For the sixth time in the past eight years, a Southeastern student has been named the state’s top student broadcaster.
Raychelle Riley of Denham Springs was named 2021 Louisiana Student Broadcaster of the Year in Television by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters (LAB) at its annual Prestige Awards ceremony held virtually this year.
Riley was selected from all college television students from throughout the state by the LAB, made up of all television and radio professionals and stations in Louisiana.
“I am so thankful to be named by the LAB as the state’s top student broadcaster,” Riley said. “I am so honored and grateful to have been recognized among so many amazing television broadcast professionals. Being selected is uplifting, motivating, and quite humbling. This reassures me that I am headed in the right direction, and that hard work does pay off in the end.”
Riley joins former Southeastern Channel reporters Erika Ferrando (2014), now at WWL-TV Ch. 4 (CBS) in New Orleans, Paul Rivera (2015), currently at WESH-TV Ch. 2 (ABC) in Orlando, Fla., Dominique Brogle (2016), formerly at KTBS-TV Ch. 7 (ABC) in Shreveport, Wesley Boone (2018), now at KTAL-TV Ch. 6 (NBC) in Shreveport, and Chris Rosato (2020), now at WAFB-TV Ch. 9 (CBS) in Baton Rouge.
“It’s a great honor that once again the Southeastern Channel has produced the top student broadcaster in Louisiana,” said Rick Settoon, Southeastern Channel general manager. “Our previous winners have taken advantage of the unique training that we offer at the Southeastern Channel, and it’s catapulted them to top state, regional and national awards. It has also prepared them for stellar careers in the industry as evidenced by the fact they are already reporting and anchoring in larger TV markets nationally in such a short amount of time after graduation. I have no doubt that Raychelle will follow suit.”
Riley was a news anchor and reporter for the Southeastern Channel’s student newscast Northshore News, which has been named the second best student television newscast in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc.
“One of my goals, always, is to make a difference, and reporting and anchoring give me the opportunity to do that,” Riley said. “I hope to gain the trust of my viewing audience and be someone they can always count on for clean, unbiased news.”
A December 2020 graduate from Southeastern as a communication major in broadcasting, Riley was hired immediately by WVLA-TV Ch. 33 (NBC)/WGMB-TV Ch. 44 (FOX) in Baton Rouge as a news reporter. Her stories air every morning for the Baton Rouge and surrounding area in roughly 300,000 TV homes.
The LAB also honored Riley a year ago with its prestigious Student Broadcaster Scholarship of $2,000. The LAB’s scholarship program supports promising future broadcasters and aids them in seeking the best quality education in the field of broadcasting. It states that the purpose for the scholarship is to encourage students of the highest caliber to enter broadcasting as a career and guarantee the future quality of broadcasting in Louisiana.
“TV news reporting and anchoring presented itself as a perfect accumulation of the things that I love, which include my community, meeting new people, writing, leadership, communication, working with the camera, and my passion for touching lives, which I have the opportunity to do every day,” Riley said.
In addition, Riley was selected as Southeastern’s first-ever personal intern for Southeastern Alumna and Emmy-winning news anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America, Robin Roberts. Interning at GMA in the summer of 2019, Riley worked closely on a daily basis with the network superstar, contributing to each morning’s GMA news production at the show’s studio in New York’s Times Square.
Riley said that working for the Southeastern Channel’s Northshore News newscast has given her invaluable, real-world training for a career in television news.
“The Southeastern Channel operates as a real, local television station,” Riley said. “It helped me accumulate all of the skills that I needed in order to be prepared when I transitioned into my career at WVLA/WGMB.”
Riley’s stories contributed to Northshore News this spring winning “Best Overall College Television Newscast” given by the Society of Professional Journalists in its “Mark of Excellence” awards for Region 12, made up of all colleges in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. The newscast was also honored as first-place “Best College Video News Program in the South” by the Southeast Journalism Conference, which is made up of 40 universities from eight states in the southeast U.S.
“The Southeastern Channel helped me attain this success by taking my passion for people, storytelling, and my community, and then providing me with the tools I needed as a reporter to bring it all together,” Riley said. “The staff and professors there are the best to learn from. They have a great deal of knowledge to share and plenty of experience in the industry. I have learned so much from them and others throughout this program. They work hard to put you in the best position for a successful career in TV News.”
The Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international, regional and state awards in the past 18 years, including 20 awards from the Emmys. The channel can be seen on Spectrum 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston and St. Helena parishes and at mthermonwebTV.com in Washington Parish. The channel’s live 24/7 webcast can be seen on Roku, Apple TV and thesoutheasternchannel.com which includes video on demand. The Southeastern Channel can also be accessed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.