Ken Foote’s Radio/TV Files: Meeting Harry Reasoner
When I was attending St. Mark’s School of Texas, they had built a closed circuit TV facility that was located in the old Science Lecture Hall in the Science/Mathematics Quadrangle. Four of my classmates and I took it over to program it and have a little fun. We called it WLTV, “Lion TV”, which was the St. Mark’s mascot. I was the program director and my longtime childhood friend and still a friend today, Tom Dohearty, was Vice President & General Manager.
We taped the St Mark’s home football games on Fridays night and played them back later, but our #1 show was reruns of Leave It To Beaver! But our biggest coup was yet to come!
In the spring of 1972, we got word that Harry Reasoner, who had left CBS for ABC as the anchor of the ABC Evening News (as it was called then), was coming to Dallas. So we wrote him a letter and asked if we could interview him. The next thing we knew, ABC News called the school and left word that he had granted our request and to make arrangements with WFAA Channel 8. That call created so much buzz around the school for guy like me who was not their best student.
I called Mike Shapiro, the General Manager of Channel 8. Mike was a legendary TV GM and well respected all over the United States. He and my dad knew each other as members of the Dallas Salesmanship Club. When I called Mike and told him what was going on, he didn’t believe me! Thought I was some smart-alecky kid pulling his leg! But he finally agreed to permit us to bring our equipment to do the interview. Harry later corroborated our story so that helped!
We did the interview in a small studio at WFAA. Harry couldn’t have been nicer. Mike was so gracious as well. After all, he was the man that built Channel 8.
After the interview, Harry signed some autographs for us. At my parents home in Dallas, there are photographs of the late Travis Lynn, who was their news director. I have a photo in my KTVT office with Harry.
While we were there, we saw this young, thin on-air talent walking down the hallway and he had to step by Mike and Harry. He saw us and smiled. That man was none other than CBS Sports announcer Verne Lundquist!
What a day we had!
See you next time!