Meet Central Florida's first African-American anchor
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 04:04:58 PM EST
Annetta Wilson made history as the first African-American to anchor a weekday evening newscast in Central Florida history.
She became a reporter for WKMG-TV (then WDBO-TV) in 1978. In 1979, she broke the color barrier as the first African-American (and African-American woman) to anchor a weekday evening newscast in Central Florida history. Her co-anchor was the respected ‘dean’ of local television, Ben Aycrigg. She has worked for WKMG twice.
Annetta moved to New York in 1983 and worked in radio. She returned to Orlando in 1987. She worked at WOFL-TV (Fox 35) anchoring news updates and producing the public affairs program, 'Impact'. In 1995, she was hired back at WKMG-TV. This time she made history as the first African-American Community Affairs Director of a major network television station in Central Florida. While there, she was once again paired with Ben Aycrigg as a news anchor, in addition to her role as Community Affairs Director.
Annetta created the WKMG-TV’s Voter Van project, which partnered with the League of Women Voters to take vans to local malls to register new voters.
During Hurricane Erin in 1995, she mobilized community volunteers and WKMG-TV’s staff and created the station’s first ever phone bank allowing viewers to call and get information during emergencies. WKMG-TV still uses the system she created.
Annetta also wrote the guidelines for a scholarship WKMG-TV established at Valencia Community College to encourage students to pursue careers in the broadcast industry.
Wilson is listed in the top 20 of the Golden 50 list of television journalists whose work made a significant impact in Central Florida (source: www.RogerSimmons.com). She is also an inductee in the Hall of Fame of the Central Florida Association of Black Journalists and Broadcasters.
While at WKMG, Annetta won a National Telly Award for a documentary called, ‘Kids N’ Violence’. It profiled an east Orange County neighborhood’s efforts to rid itself of gang activity.
Not content to just work in television, Annetta also became active in the community. She was one of the original members of the Orange County Commission on the Status of Women and served on the board of the Metropolitan Orlando Urban League. She was and is a frequently requested guest speaker for local schools and community groups.
After leaving WKMG-TV, Annetta was senior writer for Click Orlando.com, the station’s new website, before moving on to become Marketing Director for Central Florida News 13, where she made history yet again, as the first African-American to hold that position at a local television station.
Wilson uses the chops she’s earned in the broadcast industry as a foundation for her company. She is president of Annetta Wilson Media Training & Success Coaching (www.SpeakWithEase.com). In addition to her journalism credentials, she is a Certified Master Coach and Certified Trainer. Her company specializes in media training, presentation skills, the ‘elevator’ speech and communication conflicts among work teams.
Her clients have included CNN, where she was a talent coach for on-air journalists, AAA, Tupperware Brands, Inc., Walt Disney World and the University of Central Florida.
Annetta was one of 15 Central Florida businesswomen honored as ‘Women Who Mean Business’ by the Orlando Business Journal 2009. She is a ‘Silver Summit Award’ recipient from the Women’s Resource Center of Central Florida for over 25 years of community service.
She remains active in the Central Florida Community, serving on the boards of directors of Give Kids the World, BETA, and on the Board of Visitors for the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at her alma mater, Florida A&M University (where she graduated Summa Cum Laude). She was honored by the FAMU Journalism School as the Distinguished Alumnus of 2000.
Proving that once you’re bitten by the ‘journalism’ bug, it’s permanent, she currently hosts ‘Healthy Connections’ for Orange County TV.
Annetta was one of 8 coaches featured in the book, ‘Coaching for Success’ (Insight Publishing). She is the creator of two self-directed study systems, ‘You’ve Got Less than 15 Seconds. Impress Me!’, and ‘7 Secrets to Becoming a Media Magnet (How to Make the Media Your Marketing Machine)!
Annetta says, "The best part of my life is ahead. What’s happened so far has been pretty spectacular!"