• Follow me on:

Jerry Hayes is in his 38th year at WHNT News 19. He joined WHNT News 19 in March of 1979.

Jerry was born in Nashville, Tennessee. While working on his college degree at Middle Tennessee State University, he landed an internship at WTVF, the CBS affiliate in Nashville. After graduation, Jerry was hired as chief videotape editor in the News Department. In the fall of 1978, he moved to Huntsville. He was hired by WHNT as a reporter, but within a couple of weeks began producing and anchoring the weekend newscasts. After working as 10 o’clock co-anchor and then noon anchor, Jerry was moved to the 6 and 10 main anchor spot in November of 1983. After the tornadoes of April 27, 2011, he began anchoring a new newscast at 6:30 pm. In the fall of 2016, he wanted a change from anchoring the late newscast for more than 30 years. He now co-anchors the 5 and 6:30 newscasts weeknight with Melissa Riopka.

Jerry has literally been around the world gathering stories for WHNT NEWS 19. He’s reported from the White House and brought stories home from as far away as St. Petersburg, Russia. He’s interviewed celebrities like Mark Hamill and Carol Burnett. But some of his favorite memories are of interviewing and getting to know the boys in the band from Fort Payne. Jerry was the first television reporter to interview members of the group Alabama. Jerry loves country music. After all, he’s from Nashville. And in 2008 and 2010, Jerry was invited to be a guest announcer during a live portion of the Grand Ole Opry! He was thrilled to be a part of the radio show that he listened to with his great grandfather on Saturday nights.

Jerry’s been honored with numerous awards during his journalistic career. He’s a seven time Emmy nominee and two time winner! In 2010, he was inducted by the Nashville/Midsouth Chapter into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Silver Circle. Inductees are honored for their contributions to the television industry for 25 years or more in broadcasting.

Jerry was recognized with the Associated Press Television Award for Best News Anchor in Alabama in 2005, 2006 and 2015. And the Alabama Broadcasters Association presented Jerry its Abby award for News Anchor of the Year in 2008, 2011 and 2013. In 2012, he also won an Abby award for a feature story called “A Father’s Love”. Jerry was also honored with a Region 12 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Sports Reporting in 2013.

When Jerry’s not working, he loves spending time with family. That’s especially true now that he is a grandfather! He loves to fish, kayak, play golf and watch his Tennessee Titans! If you ever run into Jerry, say hello. He loves meeting the people who watch WHNT News 19. You can also email him at jerry.hayes@whnt.com.


Recent Articles
  • Governor assures Alabamians “We are prepared”

    CLANTON, Ala. – Alabama governor Kay Ivey held a news conference in Clanton to talk about how the state is responding to what is now Tropical Depression Cindy. The governor didn’t talk for long. She kept her remarks brief but she reminded everyone that even though Alabama has weathered the storm pretty well so far, we still need to stay weather alert. “Fortunately, Alabama dodged the brunt of the storm,” the governor said. But Cindy isn’t just going away. “We have […]

  • Surfers riding waves at Orange Beach despite double red flag warning

    ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Double red flags are flying over Orange Beach because of Tropical Storm Cindy. But despite the warning to stay out of the Gulf waters, some people are putting their lives at risk just to catch the perfect Alabama wave. You’ve heard it before. Any day at the beach is better than a day at work. But in this case, you might want to rethink that. “At the beach, you expect to be outside and in the water […]

  • Remembering Dad on Father’s Day

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Happy Father’s Day! You may be surprised to learn the day set aside to honor the men in our lives hasn’t been around that long. History teaches us that the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington State on June 19th, 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd wanted fathers to be recognized in addition to mothers. She was one of six children raised by her single dad after his wife died. It slowly began to catch on. In 1924, President […]

