WTAE noon news anchor Sally Wiggin will leave the anchor desk for a new assignment as host of the ongoing series of one-hour prime-time news specials, "WTAE Chronicle."
"Stations have to think of the future and they want me to be a part of that and that's validating," said Ms. Wiggin, 60. "When you get to this age, you want to be challenged because it's good for your brain. This will challenge me in a way reading a TelePrompTer was not. This is exactly what I want to be doing."
In addition to "WTAE Chronicle," Ms. Wiggin will continue contributing to WTAE newscasts, although not on a daily basis, and she will still anchor "WTAE Black & Gold Primetime," a Steelers pregame show that airs when a Steelers game is carried on Channel 4. She'll remain a full-time member of the WTAE news department when her new job begins July 1.
Ms. Wiggin has anchored the noon newscast since April 2004; prior to that she was an 11 p.m. anchor for 16 years. She also anchored the 6 p.m. news for 22 years until September 2008.
Anchoring, and the daily visibility it affords, is generally considered the goal in the TV news business, but Ms. Wiggin, who joined WTAE in 1980, said she won't miss the anchor desk.
"I've been on the air so much and for so long that it really doesn't mean to me what it used to," she said. "I love long-form journalism; I just never dreamed we would have it again at WTAE-TV, and I'm elated, actually."
Ms. Wiggin said she has a topic in mind for her first "WTAE Chronicle" report and she credits Channel 4 news director Justin Antoniotti, who arrived at WTAE in October from another Hearst-owned station in Greenville, S.C., with the series concept.
"This is his baby," she said. "He did this in Greenville and it was very well-respected and everybody wanted to be a part of it. Honestly, I feel very honored that they're letting me take a central role in this."
Channel 4 president and general manager Charles Wolfertz III said a new noon anchor will be announced soon. Candidates likely include morning traffic reporter Janelle Hall and morning news anchors Michelle Wright and Kelly Frey.
Mr. Wolfertz said the first "Chronicle" broadcast date and topic will be announced next week. He anticipates the program will air four to six times per year.
"This program is important to the community," Mr. Wolfertz said. "It will be focused on local issues that affect Pittsburgh and few people know Pittsburgh better than Sally. We think this long-form storytelling will be a perfect fit for her."
TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.