The Southern Weekend

We’re all about weekends in the South. We’re here to highlight what people do with their free time and offer our own ideas on things you can do when you’ve got some time away from your work.

“The South” denotes many things, but to us, it’s mostly a way of life. It’s a celebration of taking things slowly, of embracing tradition, of finding the new and incorporating that into our lives, and of having a good time.


The Southern Weekend Team

 

Despite spending her teen years in upstate N.Y., Molly McKinney’s Kentucky-bred parents still made sure she was raised in a southern household. From her frequent usage of “bless their hearts!” to her perfection of the family’s Southern mashed potatoes recipe, she’s fit right in since becoming the primary host of the Southern Weekend.

Molly began her on-camera career at nine years old, when she was cast as a host of the TV show, “Aqua Kids”. She hosted the Emmy-award winning series for fourteen years (successfully capturing all of her gawky years on-camera).

Today, McKinney spends her southern weekends rock climbing, sipping micro brews, sampling hipster food trucks, and taking her dog on long hikes. When she’s not filming the Southern Weekend, you can catch her hosting the Emmy-award winning T.V. show: NASA360, and behind-the-camera producing for nonprofits and corporate clients around the world.

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Mike Mocklar firmly believes BBQ, homemade apple pie and a nice cold beverage make any day perfect. He heads up programming and editorial operations for The Southern Weekend and Raycom Media’s Digital Innovation Group. He’s based out of Atlanta. Before helping to create The Southern Weekend, Mike was an Executive Producer at HLN and CNN, where he created and acquired new programming, and produced documentaries. He also worked for CNN/Sports Illustrated, where his weekends were spent covering the SEC, ACC and NASCAR. Mike’s idea of a perfect Southern Weekend is spending time with his wife and kids … especially if it includes that BBQ, apple pie and cold beverage.
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Pete Nickell may be a Yankee by birth, but at 5 years old his family packed up and moved south to his adopted hometown of Atlanta. From the capitol of the South, he operates as a production manager and producer for The Southern Weekend. After high school, Pete headed up the road to Charlotte where he got his career started in an industry with a long history of exciting southern weekends: NASCAR. Starting as a grunt video production assistant, Pete worked his way into producer and project manager roles over his eight years with the sport. Now with the Southern Weekend, Pete helps keep the wheels moving at almost every level of the production process … and joins the fun with the production crew when the opportunities arise. An ideal Southern Weekend for Pete includes his wife and daughter, their dog, ice cold beverages and a big lake to jump into.

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Philip Weiss is Charleston born and bred. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in broadcast journalism, Philip returned home to the Lowcountry where he spent his weeks working in a newsroom, and his weekends enjoying all the Holy City has to offer. Now with The Southern Weekend, he will be cruising through Georgia and the Carolinas in search of the top food and travel destinations to help you plan your next Southern road trip. When not behind the camera, you can catch him spending his Southern weekends grilling out with friends and family, cheering on his favorite sports teams, or out beating the Southern heat on any body of water he can find.
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Big Boi once said, “If you want me, you can find me in the A”.  Not only does this lyric transcend hip-hop, it also refers to Atlanta-native and The Southern Weekend Editor and Producer, Mark Willard. After graduating from The University of Georgia, hallowed be thy name, Mark got his start in the TV & Film industry as a Production Assistant on the hit series, T.I. And Tiny – The Family Hustle. After kicking it with Tip, Mark traded in his PA duties for the marketing and advertising agency world where he produced and created video content for brands such as Marriott, Coca-Cola, and Keurig. He has also worked at Turner Broadcasting creating video content for the NBA, MLB, and NCAA.  When he’s not editing, operating a camera, or laying down a smooth voiceover, Mark can be found grilling outside and enjoying a cold one with his smokin’ hot wife and searching for the best ‘que the south has to offer.