  • North Alabama family hopes good crop leads to walking in high cotton

    MOULTON, Ala. – There’s nothing more beautiful than north Alabama cotton fields ready to be picked. In Lawrence County, one family is sowing what they call “seeds of hope.” We met up with Mark Yeager and his daughter Anna Brakefield at Red Land Farms. Mark says he’s been farming, “Pretty much all my life.” He’s been raising cattle and planting crops for 35 years. When we visited, two huge tractors were being used to plant cotton on 4,000 acres. “I […]

  • Memorial Day comes with a heavy price

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Monday is Memorial Day. Many of you have the day off. But it’s more than just the end of a three-day holiday weekend. It’s the weekend when a lot of Americans fill up their vehicles and hit the road. It’s the unofficial start to the summer vacation season. You can almost smell the burgers and dogs cooking on the grill. And lot of folks will spend the holiday on the water. But Memorial Day is more than just […]

  • A reunion to remember for Butler grad

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Graduation season is here. High school seniors will make their way across stage to get their diploma. Down the road, some of those items and memories will be tucked away in a box or a drawer. We all have boxes full of memories. I found one recently that I’d packed when we renovated our newsroom. Inside, photographs of my daughters that had been on my desk, old promotional pictures of when I still had the moustache and a […]

  • BOOK SIGNING TODAY: WWII pilot’s story of courage and survival captured in book

    MADISON, Ala. — It’s a long way from Hoboken, New Jersey to the village of Moisville, France. The two are an ocean apart, separated by more than 3,500 miles. Fred Moretto made that journey to fight for our country during World War II. It’s a miracle he made it home. He’d tell you he couldn’t have done it without the help of total strangers.  Fred enlisted in the Army Air Force when he was 24. A pilot, he flew 38 missions. […]

  • Collage of student self portraits reflect a diverse community

    TONEY, Ala. – Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali, Da Vinci. The list of famous artists who have done self-portraits is long. But there’s no shortage of talent in the art work we found in a Madison county school hallway. Sara, Chris and Ameracle are 5th graders at Madison Crossroads Elementary, the largest elementary school in the Madison county system. The school is full of young artists. More than 900 of them to be exact. “I drew myself in a positive way,” Sara […]

  • Why a Virginia Tech grad lives each day to the fullest

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – It’s been a little more than 10 years since the deadly massacre at Virginia Tech. A student shot and killed 32 people before taking his own life. We sent several crews to the campus to cover the tragedy. When we arrived on campus in Blacksburg on April 16th 2007, we met Jordan Farina. He graduated from Brooks High in Killen and UAH before going to VT as a graduate assistant. He was in a building close to […]

  • Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride at Stevenson off-road park

    STEVENSON, Ala. – There’s nothing more relaxing than walking through the woods to enjoy the quiet and soak in all nature has to offer. But in a couple of weekends, you may need some ear plugs on one Jackson county property. It is 605 acres breathtaking acres in Stevenson, Alabama. The peaceful sound of nature surrounds you. That’ll change the last weekend of April. “We’’ll go flipping down some hills together,” Jake Burkey said with a laugh. Busted Knuckle Off-Road Park […]

  • Sky19: A new way WHNT News 19 will bring you the news from above

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Technology is constantly changing and improving the way we gather information to bring you the news.  An old concept now has a relatively new twist for our industry, and it’s another first for us.  We’d like to show you Sky19. Years ago, we used Skycam 19 to fly over the scene to give you a bird’s-eye view of news happening on the ground. “It was a lot of fun,” said Shane Hays, WHNT News 19’s Assistant Chief Photojournalist. […]

  • Jeff Cook, founding member of the band Alabama, announces he has Parkinson’s disease

    Jeff Cook, lead guitarist and a founding member of the country music group Alabama, has Parkinson’s disease. His family, close friends and other members of the band have known about his battle for several years. Jeff is just now going public. His health has gotten to a point where he’s having trouble playing the guitar and fiddle. Here’s the official statement released by Jeff and the band. “Approximately four years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This disease robs […]