‘Informed Sources’ Celebrates 40 Years on WYES

NEW ORLEANS — The year was 1984, and the World’s Fair was the biggest local news story at the time. Dutch Morial was halfway through his second term as the city’s mayor and Edwin Edwards was just starting the second of three terms as governor. With those stories as the backdrop, a new public affairs program and local reporters’ roundtable called “Informed Sources” made its debut on WYES TV, a greater New Orleans public broadcasting station.

In honor of 40 years on the air, WYES will broadcast a special retrospective of “Informed Sources” reflecting on the top news stories the weekly series has shared in the past four decades in politics, the economy, education and the media. The special will air at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22 on WYES-TV, wyes.org/live and on the WYES and PBS Apps. It will repeat at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 24.

The founder of “Informed Sources,” Marcia Kavanaugh, is the moderator, joined by the show’s longtime producer and panelist Errol Laborde. Guests for the 40th anniversary special are Norman Robinson, formewr WDSU-TV news anchor; Stephanie Riegel, reporter for The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate; and Dave Cohen, news director of WWL Radio.

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While New Orleans and southeast Louisiana has undergone tremendous change over the past 40 years, “Informed Sources” remains a source for analysis of the week’s top news stories with insights from local journalists covering the major stories of the week.

The show was inspired by “City Desk,” a program with a similar format that ran on Friday nights for seven seasons from 1971 through 1978. It featured States-Item newspaper editor Charles Ferguson as moderator and reporters from the newspaper as panelists. Kavanaugh, a New Orleans native and former WDSU news anchor who was working as a freelance producer and reporter, was recruited by WYES program managers to revive a “City Desk” style program.

Informed Sources premiered at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 3, 1984. Kavanaugh was the host, with former TV and radio reporter Elizabeth Curren conducting in-studio interviews with newsmakers. 

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“We plan to be an informative and timely show,” Kavanaugh told The Times-Picayune shortly before the first episode aired. “We hope for banter going back and forth so people feel they can be as candid as possible.”

Errol Laborde, who in 1984 was serving as associate editor of Gambit, was an early panelist and before long became associate producer and then producer. He has served as producer and regular panelist for nearly all the program’s 40 years since.

Kavanaugh left the program in 1985 and was first replaced by former network TV correspondent Richard Anderson and then by her former WDSU colleague Warren Bell, who served as moderator of “Informed Sources” from 1985 through 1987. In 1987, Larry Lorenz, chairman of the Department of Communications at Loyola University, joined the program as moderator, a role he held until 2013. Kavanaugh, who by then was back at WYES serving as its Community Projects producer, rejoined “Informed Sources” as moderator.

Errol Laborde Interviews Moon Landrieu
In this undated photo, Errol Laborde Interviews Moon Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans.

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