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A strong love of all things New Orleans has kept David Gladow married to the South for over a decade, where he acts as the supervising producer for City Weekend. Before that, he spent time with media outlets like CBS Sports, the Miami Herald and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Fiercely protective of family first, he resides in uptown New Orleans with his wife, Cait, and their three kids. David is always on the lookout for a good deal, stuff that’s suitable for families, and also a little quiet! Football, food and family constitute THE perfect Southern Weekend.

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Roxanne Reid grew up in Wilkesboro, N.C. She attended UNC at Chapel Hill and kicked off her career launching distance learning sites. In 2000, Roxanne joined start-up HowStuffWorks.com, then joined Discovery a few years later. After a lovely stop at Cox Media Group, Roxanne teamed up with The Southern Weekend to help grow the digital side of the show and launch new video brands. Her ideal Southern Weekend is wave hopping in the ocean or reading under a beach umbrella, sipping an ice-cold Tab.

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Director of audience and social media for The Southern Weekend, Allie Gravitt is a wife, mom, dog collector, writer, and wannabe musician that lives outside of Atlanta. She spends most of her time in the kitchen, and loves to travel.

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Kristen Pozar Keeter loves the South so much, she hasn’t managed to get out of it much. She grew up in Huntsville, Ala., before it got really cool and left for college at the best school in Alabama. That’s Auburn University of course. After graduating with an English degree, she found a home at Raycom-owned WALB in Albany, Ga. (much to the surprise and delight of her parents) as the station’s Digital Content Manager. After earning her stripes for two years, she transplanted to Atlanta to join the Southern Weekend team as the social media producer.

 


The City Weekend Team

 

New Orleans

Shan Bailey is the digital content producer and on-air personality for FOX 8 Nola Weekend. She is a creative storyteller who is passionate about bringing interesting stories to life. Growing up on the West Bank in Jefferson Parish, Shan is a graduate of Archbishop Blenk High School and LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. In her free time, Shan loves exploring new hot spots around town, diving into good food and discovering new music. Drop her a tip about what’s hot in New Orleans!

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Baton Rouge

Chelsea LeBlanc is a lover of food, fun and the perfect Louisiana Weekend! A native Louisianan, she graduated from Louisiana State University before taking a job as a producer in Savannah, Georgia. Missing her roots however, Chelsea returned to the great “Boot” to share why she loves our state through video, articles and more for the Louisiana Weekend. When she’s not strapped with a camera or sampling food on air, you can find her on the hunt for the perfect brunch benedict and living out her Louisiana weekends with friends and family.

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Biloxi

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to beautiful beaches, slow sunsets and delicious food. Mix those together along with family and friends and you’ll have Corey Hudson’s perfect Gulf Coast Weekend. Born and raised on the coast, Corey has enjoyed working at WLOX-TV since 2002 and attributes his knack for storytelling to a passion for friendly people and a curiosity to explore.

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Columbia

Ryan Burgee is originally from Baltimore but has lived in Columbia, S.C. for close to 10 years now. Ryan started his career as a still photographer in Washington, D.C. before moving to work as a television news photojournalist in Columbia. Coming up on two years producing and managing Palmetto Weekend, Ryan loves meeting and sharing the stories of the people who work every day to shape the face of our city! Ryan has a 3-year-old son with Down Syndrome who may be the cutest baby in the Midlands. Ryan is an active advocate for awareness and inclusion.

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Knoxville

When Patrick Hoffman isn’t running around East Tennessee with a camera strapped to his face, he’s living out his dreams as a collector of Godzilla memorabilia. Rest assured, he makes his love of Godzilla known every chance he gets. Having lived across the globe, Patrick returned to his hometown of Knoxville to share his love of life and adventure with everyone he meets, and Knoxville Weekend gave him the perfect platform to bring the beauty, excitement, and diversity of East Tennessee to the world! With a degree in Video Production and more than a decade of filming, editing, and graphic animation experience, Patrick uses all his skills to capture the best East Tennessee has to offer!

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Cincinnati

Zach Powers can best be described as a writer, videographer, editor and beer lover at Cincy Weekend.

