Newell Normand is trading in his badge for a microphone. Entercom’s WWL in New Orleans has hired Normand to host middays, taking over for longtime host Garland Robinette who’s retiring. Normand spent 40 years in law enforcement, 37 years with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. He’ll officially retire as Jefferson Parish Sheriff August 31 and start his new radio hosting duties Monday, September 11.
Entercom New Orleans VP Chris Claus said of Normand, “He’s an extraordinary leader and a good man. Newell Normand’s opinion matters. When he talks, everybody listens. We knew Garland’s replacement had to be someone special. Someone with strong opinions, great intellect…someone who earned the respect, not just of the citizens in our community, but leaders too.”
How did this union happen? “I can honestly say we surprised Sheriff Normand,” said Diane Newman, WWL Operations and Program Director. “Called him out of the blue one day and asked if he’d consider a career change. It was a long shot — he’s one of our most popular and effective leaders — a powerful man with one powerful voice. But, just as Garland always seemed bigger than the box called television, Newell always seemed more than the uniform. His voice will be amplified behind the WWL mic, allowing him and us to make even deeper connections with our community. There are sides to Newell Normand that most people don’t know. This show will give him room to expand — to display not just his unmatched smarts and institutional knowledge, but that passion and love of community that he always had to reign as sheriff. Talent as big as the stage,” declared Newman.
Normand added, “It was a tough decision, because I love my work, my officers, and the people of Jefferson Parish, but this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I always listened to Garland and admired his voice in our community. He played a pivotal role in New Orleans’ recovery and rebirth from Katrina. Plus, good leaders know when it’s time to move on. I’m satisfied that Jefferson Parish is in great shape. The crime rate hasn’t been this low since 1974. And strong leadership is ready to step in and take over a great team — one I care about deeply and will miss dearly.” Newell Normand was elected sheriff three times and sustained approval ratings of 92%, 91% and 88%.
Why radio? “This allows me to lead in a different way,” said Normand. “These are volatile times. People don’t know what to believe, who to trust, where to turn. I’d like to help cut through the confusion and fog. I have a unique perspective, and WWL radio is a huge stage with so many platforms to reach people. Together we can be a strong force for good. My goal is simply that — to be the voice of positive change. Same mission as a sheriff… different venue. We’ll not only make honest assessments of our cities, state, and country, but our leaders. And, yes, we’ll ask questions…but anybody who knows me knows this…we’ll demand answers.”
And what does Garland Robinette think about his replacement? “He’s an inspired choice,” said Robinette. “I honestly thought there was no way they could pull it off. Sheriff Newell Normand is one of the most powerful people in Louisiana. Many thought he’d be governor one day. Law enforcement around the country admire and consult this man. My response to this news, honestly, is WOW! Newell will be a compelling host and a magnet for great guests. Everybody’s going to want to be on that show. Everybody’s going to listen. I know I will.”