A Birmingham legend: Anchor Janet Hall retires from WBRC FOX6 News
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - WBRC FOX6 News Anchor/Reporter Janet Hall is stepping away from the anchor desk after 40 years delivering the news to viewers throughout the Birmingham area. Janet’s last newscast is Thursday, September 10 at 6:00 p.m.
Janet has been with viewers through it all -- from the paralyzing Blizzard of 1993, to the deadly tornadoes of April 27, 2011, to the shocking Snowmageddon of 2014. She’s traveled on our behalf to Japan in 1988 to report on a state industry tour and to Honduras in 1998 with a Birmingham humanitarian mission amid deadly mudslides. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks Janet was sent to New York City in 2001 to report on Alabama stories surrounding the still smoldering ground zero.
Her story series include “The Alabama Spotlight”, “Every Now and Then”, and most recently “Doing Good”. Janet led numerous station projects such as WBRC’s 60th Anniversary Celebration, training the WBRC service dog, Tallulah, and producing a Christmas album with fellow workers.
Janet’s career began in Mobile, but she soon returned to her hometown in 1980 as WBRC’s weekend anchor. In 1985 she teamed up with longtime co-anchor Scott Richards before sharing the anchor desk with Jonathan Hardison and Sarah Verser.
Janet said, “I am filled with gratitude and love for the viewers who have welcomed me into their homes over four decades and allowed a very young reporter to grow into a veteran anchor. It has been my honor to share your stories, your heartbreak and your joy. Thank you for supporting me as I have lived out a career beyond my wildest dreams. I am blessed to have worked with incredibly talented journalists committed to making our community a better place. I’m a lucky girl. I inherited a grand WBRC legacy when I arrived atop Red Mountain 40 years ago to work in the footsteps of legendary broadcasters I grew up watching. I now leave that legacy in the safe hands and hearts of the WBRC family.”
Janet has been recognized with numerous awards including the 2016 Silver Circle from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the 2011 Accolade Award for the documentary “April’s Fury”, Best Anchor in Alabama in 2001 and 1994 from the Associated Press as well as awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary and Extraordinary Coverage of a Planned Event. The University of Alabama honored Janet with the 2004 Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award and the 1989 Outstanding Communication Studies Alumni Award. In 1999 she was named the “Local Hero in the Fight Against Breast Cancer” by the Komen Foundation.
Janet has served the community on various boards including Urban Ministries, The Board of Visitors of the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, AIDS Alabama, The American Red Cross and Goodwill Industries. She is a long-standing volunteer and supporter of The Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure, The Hoover School System’s Finley Awards, and Oak Mountain Missions.
We compiled dozens of pictures from Janet’s TV family and her own family to share:
“No doubt about it, we owe a large debt of gratitude to Janet for all she’s done on behalf of WBRC over the year’s that has allowed this station to succeed and lead in Alabama’s largest market,” said WBRC FOX6 News Vice President and General Manager, Collin R. Gaston. “There will certainly be a void when she’s gone, but her legacy of hard work, empathy for our audiences, high journalistic standards and kind nature will live on. We wish Janet and her wonderful family nothing but the best in retirement,” said Gaston.
Morgan Hightower who will now co-anchor The Four with Sarah Verser and Live at Five at 5:30 with Jonathan Hardison wrote about her coworker Janet Hall and the standard she has set in the Birmingham television news market: Before I worked for WBRC FOX6, I knew who Janet Hall was. Everyone knows who Janet Hall is.
I was a young reporter right out of college and working in Montgomery when I saw her on the news the first time. I don’t remember the story, but I remember her delivery. She was conversational, confident and complete.
I looked up to her as a young journalist, and turned to her as a viewer. My career took me out of Alabama for 7 years, but whenever there was something “big” happening, I trusted Janet and WBRC FOX6 for the most accurate and thorough information. And I know I’m not alone.
People have welcomed her into their homes and invited her to stay for 40 years. Not just for the “big” stories, but for every day life, and arguably, stories that impact people the most.
What’s happening in schools, bringing attention to invaluable charities, highlighting the good things people do for strangers, all while holding the powerful accountable, and investigating injustices. She’s set a standard for all of us who work at FOX6 and set that bar high, challenging us all to meet her example of storytelling, credibility and compassion.
As she steps away from daily news coverage Janet plans to continue working in the community through volunteering and as an active leader of Asbury United Methodist Church. Janet said, “I look forward to having quality time with my family and the freedom to do something new. I’m not sure what that will be. I suspect it will begin with beach time, songwriting and a lot of daydreaming. Whatever evolves as my second act, I know I will forever be grateful for the first.”
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