Michael L. Neelly, a longtime Hearst Television news executive most recently serving as a news director in Cincinnati and Louisville, has been promoted to president and general manager of WAPT-TV, the Hearst Television ABC TV affiliate serving the Jackson, Mississippi, market.
The appointment, effective January 1, 2016, marks a return to Jackson for Neelly, an Ole Miss alumnus who was a photojournalist and producer in Jackson during the early 1990s. He succeeds Stuart Kellogg, who recently announced his year-end retirement after serving as WAPT’s president and general manager since 1991.
“For the last fifteen years, Mike has successfully led two Hearst Television news operations to new heights, building award-winning newscasts, increasing audience, and launching new digital products,” said Jordan Wertlieb, Hearst Television’s President. “His accomplishments, coupled with his strong leadership style and deep Mississippi roots, make Mike an excellent successor to carry on the overall growth and commitment to the local community that has been a hallmark of the WAPT team during Stuart Kellogg’s tenure.”
Neelly has served since 2012 as news director at WLWT-TV, the Hearst Television NBC affiliate in Cincinnati. While there, he helped establish “Making a Difference for Our Youth,” a multi-platform initiative spotlighting issues facing young Cincinnatians, the resources available to them and how viewers can help. He also led a rejuvenation of the news operation, overseeing staff expansion and creating an investigative unit. In recent ratings periods WLWT has ascended to the top of Cincinnati newscast ratings in key demographics and earned a 2015 Regional Emmy Award for Special Achievement: News Excellence – the market’s first station to receive the award.
The Meek School of Journalism & New Media would like to add its congratulations to Neelly and say, “Welcome home!”