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New Orleans

Traffic Reporter Susan Isaacs Joins WDSU

Susan Isaacs has joined WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans, as a traffic reporter.

Isaacs has spent the past two years as a reporter for Louisiana Media Company, appearing as the morning traffic reporter on New Orleans Fox affiliate WVUE. Her move to WDSU coincides with an upgrade to the traffic systems at the NBC affiliate.

“Susan’s knowledge of area roadways and her ability to gather information that will help viewers get to their destinations in a timely manner is yet another reason to watch WDSU News This Morning,” WDSU news director Jonathan Shelley said in a statement.

Triston Sanders Named Executive News Director at KENS

Triston Sanders is joining KENS, the CBS affiliate in San Antonio, as executive news director, TVSpy has learned. It is a move within Belo for Sanders, who has been assistant news director at WWL in New Orleans since September 2012.

“Triston has quickly become a part of the WWL-TV team and has contributed greatly to the recent growth of our news ratings. And while we will certainly miss her enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to excellence, we are thrilled that she will be able to take this next step in her career with BELO,” WWL general manager Tod Smith wrote in a memo to staffers Monday.

Before joining WWL, Sanders was the news director at WCTV in Tallahassee. She has also worked as a producer at WSVN in Miami and WFLA in Tampa.

Sanders begins at KENS on July 1. She replaces Kurt Davis, who was recently named vice president of news services for CBS News.

Norman Robinson Signs Off From WDSU’s 10 p.m. Newscast

In a “preliminary step” toward retirement, Norman Robinson will anchor his last 10 p.m. newscast on WDSU tonight, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Robinson plans to retire in June 2014 after 23 years at the anchor desk. He will continue as the New Orleans NBC affiliate’s 6 p.m. anchor until then.

“I decided to scale back and give myself a year to make the transition,” Robinson told the Times-Picayune. “I’m in great health. It was not a health-related decision … I’m happy with where I am. I’m excited about this. This is just a preliminary step.”

Federal Judge Refuses to Block WWL From Airing Surveillance Video

A federal judge has refused to block New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL from airing surveillance camera footage of a supermarket altercation between store employees and an alleged shoplifter who died a month after the struggle.

WWL obtained the video from the St. Bernard Parish Sherriff’s Office for a report on the death of the alleged shoplifter, Norbert Gallego. The video shows Gallego, who was mentally disabled, “being tackled, then held down by two store employees for several minutes,” according to WWL. He was hospitalized for his injuries and remained in a coma for a month before he died.

The supermarket chain, Breaux Mart, asked for an injunction to stop the station from airing the footage Tuesday, according to the Associated Press:

Breaux Mart lawyers said one of the chain’s owners saw a promotion for WWL’s news report and recognized the surveillance footage. “The advertisement ended with a statement to the effect of ‘Why weren’t these men charged?’ leaving the viewer to infer that the Breaux Mart employees had committed a crime,” they wrote.

WWL reported that nobody was charged in Gallego’s death after the parish coroner, Bryan Bertucci, concluded he died of natural causes. Bertucci told WWL that it “wasn’t an easy case.”

Watch WWL’s report, which aired last night with the surveillance camera footage, after the jump. Read more

WGNO Adds Bill Wood, Promotes Vanessa Bolano to Weekend Anchor

New Orleans ABC affiliate WGNO has hired Bill Wood as a reporter and promoted Vanessa Bolano (pictured) to weekend anchor.

Wood, who is known as “Wild” Bill Wood, will be a reporter for the stations 5 and 6 p.m. “News With a Twist” newscasts. He comes to New Orleans from Fort Myers, where he worked at WFTX as host of the Fox affiliate’s morning show. Bolano, who joined WGNO in 2009, will anchor of the 5 and 10 p.m. weekend newscasts.

“Wild Bill and Vanessa are great storytellers,” news director Rick Erbach said in a statement.” It’s fun watching them craft and polish a story throughout the day.”

WWL Scraps News It Produces for WUPL

New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL has announced, starting Monday, it will no longer produce the 9:00 pm. newscast airing on sister station MyNetworkTV affiliate WUPL. In its place, the station plans to launch a show called “The 504″ an interview show featuring WWL morning anchor Melanie Hebert.

