Thank You Tennessee Valley!

L to R: Becky Shores, Stan Pylant and Denise Vickers celebrate the Station of the Year Award.

The broadcast news business can be very transient. It’s common for people to spend a few years in a market and then seemingly disappear. Their departures are usually not indicative of the environment at the station nor the community. In our business for the most part, people move on to move up.

For viewers, that can be hard because they grow to like and trust the people they see on TV, on the web and in their social media news feeds.  Behind the scenes of a news operation, there are just as many people-if not more-who come and go from a television station. I now find myself in that category. I recently accepted a position as a General Manager at WFXG Fox 54 in Augusta, Georgia.

For the last 12-plus years, I made WHNT News 19 and North Alabama my home. And, I loved it. The people and places make the quality of life so rich. And, the team at WHNT News 19 possess unparalleled passion, commitment and talent.

During my tenure, we covered significant news stories.  Some garnered national attention.  The deadly crash of a school bus from Lee High school. A deadly shooting in the halls of Discovery Middle School.  One week later, a deadly shooting on the UAH campus. Numerous deadly severe weather events, the most notable April 27, 2011. Coverage of death and destruction are a big part of what a news station does. But, it’s by no means the bulk of what we do.

In my time at WHNT News 19, we produced more stories, specials and projects that made me proud-the puff-your-chest-out and walk-a-little-taller kind.  The success wasn’t due to my involvement, rather a reflection of the commitment to excellence of the people on my team and those we partnered with in the community.

I can’t possibly list them all.  But, there are a few I feel compelled to mention.

WHNT News 19 and our partners; Rocket City Mom, iHeart Media and Crestwood Medical Center, filled a void and helped babies of low income families when we created The Great Diaper Drive.

We helped bring awareness to scams and shady operators, rip-offs and wrong-doing through our investigative reporting and our Consumer Action Line that we built in partnership with the BBB of North Alabama.

We served those who served our country.  One such way was through our Taking Action to Hire Veterans events we hosted in partnership with Still Serving Veterans.

We endeavored to bring our people closer together through Community Conversation and to find Common Ground when issues divided us.

Then there were numerous stories that warmed our hearts and made us smile.  WHNT News 19 storytellers poignantly captured the spirit of many unique people including:

Jackson Way

Murphy Wilson and Lucinda Myers

Keshia Gardner

Coach Trevor Landers

It’s impossible to condense 12 years into one post. So, I’ll simply say, “Thank you Tennessee Valley.  It’s been my pleasure working alongside the team at WHNT News 19 and serving you the best way I knew.  Thank you for placing your trust in us.  There have been other News Directors before me and there will be others after me. Through it all, one thing remains constant: WHNT News 19’s tradition of excellence and commitment to the community.”

Denise Vickers is now the General Manager at WFXG Fox 54 in Augusta, Georgia. You can reach her at dvickers@wfxg.com.

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