Interim 11Alive news director Kristie Anderson broke the news to WXIA-TV staff Wednesday morning in an email: “I want to thank him for his nearly 14 years of service. He’s been a long-time contributor to Atlanta media and sports. We wish him the best on his future endeavors.”
Hullinger spent much of his time at 11Alive as an evening anchor, providing gravitas and perspective.
His social media posts about local news with deep historical context became so popular, it spurred Atlanta Journal-Constitution metro columnist Bill Torpy to write a column about Hullinger in late 2021.
“This city is so racially divided, so economically divided, transplant versus people from here,” Hullinger told Torpy. “It’s just so layered. You don’t get below the surface. I’m telling those stories. I’ve had the luxury of a well-known face that puts me in communities where I would not be welcome. People come up and tell me stuff. I’m sort of a comfortable old blanket.”
>>RELATED: Bill Torpy’s 2021 column on Hullinger
Hullinger arrived in Atlanta in 1984, as Torpy noted, “as a 25-year-old lizard-skin boot-wearing, Corvette-driving hotshot.” He was the sports anchor at the CBS affiliate WAGA-TV at a time when local news broadcasters were kind of a big deal.
He leveraged his job into a morning spot on news/talk WGST, regular appearances on 96rock, and a weekly Falcons show on top of his regular prime-time sports duties on what became a Fox affiliate in the mid-1990s. But in 2002, he was tossed from TV after tensions with management.
For eight years, he had a tough time finding regular work in local TV news. In 2010, I wrote a piece about his struggles in a story headlined “Whatever happened to... Jeff Hullinger?” Soon after, 11Alive hired him.
It’s unclear if Hullinger, now in his mid-60s, will retire or has another job lined up.