“We’re just excited to try something new and do some longer-form interview segments,” WWL news director Bill Siegel told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I think with the kind of elections we have and the number of elections we have, it will be really valuable to have a lot of different candidates come and talk about issues and try to do some debate-style things that we couldn’t really do during regular newscasts.”

According to the Times-Picayune, the WUPL 9:00 p.m. news was one of the lowest rated newscasts in any time slot during February’s book, averaging a 1.1 rating. One rating point in the New Orleans market equals roughly 6,400 homes. Read more

Reporter Brendan McCarthy Leaving WWL

Less than a year after joining New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL, Brendan McCarthy is leaving the station for a job in Louisville.

McCarthy will be managing editor Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the in-depth journalism wing of Louisville Public Media, after he signs off from WWL in June.

“It’s no secret that newsrooms everywhere are cutting back, which is why this opportunity to build a unique, investigative newsroom in Louisville is so appealing,” McCarthy said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the fine folks at Louisville Public Media and producing more hard-hitting journalism of great impact.”

New Orleans Broadcaster Mike Herrera Dies

Mike Herrera, a New Orleans television jack-of-all-trades who may be best known for his announcing voice, has died.

Over the span of his 40 year career in television, Herrera worked as a staff announcer, weathercaster, producer and director, floor director, promotion copywriter, switchboard operator and mailroom clerk.  Most recently, he was an engineer for Belo’s CBS affiliate WWL. Herrera was also the announcer for the new PBS series featuring Chef John Besh airing on WYES.

Herrera began working in broadcasting while in High School. He hosted a local variety show called “Teen City.”  After graduating from Loyola University, he started working at what is now the New Orleans FOX affiliate WVUE.

For eight years during the 1970s and 80s, Herrera was the weekend weather anchor at WVUE where he was described as “a capable talent who can serve a TV station well in a variety of ways,” by the TV critic for the Times-Picayune States-Item.

Herrera was 66.

Commentator Chris Rose Out at WVUE

WVUE commentator Chris Rose has been dismissed from the New Orleans Fox affiliate, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

WVUE’s news director and general manager told the Times-Picayune Rose was dismissed due to budgetary concerns. “I love his stuff. It’s a luxury that takes a lot of resources for us to do,” WVUE GM Joe Cook said. “He doesn’t shoot his own stuff. His stuff is not necessarily sponsor-able. I’m going to miss him. For the same investment, I can have a couple of reporters out there.”

But Rose suspects his exit from the station was because of his January commentary, which was about the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. WVUE is owned by Louisiana Media Company, which was founded by Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints. Rose tells the Times-Picayune his side of the story:

The commentary was, “by my standards, lightweight – it was anything but a rant,” he said. “It was a cautionary tale about city spending prior to the Super Bowl, looking at the expensive palm trees downtown while people in Gentilly are still waiting to get their sidewalks rebuilt from Katrina.”

Rose said viewer reaction was positive – the commentary expressed views that many here held in the airbrush-heavy run-up to the game — but he was told to not do any more Super Bowl-related essays. “They gave no reason,” he said. “Just flat-out, ‘Don’t.’ Read more

Angela Hill to Retire After 38 Years at WWL

Angela Hill has announced she will retire from anchoring daily newscasts after 38 years at WWL, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans.

Hill and WWL president and general manager Tod Smith announced the news at a staff meeting Wednesday. Hill will anchor her last newscast on April 4 and will remain with WWL to produce documentaries and other special projects after she steps down from the news desk.

“Angela has been such an important and beloved part of our lives for so long, it will be emotional for all of us to watch her sign off from the anchor desk,” Smith said in a statement. “But the station is thrilled to be able to give her the time and resources to embark on this new chapter of her amazing career to do what she does best – tell people’s stories.”

“This city and this station have given me so much over the past 38 years, which is part of the reason I have tried to give back in many different ways,” Hill said. “I treasure the opportunities I have had and look forward to even more still to come.”

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