Georgia Public Broadcasting's new daily news program "On the Story" has added Paul Yates to its team. The show begins airing on Monday, January 13, when the state legislative session begins.
Yates, a long-time veteran newscaster who retired last month from WAGA-TV after 40 years, said leaving Fox 5 was a mutual decision. He had made the call several months ago and expected to take some time off.
Then the "coincidental and providential" arrival of "On the Story" changed his course, Yates said.
Bill Nigut, a former Channel 2 Action News reporter, joined the show last fall as senior executive producer.
Nigut said hiring Yates was a no brainer given Yates' extensive history at the state Capitol and his decades-long experience as a journalist. The Capitol "is my comfort zone," Yates said in an exclusive interview.
The show itself, he added, "opens the door for a full exploration of a range of topics. The goal is to make a real contribution to viewers around the state. I'm just happy to play a supporting role."
And he's excited to work with Nigut, a former erstwhile competitor. "He's an innovative leader and forceful personality," Yates said. "I appreciate the opportunity to work with him."
"On the Story" won't be anything like a broadcast news program. No live apartment fire coverage here. It will have relatively few taped segments since staff is pretty small. It will be issues oriented. There will be some roundtable discussions as well.
Bobbie Battista, formerly of CNN, will host. (Details here.)
The show replaces "Lawmakers," which aired on GPB during the legislative session and was hosted by 95.5 FM and AM 750 News/Talk WSB morning host Scott Slade. Slade will not be part of "On the Story." Reporter Claire Simms will return from "Lawmakers."
Nigut said the show will rely heavily on politics while the legislature is in session in a bit of a "soft launch" but will expand its topic areas later in the spring.
I had heard rumors Yates might be joining "On the Story" last month but when I interviewed him, the Fox publicist was on the line and Yates couldn't confirm anything he would do after retirement. But I mentioned GPB in passing in my story as a logical place for him to go.