The Ups and Downs of a Tampa News Legend
By Tony Zappone
Photos courtesy Arch Deal
While Arch Deal was mainly know as an anchor and reporter at WFLA-TV,
most viewers might be surprised to learn that he actually started out at Channel
For half his professional
career, Arch Deal was widely known as the guy who gave television viewers the
local news evenings in Charlotte, North Carolina and later in Tampa.
For the second half, people have most often referred to him as “the guy
who fell three-thousand feet after his parachute failed and lived to talk about
Because a serious speech problem prevented him from even thinking about on-air work, Arch initially set out to be a radio-television engineer. ”I could not roll my ‘r’s’," recalls Arch. "I couldn’t pronounce ‘three’ or ‘thirty-three’– they would come out without the ‘r.’"
By a mysterious miracle of
sorts, Arch was able to realize his dream in spite of the odds.
Arch's big break was provided
courtesy of a public address play-by-play announcer at a ballpark in his
hometown of Hickory, North Carolina. The
announcer was always accompanied by his girlfriend and often got quite amorous
by the seventh inning.
“He would dash off with his girlfriend and just hand me the microphone to finish up the game,” Arch said. “The pressure of having to take over the announcing duties at the last minute had the effect of totally curing my problem and thus cleared me to go into my real love, broadcasting.”