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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
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    Jerry Hayes’ new health journey takes him to the gym

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – For nearly a month now, Greg Screws and I have kicked it into high gear when it comes to living healthier lifestyles. We’re changing our eating habits and are focused on working out. We’re early in the journey, but we both needed to make some changes. And to be honest, I’m enjoying being back in a gym. Todd Ziegler is a Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center personal trainer. He’s working with me for the next three months to make […]

  • Jerry Hayes

    Jerry Hayes announces new role in the newsroom

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There comes a time in one’s life when you say to yourself, “It’s time to hang it up and go to the house.” I’m not there yet. No, I’m not retiring and no, I’m not ready to take off the microphone one last time and walk out of the newsroom. But I am ready for a change. For most of the more than 37 years I’ve been blessed to work at WHNT News 19, I’ve been on […]

  • Kandess Anderson, a Huntsville Hospital certified registered nurse, checks Jerry Hayes' vital signs.

    Jerry Hayes begins the journey to get healthy, and invites you to join him

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – I’m on a journey to a healthier lifestyle. This week, I’m taking you along for my first visit with Kandess Anderson, a Huntsville Hospital certified registered nurse practitioner who’ll be closely watching my journey to a healthier me. Here’s my reality check. I’ll never look like I did when I was 25 years old. But that’s okay. Father Time is catching up with me and he’s kicking my you know what. Part of that is my fault. […]

  • Jerry Hayes

    WHNT News 19’s Jerry Hayes embarks on new quest to get healthy

    It’s time to get healthy! I’ve been telling myself that for years but this time, it’s time. Like most of you, I’ve tried to make healthy choices as I get older but they don’t always work. My biggest obstacle may be the shift I work. For most of my career, I’ve worked nights. I don’t go to sleep before 2 a.m. and I sleep late. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to get up and go workout or exercise. […]

  • rr20160804

    Dirty choppers/slicers & personal drinks top critical violations this week

    Didn’t Cut the Mustard: Hardee’s #5548 – (Albertville) at 11024 US Hwy 431 in Albertville: Score of 70 Chemical stored over food stock Drink cup on food stock Broken food contact equipment: fry basket, fry scoop, plastic pan Chicken fingers at 114 F Onion chopper and lettuce/tomato chopper with food residue Paradise Food Mart #3 at 2200 Chisholm Road in Florence: Score of 72 No date marking on ready to eat food -10 day notice and rules reviewed PHF/TCS being held […]

  • RestaurantRatings

    Dirty ice machines found at several local businesses this week

    Didn’t Cut the Mustard: I-65 Truck Stop at 25301 Elkton Rd. in Elkmont: Score of 76 Cooler out. Cream cheese, ham turkey 56 F Opened drink on prep table Fiesta Mexicana at 600 S. Jefferson St. in Athens: Score of 80 PHF in reach in cooler was 52 F Bare hand contact with ready to eat foods Not reheating to 165 F prior to placing in warming units Sonic Drive – In # 3348 at 914 Hwy 72 E. in […]

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    Critical violations bring low scores for 6 businesses this week

    Didn’t Cut the Mustard: Mike’s Food Mart at 1809 Hwy 72 East in Athens: Score of 79 Drink nozzles need cleaning Cooler out, PHF 0 (cheese & eggs 65) Wok-N-Roll at 115 Edgewood Drive in Florence: Score of 79 Personal drink on cutting board with food – abated by discarding Various types of cooked chicken, pork wontons, no dates – 10 day notice and rules reviewed Various cleaners stored on shelf with paper hand towels, cleaners labeled incorrectly, abated by […]

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    WHNT issues apology to restaurants for mixup in recent Restaurant Ratings report

    We want to correct a mistake we made in our Restaurant Ratings report on July 14, 2016. When we listed the critical violations sent to us by health inspectors, we attached the wrong violations to two restaurants. We apologize for the error and want to assure you that the correct violations are below. Our on-air report and web story mistakenly mentioned the wrong critical violations for Fiesta Mexicana in Tuscumbia and Rancho Viejo in Muscle Shoals. Once again, we apologize […]

  • rr 20160707

    Dirty ice machines contribute to several low scores this week!

    Didn’t Cut the Mustard: Taqueria Mexicana Costa Chica at 441 Willow Street in Scottsboro: Score of 71 Wiping hands on apron Pork salsa=130 degrees Chicken and pan of rice not date marked No bleach in sanitizer Unpackaged raw eggs stored with limes in refrigerator drawer JO-MO One Stop at 5980 Hwy 31 North in Tanner: Score of 79 Clean ice maker Drink on counter above prep unit Kim’s Tiger Mart at 30314 Ardmore Ave. in Ardmore: Score of 80 PHF […]

  • RR 6-30-16

    Mt. Top business gets lowest health score of the week

    Didn’t Cut the Mustard: Mt. Top Café at 9151 Hwy 243 in Phil Campbell: Score of 76 Toxic chemical not labeled. Abated on site by labeling Eggs and cheese in reach in cooler @ 46-50 degrees Not signed up for approved course Did not wash hands before donning gloves and handling food. Abated by discarding and washing hands Waffle House #1283 at 2501 Florence Blvd in Florence: Score of 82 Maintain cooler at 41 F or below. Personal drink spilled on prep […]

  • alabama band web

    Fort Payne’s “Alabama” hosting fan appreciation events June 24-26

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The legendary country music group “Alabama” no longer holds its June Jam in Fort Payne, but that doesn’t stop the boys in the band from showing some love to their fans.  This is Fan Appreciation Week. Jeff Cook, Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry are taking a few days off the road from their Southern Drawl Tour to be in Fort Payne. Friday night, Jeff and the All Star GoodTime Band will do a concert at the historic […]

  • rr 6-23-16

    Restaurant corrects critical violations and improves score from 70 to 95!

    Restaurant Ratings Thumbs Up: Walkers Carry Out at 13935 on Hwy 231 in Union Grove. Critical violations were corrected from an inspection in May and the business improved its score from a 70 to 95! Didn’t Cut the Mustard: Hardees # 1332 at 1110 S. Jefferson St. in Athens: Score of 76 Dirty ice shoot, drink nozzles Dirty metal bins stored as clean Damaged plastic bins and metal wire racks Grease pooling around grease can Opened water bottle on equipment […]