Wayne Fariss (towards right on phone) and co-workers in the WTVT Newsroom.
Photographer Marvin Scott is seen talking on the microphone
A Tallahassee bureau was established
and run by reporter John Evans, who once found himself in conflict with a
Federal judge. "This judge
demanded the film John Evans had shot outside his chambers.
Evans called us and we told him 'No, it's not his film…he can't have
it. Tell him to sue us and we'll
have a test case.' That's what
happened, and we won."
P.A. "Buddy" Sugg
Fariss fondly recalls hearing how his
former boss, P.A. "Buddy" Sugg, kept WKY-TV anchors on their toes.
"Buddy had a way of testing his on-air people. He would come in to the studio right before air and ask the
anchor what was happening on the news that night. The guy would tell Buddy about what was planned, and then
Buddy would take his script away, leaving only the format. Buddy would say 'tell it to the viewers just like you told it
to me.' Thankfully, he pulled this
in Oklahoma but not in Tampa.
Buddy was a staunch guy for not
drinking before you were working. I
was at a station party with my wife, and I had a Coke in my hand. Buddy came up, took the Coke out of my hand and smelled it.
He nodded, smiled, and handed it back to me.
He was that kind of guy. At
Christmas time, we always got a $15.00 bonus minus taxes…which meant that you
ended up with $13.00 or $14.00. One
fellow opens his check and says "My gosh, they must need this more than I
do.' Buddy heard him, said 'OK, if
that's the way you feel,' and reached over his shoulder and took the check and
ripped it up."
By 1958, Fariss got the itch to move
again. Noting that News Director
Dick John had relocated to New York to work for WNBC, and that 'Buddy' Sugg had
taken a job as head of the NBC network's owned and operated stations, Fariss
broached the topic when Sugg called in one day. "Buddy said 'I'd love to
have you up here, but I can't do that to Oklahoma Publishing. I'm indebted to them and I can't start robbing people.
I had nothing to do with Dick John coming up to WNBC…he did that on his
own.' " Sugg wished Fariss well and the conversation ended.
Niles Trammel, a former NBC President
and part owner of Miami's Channel 7 ( Trammel was the "T" in WCKT),
was visiting New York to look for an anchor and Sugg had recommended taking a
look at Fariss down in Tampa. After
viewing his potential anchorman on a hotel television, Trammel and
WCKT's Vice President Charles Kelly approached Fariss about making the
move to Miami. Fariss accepted their job offer and informed WTVT.
"Oklahoma Publishing asked me to stay on longer than two weeks, but
I couldn't. It was nice of them to
ask me, though, since they had a policy of releasing someone immediately after
they submitted a resignation."