Politics

Longtime WBRZ executive, Rocky Daboval, announces retirement; Trey Schmaltz named station General Manager


Rocky Daboval (left) will step down as station manager in January 2023. Current News Director Trey Schmaltz (right) will take over the newly open position.

BATON ROUGE – There are exciting similarities to Rocky Daboval’s first day at WBRZ and
today: An industry on the cusp of change, a locally-owned television station innovating and leading the future, and a lot of life to live in the years ahead. Only tomorrow won’t be the same as the tomorrow in the late 1970s – Daboval, the station’s general manager, will move into retirement.

The juggernaut broadcaster looks into his next career: A grandfather, full-time family man and mentor without the workload of running a TV operation every day.

“I wish I was 20 years younger. This may be the best time to be in local TV,” Daboval said as he announced his retirement from WBRZ after nearly 50 years at the station.

It’s a line he’s used often with his closest colleagues over the last two years as he’s looked beyond a global health crisis and uncertain political landscape, peering into the next generation of broadcasting, journalism and business partnerships.

“I cannot imagine a better television station. Frankly, there is not one. There is not a station that cares as much about our community and what we are doing than the Manship family,” Daboval said.

Daboval is part of a growing family of broadcasters: His dad was among the legacy group that built the foundation of New Orleans’ WWL TV. His son is building the foundation of the future of TV sales at WBRZ.

In preparing for this story, Daboval made sure to opine “I don’t want anything about awards, or this or that. I want to make sure it’s clear, there is no place else like WBRZ and what we’re doing here.”

But it should be noted, Daboval has helped usher in a new era of television to Baton Rouge, has won awards, helped strengthen ratings and cannot ride off into the sunset without appreciation.

He was the visionary behind WBRZ Plus, the station’s massive, 24-hour entrance into local news and exclusive content which featured the first sports-betting network brought to TV airwaves.

WBRZ is one of the last remaining locally-owned television stations in the country. It is owned by the Manship family of Baton Rouge, who built the station in 1955.

“Change is an exciting opportunity for all of us. Rocky has led us through important moments – both at WBRZ and in our community. We’ve been lucky to have Rocky guide our industry and he’s lucky to be able to now be able to spend more time with his family,” Richard Manship, WBRZ and Manship Media President/CEO said.

Daboval will oversee the transition to a new station general manager over the next four months.

Also Monday, WBRZ immediately appointed Trey Schmaltz as WBRZ General Manager to
replace Daboval. Schmaltz, a Louisiana native and 12-year station veteran, has spent the last year-and-a-half as WBRZ’s Director of News, overseeing the most news in Baton Rouge and its award-winning journalists, including the WBRZ Investigative Unit guided by Chris Nakamoto.

Schmaltz grew up in Ponchatoula where, at 15, he started a television program on WSTY TV.
He also worked at the Gagliano Group, a marketing agency in Hammond, before attending
college at the University of Louisiana. He’s been a news producer at stations in Lafayette and
Monroe and joined WBRZ in August 2010 as the 5 p.m. producer before becoming executive
producer and later assistant news director. He became the director of news in January 2021.

“I love local television and I’m elated that I’ve been able to grow my career at WBRZ. I
appreciate the Manship family for having faith in me and giving me the ability to lead the next generation of broadcasting in Baton Rouge,” Schmaltz said.

He added: “In this constant state of change we live in, I’m proud that WBRZ is – and always has been – a beacon to guide our community. I’m looking forward to being able to help guide
WBRZ’s legacy into the future, helping our business partners grow, helping our journalists hold the powerful accountable and helping our viewers navigate the world around us.”

Schmaltz will report to Jake Manship, the COO of Manship Media, who will take additional
responsibilities in overseeing his family’s two-market television business.

“For nearly seven decades, we have made it a priority to be a voice for the Greater Baton Rouge area. We are committed to being that voice for decades to come. With renewed energy, WBRZ is pushing forward like never before,” Jake Manship said.

The Manship family owns WBRZ, WBRZ Plus and WBTR in Baton Rouge along with KRGV
TV in Texas.

Viewers won’t notice much of a difference. The station will continue to double down on its
dogged pursuit of the truth, corruption watchdog reports and On Your Side consumer advocacy investigations from Brittany Weiss. The news department includes a management team built around Danny Monteverde, the assistant news director, Jeremy Krail, digital managing editor, and Kyle Orleans, who oversees the most amount of morning local news available in Baton Rouge.

Sylvia Weatherspoon and Michael Shingleton continue to lead primetime newscasts opposite
Brandi B. Harris, John Pastorek and Ashley Fruge’ in the mornings.

WBRZ newscasts are seen from 5 a.m. – nine a.m. M-F; Noon-1 M-F; Weeknights at 4, 5, 6-7, nine and 10; Weekends at nine a.m. and Saturday evenings at 6 and 10; Sunday evenings at 5:30 and 10:00.



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