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Cape Girardeau

You can say Nichole Cartmell is Heartland Weekend. She writes, shoots and edits stories for multiple platforms while keeping a finger on what is going on around the area. Nichole has a passion for people and storytelling. Hailing from Colorado, Nichole has called Missouri home for the last seven years. She graduated from the University of Missouri and loves cheering for her Tigers. When she’s not at work, she loves spending time outdoors, especially on the water or going for a drive. She also really enjoys live music, donuts and shoes.

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Charlotte

Maggie Solomon arguably has one of the best jobs in the industry serving as the lead Queen City Weekend producer. It’s her responsibility to know the latest Charlotte has to offer and give you new reasons to explore! Born and raised in Tennessee, she’s no stranger to the South. She loves exploring the vibrant food scene and trying out all the healthy activities Charlotte has to offer! When she’s not in the city, you’ll probably find her on nearby hiking trails or cheering on her Tennessee Vols.

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Birmingham

Ryan Denley was born and raised in Tennessee and moved to Birmingham, Ala. in 2010. Ryan spends most of his weekends listening to music, watching movies and eating great food. He’s excited to be the executive producer for Magic City Weekend.

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Louisville

Amber Powell is the producer of Derby City Weekend, WAVE 3’s lifestyle brand in Louisville, Ky. In 2016, she created Sounds of the City, a series at WAVE 3 that showcases local musicians. Amber is the Executive Producer of the Kentucky Urban Entertainment Awards. She is also a managing member of The ELITEgiance, one of the largest deejay coalitions in the south/midwest. Amber is nominated for Power Player/Industry Executive of the Year for the 2018 Southern Entertainment Awards.

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Richmond

Danasia Pascal is the 12 About Town content producer bringing Richmond, Va. stories to all screens. She was raised right in Chesterfield County and went to VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Go Rams! She truly loves RVA to its core. In her spare time, you can find Danasia finding new adventures in the city, eating great food and enjoying a mimosa here and there. Find her around RVA with her camera!

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Huntsville

Katie Carpenter is the lead Tennessee Valley Weekend producer. She was born and raised in North Carolina, and loves everything about the South. Katie enjoys exploring all that Huntsville and the entire Tennessee Valley have to offer. When she is not at work, you can usually find her playing with her pup or cheering on the (NC State) Wolfpack!

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West Palm Beach

Megan Hayes was born and raised in Sweet Home Alabama and got her start in the broadcast industry as a general assignment reporter. Six years and thousands of cups of coffee later, Megan jumped at the opportunity to explore and creatively showcase all South Florida has to offer! Megan’s idea of a perfect #SouthFloridaWeekend involves hot yoga in Jupiter, a Sunday brunch with friends on Clematis Street, and an afternoon exploring Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound with her goldendoodle, Murphy.

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Memphis

Bluff City Weekend’s Andy Mannis is brand new in Memphis, hailing from a tiny town in Arkansas. He loves food, fitness, fine spirits, and beer. Especially beer. When he’s not at the gym, he’s enjoying his new home in Memphis and everything the city has to offer.

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Evansville

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Montgomery

Based out of Montgomery, Ala., Jacob Saylor is the host and producer of Central Alabama Weekend, the region’s premiere destination for food and fun.

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Tyler

Kendyl Turner writes, shoots and edits stories for The East Texas Weekend. A Texan at heart, Kendyl is from Houston but ventured away to study Journalism and Spanish at The University of Mississippi. Hotty Toddy! A few years later, Kendyl and her husband moved to East Texas where they’ve decided to make it home.

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Albany | Columbus

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Shreveport

Born in Baton Rouge, worked in Lake Charles, and living now in Shreveport, Robert Streeter has seen and loved almost all of Louisiana. He’s an award winning photographer and a member of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. Always looking for something different to do, vacations have included: walking out of a perfectly good 106 story building and falling straight down on a controlled descent wire, blasting Stormtroopers on Mustafar in a hyper reality game, and sacking and pillaging Las Vegas buffets.

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Charleston

Vagney Bradley is a true southern belle always seeking a new adventure. As producer, host, and reporter of Lowcountry Weekend, Vagney stays busy getting all the good stories. You can find her throughout the Lowcountry getting the latest on food and fun!

