• 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
  • Bradley Walker calls his music a blessing

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The road to making it in the music world can be tough. East Limestone’s Bradley Walker has always been up for a challenge. And nothing is going to stand in his way of achieving his dream. “I started singing before I could hardly talk good,” Bradley told me with a smile. “singing Elvira and Why Me?” He was three. A few years later, he was a guest on TNN’s Nashville Now with the Oak Ridge Boys. “That’s a […]

  • School assignment connects young boy and veteran

    MADISON COUNTY. Ala. – Another veterans day has come and gone. But this one will be remembered for a long time by a retired sailor and a third grader, thanks to a school project. Several hands went up when Samantha Maynor asked her third-grade class at Riverton Elementary, “Who would like to share one thing they learned from their veteran when you did this?” The assignment was simple. Find a veteran and have a conversation. “Maybe they knew them. Maybe they […]

  • Heartland recalls journey leading to Alabama Music HOF

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – It’s been 10 years since some local boys hit the country music charts with a number one release, “I Loved Her First.” But their career is hitting another high note. In 2006, Heartland, had just signed a record deal with Lofton Creek Records in Nashville. We caught up with them at Sammy T’s in downtown Huntsville. Their career was taking off. “Literally from Sammy T’s to being on a tour bus in a two week span,” lead singer […]

  • Inside Trinity’s Jack Daniel Cooperage

    TRINITY, Ala. – It’s only about 80 miles from Trinity, Alabama to Lynchburg, Tennessee. That short trip is one of the biggest steps in the journey to making one of the world’s best-known products. The view from Sky19 flying over the Jack Daniel Cooperage in Trinity gives you a unique view of rows of neatly stacked pallets of wood, a lot of it from the stave mill in Stevenson. The white oak really comes to life inside the plant. Brown Forman […]

  • Sheriff relaxes “no shave” rule for good cause during November

    MOULTON, Ala. – It’s no shave November. Guys put down their razors for the month to grow awareness about cancer. And for one north Alabama sheriff’s office, the disease hits close to home. Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell’s law enforcement career spans five decades. “Uniformed officers have to be clean shaven,” he said. That’s policy for a lot of guys who protect and serve our communities. “If you’re wearing a uniform, you ought to be neat,” he added. The sheriff practices […]

  • Morgan Co. Sports Hall of Famer Junior Vaughn Remembered

    DECATUR, Ala. – A north Alabama sports legend was laid to rest Thursday. William “Junior” Vaughn, Jr. died last Saturday. He was 73. Junior Vaughn grew up on Cherry Street in Decatur. He graduated from Lakeside High School. That’s where his love of sports prepared him for what was down the road. Outside the Westside Missionary Baptist Church Thursday, Junior Vaughn’s family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of the man they all knew and loved. “And even though […]

  • Seniors try to decode millennial dating slang

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – I recently saw something online saying “cuffing season” is around the corner. I had no idea what it meant. It apparently has something to do with dating and is one of the terms some young people use nowadays to talk about their relationships. Let’s face it. Dating isn’t what it used to be. “When I was a junior in high school, I had to be home at 9 o’clock,” Dell Segler told me. “I was late one time […]

  • Sky19 Fall foliage tour

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –  Fall, the time of year that marks the transition from summer to winter. A time when we watch the leaves on the trees change color to shades of yellow, orange and red before falling gently to the ground below. A time when we can watch the pallet of nature mix with seasonal colors for us to enjoy. We thought you’d enjoy a different perspective of what mother nature has to offer right now. We’re close to the […]

  • Reader leaders mentor younger students on ride home

    TONEY, Ala. – While the wheels on the bus go round and round, the pages of the book are being read and turned. Anyone who’s ridden a school bus, and most of us have, knows it can get rather loud. Nikki Bruder drives one of the buses that picks students up and takes them home from Madison Crossroads Elementary School in Harvest. It can be challenging keeping an eye on the road and on the kids. “A bus driver is […]

  • Trinity residents clean up in aftermath of EF-1 tornado

    MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – The National Weather Service confirmed damage done in the Trinity area early this morning was from an EF-1 tornado with winds of up to 105 miles per hour. The path was almost two and a half miles long and 75 yards wide. Thankfully no one was hurt, but hearing a tornado pass nearby is not how the residents of the neighborhood expected to wake up. “It sounded like somebody ran into my house with a truck,” […]

  • It’s cotton pickin’ time in north Alabama

    MOULTON, Ala. – Drive across the Tennessee Valley, and you can’t help but notice this year’s cotton crop is ready to be harvested. And for one Lawrence county family, it’s their favorite time of the year. “Amen,” Mark Yeager said with a smile. “It’s a good time.” And for more reasons than one. “We are blessed,” the third generation farmer told me. “I think we’re going to make somewhere between 900 and a thousand pounds per acre which is nearly two […]

  • 11-year-old returns as Huntsville Havoc Captain

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – On the ice, hockey players are some of the toughest guys you’ll ever see. But we found one whose toughness is pretty impressive when he’s not suited up. Jacob Brown put his first pair of hockey skates on when he was four. He started playing the next year. “It’s exciting because not a lot of people can skate,” the 11-year-old said. “And I’m excited that I have this talent.” Huntsville Havoc Coach Glen Detulleo saw Jacob’s talent. “Right […]