One Man's Impact on TV News History

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 8.42.20 AM.png

Yesterday, FTVLive told you that it was 45 years ago that the "Eyewitness News" brand hit the air on WABC in New York. 

To this day, the Number 1 station in the Number 1 market still uses "Eyewitness News" as its brand. Take that Coverage You Can Count On.

And speaking of Eyewitness News, one FTVLive reader reminds of a guy that had so much history with the two events that intersect this week.

He was Jay Watson, the Program Director at WFAA in Dallas.  

Watson was among the first to break news on TV of President Kennedy being shot.

He was instrumental in harnessing all available TELCO lines out of Dallas, to make it difficult for other stations/networks to gain live access (until they paid WFAA extra money). He was also first to interview Abraham Zapruder and worked to get the historic film processed.

5 years later Jay was station manager at WJBK-TV in Detroit (then owned by Storer, then a CBS affiliate) when he got word that Primo was launching the Eyewitness News campaign at the ABC O&Os.

In the days before WXYZ was to launch, Jay turned WJBK-TV into the Detroit "Eyewitness News" station, forcing WXYZ to become an ABC O&O "Action News" station. From that moment forward, the ABC bosses gave WXYZ managers an essentially open checkbook to bring all of WJBK's top talent to WXYZ for a #1 news rating run that ran almost unchallenged for four decades

Here's a link that shows Jay's work the day Kennedy was killed.