BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WHNT) — Journalists from across the state of Alabama gathered for the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s (ABA) Conference this weekend in Birmingham. This annual event was postponed for the last two years due to COVID-19 and everyone was thrilled to be back together! But, for the News 19 staff, this conference, and especially Saturday, was just a little more special.
At the end of the two-day conference, they hold a luncheon, where they induct several people into the ABA Hall of Fame and announce the Broadcaster of the Year award.
This year, our very own, General Manager Stan Pylant, won the ABA Broadcaster of the Year award and was inducted into the ABA Hall of Fame!!
Stan has been with News 19 for 37 years. He began his career as an Account Executive in 1985 and worked his way up. He has served as General Manager for the last 15 years. Our station has thrived under his management. News 19 won ABA Station of the Year in 2010 and 2011, an Edward R. Murrow Award for the 2011 tornado coverage, several Emmys and ABBYs!!
“If I’ve heard him say it once, I’ve heard him say it a hundred times — what we do here is important, the community matters,” News 19 Evening Anchor Jerry Hayes said. “For the past few years, Nexstar stations helped out at a local organization – we worked at Boys and Girls Club. And he’d be out there in the hot Alabama sun doing landscaping and digging fence post holes with everyone else.”
However, Jerry isn’t the only person who knows just how invested in our community Stan is!
His wife, Donna Pylant, and Jerry mentioned Stan’s actions following the April 27, 2011 tornadoes. The outbreak of deadly tornadoes destroyed communities, left 240 people dead and injured many, many more.
The following day, Stan was interviewing people affected by the storm system over Skype and showed damage live online for the world to see. You can watch snippets from his interviews here:
“He wanted people to be able to see and know what happened and that was the only way,” Jerry said.
Donna recalls that time well, “He just went into another mode. We had no power in Huntsville for a week, but he was keeping the station going. He spent the night at the station on his office couch for four or five nights. The hours were just horrendous for everyone.”
Stan brought grills to the station and cooked for everyone to make sure the staff stayed fed.
Donna laughed as she said, “Stan just loves WHNT. He’s kept it on an even keel – he’s done a good job with that…He also takes pride in bringing along young people who are coming up behind him.”
The ABA Broadcaster of the Year award is a result of peers, both inside and outside of the agency, looking at his accomplishments as the General Manager and Vice President of WHNT-TV.
“He’ll be humble as usual and tell everyone that he doesn’t deserve it. He’ll say the award belongs to the staff,” says Jerry.
And wouldn’t you know it, right on cue, Stan sent out a long email to News 19 employees Saturday night, and here’s just a piece of his words:
“So, this award today isn’t about me. It’s about all of us. I mean that. If you were in Birmingham today, thank you for being there… Having you guys and my family there was touching. I think my 89-year-old mom was happier about Jerry hugging her neck than me. I’m not kidding!”
He continued, “There is no way this could have happened without each of you. You don’t know how proud I am to be the leader of this team. I’ve had the amazing good fortune of doing this for the past 15 years. Yes, there’ve been good years, a few rough spots and some challenging ones. And, there have been many amazing ones!”
We are very lucky and delighted to have Stan Pylant as our manager here at News 19, and we are so incredibly happy for him in receiving the ABA Broadcaster of the Year 2022!! Please join us in congratulating him on this amazing achievement!