WBAY at 70: Weekend anchor Hazel Sanchez

From Green Bay to the biggest market in the nation
Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - We’re now just a few days away from WBAY’s 70th anniversary on March 17. As we mark the occasion, we’re also looking back at the station’s history and speaking with a number of familiar faces. This includes a former weekend anchor and reporter now working in the country’s top television market.

“I should do this,” Hazel Sanchez says, fiddling with the settings on our video chat and adding a retro sunglasses filter. “Alright, let’s do the whole interview like this, Alexander!”

Oh how some things never change.

Just a few months after I started at WBAY in 1994, Hazel arrived from Marquette University. She felt at home right away.

“So many of us came here from all parts of the country. I mean, you came from Washington, I was from Chicago, not too far, but most of us came without family, right, so that was our family”

“I’m getting choked up because it was such a great experience, and I will always be so grateful for the experiences, for the friendships that clearly will outlast time. Look at us!” Hazel’s mood quickly changes and she laughs.

Hazel recalls the mid-90′s being a great time to be reporting in Green Bay.

The Packers were on the verge of returning to glory after three decades.

“I just remember that it felt like I was in a community where it was just one huge family, and it was like a college team, or your buddies playing on the Packers. That was I guess the weirdest part is that the people that we hung out with, our friends, were people that played for the Packers, and I guess in any other environment, big city, it would be different.”

After 6 years at WBAY, Hazel made a massive career jump all the way to the country’s top television market, reporting for WCBS in New York.

She spent 21 years there and now anchors the morning news at WPIX.

Hazel credits the culture of the Action 2 News newsroom, where accuracy and empathy are always first and foremost, for making her the journalist she is today.

“I’ll never forget the people who I learned from -- Mary Smits, Chuck Ramsay, Bill Jartz, Cami -- just so many people that I looked up to,” Hazel says. “And I feel like I really learned the importance of making sure that we told stories from somebody else’s, we were the voice for people that maybe were the voiceless, if that makes sense, and I think we made sure that was an important part of doing our job, and not just spouting out facts that everybody else was going to have. We were just the station that had heart.”

And a station Hazel Sanchez will always hold dear to her heart.

“WBAY was, well I shouldn’t say was, it is such a special place, I don’t know why I’m crying, but it really was. It really is such a special place, and I’m so honored to have been a part of it.”