• 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
  • 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 […]

  • Father and son on journey to play catch at every MLB stadium

    MADISON, Ala. – Babe Ruth once said, “Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.” 11 year old Brett Potter of Madison would agree with Babe. Finding anyone who loves the game more than Brett, well, you’d probably strike out. It’s his favorite sport. “Yes it is,” the youngster said with a smile. He loves the game because, as he puts it, “It’s fun to play.” And playing the game is almost as much […]

  • 51st annual Fiddlers Convention this week

    ATHENS, Ala. – The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention returned this week to the campus of Athens State University. But the roots of the event run much deeper than its 50-year history. The Fiddlers Convention dates back to the 1920’s when some locals got together to play. “It really started out in the West Limestone Area,” Athens State spokesman Rick Mould told us. “It got its roots from there and began to blossom and took off from there.” It […]

  • Huntsville’s hosted half a dozen sitting Presidents

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – President Donald Trump’s visit to Huntsville isn’t the first by a sitting president. Our news partners at al.com did a little digging and found that, according to the American Presidency Project, at least six presidents have made stops in the Rocket City while in office. We did a little digging of our own. We went through our own archives and blew the dust off some videotapes to take a look back in Huntsville’s history. 57 years ago, President […]

  • Mom turns to rock painting to cope with loss

    TONEY, Ala. – People handle grief in different ways. And it’s important not to paint yourself into a corner when dealing with loss.  We first met Kim Belle Isle painting with the Facebook group Rocket City Rocks. The reasons people join are as different as the rocks they paint and leave for others to find. Kim found her first rock while on a walk with a friend. “He picked this up and said Oh, I think this is meant for you,” […]

  • Murphy and his bride talk about “The Kiss”

    MADISON, Ala. – Who doesn’t love a great love story? We shared one with you in July when Lucinda Myers and Murphy Wilson’s engagement photos went viral. They were seen by millions of people around the world on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The Madison couple has now tied the knot. The last time we saw Murphy and Lucinda, they were strolling down the sidewalk, holding hands, on their way to matrimony. And Murphy was saying with a laugh, “I just want […]

  • Reflections of Hurricane Harvey

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – On this Labor Day weekend, a lot of you are enjoying a three day holiday. But for some, this is anything but another day off. They’ll be laboring for years to repair and replace what hurricane Harvey took from them last week. Last week felt like it would never end for me. It was filled with Hurricane Harvey slamming into the Texas coast and dumping historic amounts of rainfall on the area. For many, the category four […]

  • Local Facebook group growing one rock at a time

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Remember the pet rock? The fad in the mid 70’s only lasted for about six months. There’s a new craze now. And some hope this one will be rock solid. If you visit Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville, you may see people leaving rocks they’ve painted. While the idea may sound silly, it touches people’s lives. “It helped me,” Susanna Iacono told us. “It touched me.” She remembers finding her first one. “My husband and I were […]

  • Pikeville Store-n-Deli owners open up about closing and moving forward

    SCOTTSBORO, Ala. – The Pikeville Store and Deli in Jackson County is one of the most popular stops in the Tennessee Valley. It suddenly closed last fall and hasn’t reopened. But that will soon change. Dwayne and Connie Wilkerson own the Pikeville Store. It’s been in Dwayne’s family for years. Just like the intersection where the store stands, the owners have reached a crossroads in their lives. “The store has been here since probably 1906 or 1907,” Dwayne told me. He […]

  • Huntsville’s First United Methodist Church celebrates a milestone

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – First United Methodist Church in downtown Huntsville is celebrating a milestone. The congregation and members of the community gathered at the corner of Greene Street and Randolph Avenue Sunday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone. Everyone enjoyed music, ice cream and fellowship. One and a half centuries is a long time, but the church has survived longer than that. First Methodist is one of the six original Methodist churches in Alabama. “Even […]

  • “He was a good boy”: Dad visits son’s grave twice a day

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Life is a journey. There is a beginning and an end. And there are twists and turns along the way. We found a man who is traveling a road on his journey that he never planned to take. But he’s dealing with it the best way he knows how. Every day, Stan Wilson parks his truck, grabs his lawn chair out of the back and makes a pilgrimage across Huntsville’s McClung Avenue. He’s on his way to spend […]

  • Local business helps gun owners personalize their weapons

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There are a lot of gun owners in the Tennessee Valley. And sometimes, they want their weapon to blend in or stand out. That’s when they turn to Cole Baker. Baker Hydrographics on Huntsville’s South Memorial Parkway looks like any other business on the outside, but inside, there’s a lot of camo. Cole was show us a beaver, bobcat, coyote and deer skull he had done for customers. He then picked up a shotgun stock with a camo […]