News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Biggest Moments In Texas News, Through The Lens Of WFAA-TV [Video]

David Von Pein/WFAA

What will the Gannett buying Belo mean for WFAA-Channel 8? We don't know. But the station, which has been owned by Dallas-based Belo for more than 60 years, has been responsible for milestone coverage of the biggest events in the lifetimes of North Texas viewers.

"You'll Excuse The Fact That I'm Out Of Breath": The JFK Assassination -- The topic was hidden zippers in winter coats as the lunch hour advanced on The Julie Bennell Variety Show. It was Friday, Nov. 22, 1963. Suddenly, viewers saw frames spin out. A shellshocked Jay Watson appeared, frantic and holding copy from the United Press. He was the first to tell TV viewers that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Jerry Haynes (a.k.a. Mr. Peppermint) stood nearby and helped recount what just happened at Dealey Plaza. The curtain to the station's operations was lifted during the hours afterward as staff scrambled to assemble coverage. Just days before, WFAA had been the first TV station in North Texas to test out something called "videotape." If it hadn't, we might not have this footage, which was central in the KERA documentary Breaking The News.

Family Members Wait For Passengers On Doomed Delta Flight 191: WFAA's Brad Watson was at DFW Airport after Delta Flight 191 crashed on approach on Aug. 2, 1985. So were family members and friends of the passengers, who didn't know about the plane's fate. The horrific crash killed 137 people. You can see Watson's story in WFAA's archives.

Gunman Surrenders At WFAA Studios: After George Lott opened fire inside the Tarrant County Courthouse in 1992, killing two lawyers and injuring presiding Judge John G. Hill, he drove straight to WFAA's Dallas studios and turned himself in. Lott said he was upset over losing custody of his child. This year, Jason Whitely looked back at the Lott incident this year after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was killed while walking from his car to the courthouse. 

You Can Count on Troy: North Texans are famously passionate about who gives them the weather report. The unpredictable temps call for a constant ally, sure, but we also have our share of life-or-death storm situations - and who better to hold our hand through those than Troy Dungan? He was that guy on Channel 8 from 1976-2007. Follow his career and the advancing weather technology he used through this series of promos and forecasts.

Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think. 
Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.