WFLA-TV Vice President and General Manager Andy Alford today announced that Jennifer Leigh has been named the new anchor for the station’s 11 p.m. newscast. This new role is officially effective January 1, 2015; however, Ms. Leigh will fill in for Ms. Sierens while she is on vacation starting immediately. Ms. Leigh also will continue in her current role as anchor for WFLA’s 7 p.m. newscast.
“We are delighted to promote Jen to succeed our retiring Gayle Sierens on the 11 p.m. news,” said Mr. Alford. “Jen has been an excellent reporter and anchor for other newscasts at WFLA. She is dedicated to serving the needs of our viewers and to bringing relevant local news and information to our audience across multiple platforms.”
WFLA News Director Bill Berra said, “I am very excited that Jen will be taking on these new, expanded duties of anchoring News Channel 8 at 11. Jen is a strong journalist and tremendous person. She is a big asset to News Channel 8 and I am sure she will be a success in her new role. These are exciting times for News Channel 8. We have a tremendous anchor team that takes pride in being on the side of our viewers. With Jen’s involvement in the community and down-home roots, we know that she will work very hard to bring the best news for Tampa Bay at both 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.”
Ms. Leigh said, “I am so excited about this new opportunity. Gayle Sierens has been a tremendous colleague, mentor and friend to me for my entire career. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to work alongside her and the entire team at News Channel 8. As Gayle transitions to retirement, I look forward to filling a new role on News Channel 8 at 11. Gayle leaves some big shoes to fill and I’m honored to be part of the bright future at WFLA. It was a dream come true to get hired here back in 1993. Since then, I’ve had the honor of covering my home community and the people who make it such an amazing place to live.”
In July 2012, WFLA launched the Tampa market’s first 7 p.m. newscast and Ms. Leigh was named as the inaugural anchor. She has distinguished herself as an award-winning journalist, including awards from the Associated Press, Green Eyeshade, National Press Photographers Association and the Florida Society of Professional Journalists. She is a current nominee for a Suncoast Emmy award. Ms. Leigh graduated from the University of South Florida and grew up in Lakeland, FL.
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. Their network affiliations include CBS (12), NBC (9), ABC (7), Fox (1), MyNetwork TV (1) and CW (1). 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 into the 31-member group that exists today. Five of the stations have been on the air since 1949: WCMH in Columbus, Ohio; WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama; WJAR in Providence, Rhode, Island; KWQC in Davenport, Iowa; and KRON in San Francisco.