. 8′s 7 p.m. news show. She began her career with WFLA in 1993. A fifth-generation Floridian, she grew up in Lakeland and studied mass communications at the University of South Florida.

She said taking over for her mentor is a dream come true.

“It’s not all about me getting a promotion I’ve dreamed of, but filling the shoes of someone that is so beloved in this community,” Leigh said. “The magnitude of that is not lost on me.”

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Gayle Sierens Stepping Down from WFLA Anchor Desk in 2015

Longtime WFLA anchor Gayle Sierens has announced her retirement.

Sierens told viewers during last night’s 6:00 p.m. show she plans to step down from the Tampa NBC affiliate’s anchor desk in stages. At the end of this year, she will stop anchoring the 11:00 p.m. news and on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 she will anchor her last shows at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.

“I am so grateful to live out my career in the town where I grew up. Who gets to do that?” Sierens said in a statement. “I am truly excited for this next phase of my life. I have worked the night shift for more than three decades.”

The station posted a retrospective mash up of Sierens work, see the video above.

Sierens started at WFLA in 1977 as weekend sports anchor and reporter. In 1983 she became the weekday sports anchor. She made the move from sports to news two years later.

In 1987, she made TV sports history when she became the first woman to do play-by-play for an NFL game, calling the the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Longtime WFLA Anchor Bill Ratliff Dies

Longtime WFLA anchor Bill Ratliff passed away this afternoon. The Tampa NBC-affiliate reports that he died after complications with surgery.

Ratliff worked at WFLA for nearly three decades, from 1982 to 2009, during which time he anchored the station’s morning newscast and also served as the show’s managing editor.

Before joining WFLA, Ratliff worked at WFAA in Dallas, WDIV in Detroit, and WLWT in Cincinnati, among other places.

“Our NewsChannel 8 family is deeply saddened today by the loss of our dear friend Bill Ratliff,” veteran WFLA anchor Gayle Sierens wrote on her Facebook page.  “We will all miss him so.” Read more