WFLA became Arch Deal's new home in 1959
Arch recalls that the very
flamboyant and energetic Harper became news director and while quite personable,
was lacking in news experience. Bill
Henry…who had replaced Frank McGee as news director at Crawford Rice's former
station, WSFA, Channel 12, in Montgomery, Alabama…was summoned to Tampa in
1960 to help turn things around. He
immediately began anchoring the 6p.m. report.
Henry was extremely likeable,
dedicated, honest, reliable and very conservative, according to Arch.
"Bill's major problem was trouble with certain words, which he
quickly learned to avoid in stories, but not before he used “seduced”
instead of “subdued” and “orgasm” instead of “organism” several
Arch says working in the Channel
8 newsroom was more homey, relaxed and less structured than he had experienced
at WTVT. The atmosphere seemed less
competitive. News people weren’t
always trying to scoop the competition at Channel 13…at least not for a while.
Exclusive stories were important but not a blazing priority like they
were at 'Big 13', according to Deal.
In 1962, Henry turned anchor duties for both the 6p.m. and 11p.m. evening news programs over to Arch, who was already anchoring the Saturday 6p.m. slot as well.
Arch Deal with WFLA's Tony Hamilton (1963)
Arch’s early colleagues at Channel 8 included Tony Hamilton*; Emmett Mattes; Don Starr and Earl Wells, both of whom eventually moved to Channel 13; assignment editor Fred Worthington; and Charlie Mohn, a street reporter who was terminated after wrecking five news cars in one year. Mohn then went to work as a Tampa Tribune photographer using his personal vehicle for covering assignments and remained there until his retirement.
*Tony Hamilton contributed a first-person story of the day President Kennedy visited Tampa. To read it, go to "Tampa Remembers John F. Kennedy"