NEW ORLEANS -- After nearly 40 years as south Louisiana’s most respected, popular and beloved news anchor, Angela Hill has announced her retirement from daily newscasts on WWL-TV. She will anchor her last newscast next week but remain at Channel 4 to produce documentaries and other special projects, the station has announced.
Angela joined station president and general manager Tod Smith to make the announcement at a staff meeting in the Channel 4 studios Wednesday afternoon, just one week shy of her 38th anniversary at the station. She will anchor her last newscast Thursday, April 4.
“Angela has been such an important and beloved part of our lives for so long, it will be emotional for all of us to watch her sign off from the anchor desk,” said Smith. “But the station is thrilled to be able to give her the time and resources to embark on this new chapter of her amazing career to do what she does best – tell people’s stories.”
In her new role, Angela will work closely with Dominic Massa, WWL-TV Executive Producer for Special Projects. Both said their hope is to produce quality programs that highlight the people and places of the region.
“This city has always been full of fascinating, creative, energetic and genuine people and this gives me the chance to take the time to share their stories in a very fulfilling way,” Angela said. “I am thrilled at the possibilities.”
Optimism and excitement are nothing new for Angela. They’re part of the reason why she captured so many viewers’ attention when she was first hired at Channel 4 in April 1975 by legendary general manager J. Michael Early and then-news director Phil Johnson. As further testament to her longevity and rightful place in Channel 4 history, when her name is mentioned alongside those two local broadcasting giants, Angela’s 38-year tenure puts her in esteemed company: Mr. Early led the station for 37 years and Johnson, for a remarkable 39.
Over the years, Angela has excelled at telling stories, as an anchor and reporter whose work has earned the love and admiration of thousands of viewers and the respect of her peers nationwide. A gifted writer and communicator, her most memorable stories have covered everything from animals and animal lovers to profiles of artists, musicians and authors, political leaders and even controversial newsmakers.
While she has skillfully reported on the crimes, scandals and difficult topics that make up a nightly newscast, Angela has most often been hailed for celebrating the best in all of us. That goes for both those in the community and those who have had the honor of working with her over the years.
“Angela’s leadership at WWL through her daily presence on the anchor desk, and in our newsroom, cannot be overstated,” said WWL-TV Executive News Director Bill Siegel. “Her intelligence, infectious positive attitude, and genuine care and concern for her co-workers has set an example for all of us.”
On the air, Angela has helped lead the news team which covered nearly every major news event in south Louisiana since 1975 – from hurricanes, crises and tragedies such as the crash of Pan Am Flight 759 and the 1988 Cabildo fire, to uplifting, historic moments like the visit of Pope John Paul II and the Saints’ 2010 Super Bowl win. For four decades, on election night, Mardi Gras and when the stories mattered most - Angela has been there. Former Times-Picayune writer Benjamin Morrison may have said it best when he described Angela as the “literal and figurative anchor at the station.”
For the tough stories, Angela’s sincerity and empathy made even the hardest story that much easier to take. For the happy, uplifting stories, her smile and excitement echoed what viewers were feeling. Once again, she’s become known for seeing the best in people and bringing it out – just look at how she and her Saints dolls always pulled for the boys in black and gold during their popular weekly predictions, even when they were among the few to do so.
Angela has been a part of our lives for so long, it’s almost impossible to imagine Channel 4 or New Orleans television without her. She came to WWL in 1975, soon after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. She immersed herself in the business of television and all its challenges, assuming the roles of anchor, reporter, producer and assistant news director at two small television stations in Texas. There, she quickly gained the kind of multi-faceted experience that was destined to propel her to the top as one of the industry's most trusted local news personalities.
Only months after joining WWL-TV as a consumer reporter, Angela's natural talent soon earned her a coveted chair behind the station's 6 and 10 p.m. anchor desk alongside anchor Garland Robinette. Since then, now anchoring with Dennis Woltering and Karen Swensen, she has remained a cornerstone of New Orleans television broadcasting.
In addition to her anchor duties, Angela's career has also encompassed in-depth special reports and prime-time documentaries filed from the world capitals of London, Paris, and Rome as well as from such far-flung places as China, Beirut, and Africa.
In the 1980s, some of her favorite segments made up a series called “The Good Earth,” another example of her finding beauty in all things – in this case, Mother Nature.
During her extraordinary career, Angela has garnered numerous local and national industry awards. She has been inducted into the New Orleans Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Press Club of New Orleans has honored her with its coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. The Louisiana Association of Broadcasters presented her its 2012 Golden Mike award in recognition of a career marked with achievements. Her regional and national honors include an Edward R. Murrow regional award for best writing, as well as regional Emmy nominations and the prestigious Gabriel Award, Gracie Award, and a Freedom Foundation Award.
For seven successful years, and a proud 1,688 episodes, Angela hosted the popular and critically-acclaimed "Angela” talk show which ran weekday afternoons on WWL-TV. She created and hosted the daily show that highlighted local and national issues and social issues, while also showcasing local and national talent in entertainment, business and academics. Famous faces who appeared on the show included President Bill Clinton, Barbara Bush, Quincy Jones, Anne Rice and Oprah Winfrey, not to mention scores of well-known local performers, authors, chefs, politicians and business leaders.
Angela's contributions to her community also extend way beyond the television cameras. Her profound love of animals and people alike has inspired her to give countless hours to diverse organizations ranging from the Louisiana SPCA to WRBH, City Park, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and United Way. Year after year, she proudly wears her "fashion bargains" on the anchor desk as part of her beloved "Goodwill Week" to support Goodwill Industries. Angela was named the first-ever "Animal Ambassador" by the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and was honored by the SPCA as Humanitarian of the Year for her tireless work promoting the issues of animal welfare.
“This city and this station have given me so much over the past 38 years, which is part of the reason I have tried to give back in many different ways,” Angela said, in reflecting as she prepares for the next phase of her successful career. “I treasure the opportunities I have had and look forward to even more still to come.”