Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

New Orleans Sportscaster Charged in Wife's Death

A Local Icon

Bernard Diliberto
Bernard Diliberto

Along with fellow sportscaster, the late Bernard "Buddy" Diliberto, Vince Marinello was one of the pioneers of sports coverage on New Orleans television. He was there, covering the early years of the Saints franchise, after they came into the National Football League in 1967.

Marinello was as New Orleans as they come, a local boy from the Upper Ninth Ward who made good. He grew up on Dauphine Street in the city's Bywater neighborhood, so called because it is literally, "by the water," bounded on two sides by the Mississippi River and the Industrial Canal that bisects the city, which made international headlines for its multiple floodwall breaks during Hurricane Katrina. He graduated St. Aloysius High School, where he played baseball and basketball, and began his working career as an insurance claims adjuster for State Farm. His love of athletics, however, soon pulled him into the world of sports broadcasting. After cutting his teeth in the smaller media market of Shreveport, a city of 200,000 people in northwestern Louisiana, he returned to New Orleans.

In the mid-1970s, Marinello signed on with WVUE, Channel 8 (then an ABC affiliate, now an affiliate of Fox) as a sports reporter, and was promoted to the station's sports anchor position within a few years. Co-workers at the station marveled at his passion for the job. His local accent endeared him to New Orleanians, who have an inbred disdain for slick, smooth-talking, on-air personalities who don't fit comfortably into the local neighborhood sports bar culture. He was described in a September 10, 2006, article in the Times-Picayune as "that rare creature in broadcast journalism . . . who did not see his job in New Orleans as a way station en route to a bigger market. When he talked, with the faint accent native to the Ninth Ward, his listeners knew straightaway that he was a son of this city."

In 1979, Marinello began a 14-year stint as sports anchor for NBC-affiliate WDSU, Channel 6, where his quintessential New Orleans patois and blue-collar mannerisms completed his transformation into a local icon. In his commentaries, he was hard-hitting and outspoken. Even during the Saints' winningest seasons in the late 1980s/early 1990s, he and Diliberto often tangled verbally with Head Coach Jim Mora.

Jim Mora
Jim Mora

However, despite his tough-guy demeanor and his tough-talking reputation, there was a soft, humane side to Marinello, according to friends and co-workers. His home was continually filled with stray animals he couldn't resist taking in. According to Marinello's brother, Tony, with whom he had a strained relationship, "Vince would rescue any stray animal that came along the street." Ro Brown, a former sportscaster who worked with Marinello at Channel 6 in the 1980s, had similar observations, noting that Marinello was "not able to drive by a mangy, stray dog without bringing him home and feeding him."

In 1993, Marinello left Channel 6 and kicked around for a few years before landing a radio slot on an FM oldies station. He and Robert Mitchell co-hosted the a.m. drive-time "Bob and Vinnie Morning Show," spouting local banter and taking calls to entertain commuters on their way to work, as well as those just arriving at their jobs and sipping their first cup of coffee. When the station changed formats, Marinello drifted over to a radio station group owned by media conglomerate Entercom.

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