WXXV has been Lon Tegels dream job, starting a news operation from scratch. Four sheet rock walls and a poured concrete floor. Tegels was given the opportunity to build a news operation from the ground up. He hired a news staff that will set the standard for years to come. The challenge was to create a clean product that will give Gulfport/Biloxi viewers a choice. News 25 isn't the biggest operation in Mississippi, but our story selection, production values, and weather are all part of our “Brand”.
Tegels has been in the broadcast news business for more than 30 years. Before moving to Gulfport/Biloxi, he spent ten years in Ohio at a station that had all four network affiliate stations under one roof. Here in Gulfport, News 25 is both a NBC and FOX affiliate. In addition to his duties as News Director at five previous stations, he has also been a reporter, photographer, sports anchor, and assignment manager. Tegels is a graduate of Iowa State University and a native of Story City, Iowa (near Des Moines) .
Highlights of his career include breaking the "Heaven's Gate" mass suicide story while working for NBC in San Diego. Remember the group who wanted a better life by chasing the Hailey Bopp Comet? Other highlights include the announcement of the Jacksonville Jaguars as the 30th NFL team while working for WTLV in Jacksonville, FL. Tegels also organized local coverage for the Super Bowl, National League Championship Series between the Padres and Braves, and the 1994 Republican National Convention. In Florida, it was Hurricane Andrew, and one can't work in television in Iowa without covering the Iowa Caucuses. He has covered three.
November 2012 might have been his biggest challenge, he says, with Presidential campaign coverage in Lima, Ohio. His station had Mitt Romney on Wednesday, President Obama on Friday, and the Presidential election on Tuesday. They provided bi-hourly cut ins on all four networks. He says their coverage was superb. Tegels says his dream is to provide residents of the Coast the same big market feel once News 25 gets better established.
Tegels says he looks forward to the same kind of challenges in Gulfport/Biloxi such as big stories with hurricanes. Breaking spot news are his favorite stories to work on. If he can find a great feature that's o.k. too. Parades and community festivals can all be compelling stories if one puts a human face on the story.