New Orleans TV Icon Phil Johnson Dies

By Andrew Gauthier 


Phil Johnson, the New Orleans television icon who helped build WWL-TV‘s newsroom into a local and national powerhouse, giving the station a distinctive and distinguished on-air editorial voice while also winning three Peabody awards for his documentaries, died late Monday after a lengthy illness. He was 80.

A former WWL news director, documentary writer/producer and assistant general manager, Johnson, familiar for his bearded face and trademark “Good evening,” joined the station as promotion director in 1960. It did not take long for him to make his mark. Legendary general manager J. Michael Early tapped Johnson to help establish and fulfill a mission of public service, through daily editorials, established in 1962. More…