BATON ROUGE – He won’t call it an early retirement, but he may say it’s an opportunity to return to his roots — Earl Phelps announced he’s leaving WBRZ after six memorable years in Baton Rouge.
Phelps, who has picked up a cult following for his memorable TV moments — herding cats into a boat from a flooding home during the August 2016 disaster is among them — reports his last story on Sunday, July 24. He’ll move to Greenville, Mississippi, where he has family and work at a television station covering Mississippi’s Delta region.
Phelps is part of a growing list of legacy newsmen and women who are slowing down after decades in television news. They’re an iconic group who came up in a different era — when TV news trucks still rattled to the scene of a breaking news story with clunky equipment. There were only three networks and limited hours of news and the internet was nonexistent.
At WBRZ, Earl Phelps brought the old school newsman into the modern age. No flash but gravitas.
“It’s easy money,” Phelps was known to chuckle as he’d file his TV stories with just seconds to spare after spending all day knocking on doors and working a story until the very last minute.
He attended Humboldt State University and has worked at TV stations across the country, including two in Louisiana: WBRZ and KLFY in Lafayette.