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Myrtle Beach

Halley May Murrow grew up a small town, southern girl from Lexington, North Carolina. She was raised on country cookin’, barbeque, and sweet tea. From an early age, she always knew she would find herself in the world of broadcasting. Today, she calls Myrtle Beach home and serves as the SC Weekend producer. Halley considers it a dream job. With an extensive background in lifestyle producing and hosting, she is passionate about people and finding the best food, activities, and hidden gems the Myrtle Beach area and Pee Dee has to offer.

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Savannah

Brian Byers graduated in 1992 from the SCAD who then hired him as professor of multimedia deign. In 1995 he moved to California to become art director at Mondo Media where he worked designing video games and animated shows. Later, he moved to the east coast bringing to life such characters as Curious George, Fisher Price Little People, Spongebob Squarepants & Barbie. He then produced and directed many award winning short films and tv shows for Discovery, TLC, and History Channel. Brian now produces “Savannah Weekend” powered by WTOC.

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Jackson

Cat Green is originally from Valdosta, Georgia, but doesn’t stray away from calling Athens, Georgia, her home. In Athens she attended the University of Georgia(which she claims is the best school ever) and is a huge football fan. She is the producer of Jackson, Mississippi’s very own “Mississippi Weekend”. When she isn’t sharing Mississippi’s fun events, cool festivities and yummy eating and drinking destinations, you can probably find her petting a dog, watching a movie or cheering on the Ga Bulldogs! (GO DAWGS)

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Tucson

Dave Levin is the Audience Development & Brand Manager for KOLD and the editor-in-chief for AZ Weekend. He is a creative storyteller who is passionate about living life to the fullest . He loves sharing the cool things and stories that are happening in Arizona. Feel free to drop him a tip about what’s going on in Arizona.

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Cleveland

Zachariah Durr has been the Video Producer for CLE Weekend since 2018. LIKES: Savory snacks, line drawings, Russian animation. DISLIKES: Wet chips, clickbait, polo shirts where the logo is most of the shirt. Has lived in Texas, Florida, New York and Ohio. Not in that order.

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Honolulu

 


Special Contributors

 

Felicia Willett started her culinary career at the age of 12, selling cheesecakes in her hometown of Jonesboro, Ark. Selling cheesecakes was only the start of a career that includes being the chef of her own restaurant, which recently hit its 15th year. After completing culinary training at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C., Felicia wanted to learn from the leader in her field: Emeril Lagasse. Felicia would earn a position as Lagasse’s assistant, co-author of his cookbooks and producer of his “Good Morning America” segments.

While building her experience with Lagasse, Felicia resolved to open her own restaurant. Felicia Suzanne’s Restaurant was opened in the beautiful Lowenstein Building in downtown Memphis in 2002. Felicia considers the Southern dishes she creates to be puritan representations of the region’s culture and signature foods.

Since the opening, she has taken being a local chef to a new level. She is an expert in cooking with the locally-sourced food of the South. Though many assert a devotion to locally-sourced food, Felicia makes it a top priority to shop at producers within 90 miles of Memphis, and she meets new farmers on her weekly farmer’s market trips.

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Pascal Racheneur has left us for different pastures, but we can’t take him off the site since he helped create it.  He still has the thickest Southern accent of anyone at The Southern Weekend. (It’s actually a Southern Belgian accent, but we pretend he’s Cajun).


About Raycom

 

The Southern Weekend is a proud member of the Raycom Media family. Headquartered in Montgomery Ala., Raycom is an employee owned company, and owns and operates 63 local television stations in 42 markets, with locations in every state in the South. Raycom also owns PureCars (a digital automotive ad platform) Raycom Sports (a marketing, production and events management and distribution company), RTM Productions (a Franklin, TN-based automotive programming production and marketing solutions company), Tupelo-Honey Productions (a NY-based production company), and Broadview Media (a post-production/digital signage company based in Montgomery, AL). Raycom is also responsible for the design and hosting of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail website.