Gayle Sierens, veteran anchor for WFLA-TV/NewsChannel 8, announced her plans to retire in May 2015 after 38 years with the station. Her last day anchoring the 11 p.m. news will be at the end of this year and her last day of anchoring the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news will be Wednesday, May 20, 2015.
“I am so grateful to live out my career in the town where I grew up. Who gets to do that?” says Sierens. “I am truly excited for this next phase of my life. I have worked the night shift for more than three decades. I’m eager to go to bed at a normal time, and have time to travel with my husband and children. I’m even hoping to improve on my golf game, and looking forward to more time to volunteer in our community.”
“Gayle is a Tampa Bay icon and if we had a jersey to retire we would be hanging it in our newsroom,” said Brad Moses, president and general manager of WFLA-TV/News Channel 8. “We’re all very happy for her well-earned retirement and we’re proud to have worked with her. However, we’ll miss her insights, daily news judgment and passion for keeping Tampa Bay viewers informed. We’ll rely on her input during this transition and look forward to one more year of strong 8 On Your Side reporting from her.”
When she joined WFLA-TV/News Channel 8 in 1977, Sierens was a weekend sports anchor/reporter and became the 11 p.m. weekday sports anchor in 1983. In October of 1985, Sierens made the transition from sportscaster to news anchor. On Dec. 27, 1987, she made television sports history. Calling the Chiefs-Seahawks action in Kansas City, Sierens became the first woman to do play-by-play for a National Football League game.
“I have had the honor to work with Gayle at News Channel 8 for a short period of time and competed against her as news director at another station in town. Working with Gayle has been an honor and privilege. You can see why she has been so successful here. She is one of the most dedicated people I have ever worked with,” said Bill Berra, vice president of news, WFLA-TV/News Channel 8.
Sierens has received Florida Emmy awards for both sports and news reporting. Her work has taken her from Tampa Bay to visiting the Pope at the Vatican to covering political unrest in Seoul, Korea.
Sierens began her career at WFSU-TV in Tallahassee, Fla. She received a B.S. degree in mass communications from Florida State University.
Sierens was the winner of the Florida Holocaust Museum’s “Loebenberg Humanitarian Award.” She was also named Humanitarian of the Year by the Judeo Christian Health Clinic. The Association of Fundraising Professionals created the “Gayle Sierens Volunteer of the Year” award in her honor. She was named a “Woman of Distinction” by Girl Scouts of America, Suncoast chapter. She also serves on the Advisory Boards for Elon University’s School of Communication, Village Partners International, and the Junior League of Tampa. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio proclaimed Jan. 7, 2007, Gayle Sierens Day in honor of her 30 year anniversary with WFLA-TV/News Channel 8.
Gayle and her husband, Mike, have been married for 26 years and have two sons, Cam and Luke, and a daughter, Maddie.
About Media General
Media General, Inc. is a leading local television broadcasting and digital media company, providing top-rated news, information and entertainment in strong markets across the U.S. The company owns or operates 31 network-affiliated broadcast television stations and their associated digital media and mobile platforms, in 28 markets. These stations reach 16.5 million, or 14%, of U.S. TV households. Sixteen of the 31 stations are located in the top 75 designated market areas. Media General first entered the local television business in 1955 when it launched WFLA in Tampa, Florida as an NBC affiliate. The company subsequently expanded its station portfolio through acquisition. In November of 2013, Media General and Young Broadcasting merged, combining Media General’s 18 stations and Young’s 13 stations.