Mr. Speaker, Dave Ward is your father, brother, trusted friend. If you’re from Houston, he’s been with you most, if not all, of your life. He’s the person the city turns to when they need straight talk, or when they want the no-spin facts, in times of national tragedy, or when they want to relish the success of the country’s most diverse city.
The longest running TV anchor in history will close his last 6 pm newscast on KTRK Channel 13 tomorrow. He will move on from the only TV station he’s ever worked for and he’s still at the top of his game. This year he marked the 50th anniversary of his first day on the job at KTRK Channel 13. It’s the longest run at the same TV station, according to Guinness World Records. He arrived at Channel 13 in the 1960s and took the station from third place to the top of the ratings into the 70s and beyond for the next 45 years.
Dave joined KTRK–TV in 1966 as an on-the-street reporter and photographer. The next year he was assigned to anchor Channel 13’s weekday 7 am newscast. In 1968, Dave was assigned to anchor the weekday 6 pm and 10 pm newscasts where he has remained one of Houston’s most experienced news professionals.
Born in Dallas and raised in Huntsville, Dave’s broadcast career began in radio with KGKB in Tyler. Then to WACO radio in Waco, Texas, then a stop in Houston and KNUZ/ KQUE. He started out as a reporter known for his grit and determination and for talking directly to Houstonians to see what they’re thinking.
During his career with 13 Eyewitness News, Dave has reported on everything from presidential elections to space walks, and even the Vietnam Peace Talks. He’s covered fires, explosions, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes throughout Texas and the region. He’s interviewed heads of state and traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia on numerous stories.
He’s also covered several national political conventions and worked extensively with NASA on Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and shuttle missions. Dave also landed a special one-on-one interview with President Barack Obama. In 2007, Dave was awarded an Emmy and the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcast Emmys presented by the Lone Star Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
In addition to his extraordinary broadcast career, I will always remember Dave for his role in the establishment of Houston Crime Stoppers, which has become the model of excellence for similar programs across the nation. As a judge on the bench during this time, I remember his iconic tagline, ‘‘Crime Stoppers will pay a one thousand dollar cash reward this week for information leading to the arrest and grand jury indictment of the person responsible’’ and that it led to thousands of tips coming into the Crime Stoppers hotline, hundreds of thousands of dollars in rewards, and millions in recovered property.
Just a day after celebrating his 50th anniversary on air, the first-in-the-nation Dave Ward Crime Stoppers Headquarters broke ground in Houston. The new facility will be the cornerstone of Houston’s first Public Safety and Crime Prevention Block. When asked to reflect on his career, Dave told his colleagues at KTRK, ‘‘I am very proud of my work here at Channel 13 over the past 50 years. I will always cherish having witnessed firsthand the transformation of this great city,’’ said Mr. Ward. ‘‘I leave Channel 13 with a lifetime’s worth of memories, having reported on some of Houston’s greatest moments of triumph and tragedy, including the Moon landing in 1969, the first and last space shuttle launches and many in between, and the recovery efforts following Hurricane Ike in 2008.
I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to my loyal viewers, my friends, without whom my extensive career would not have been possible. My 50 year tenure at Channel 13 represents the hallmark of my career, and I look forward to the next chapter.’’ We look forward to Dave’s next chapter too. Today in his trademark down-to-earth style, we will hear Dave begin the 6 pm newscast with ‘‘Good evening, friends,’’ for the last time. We will say goodnight to the most trusted newsman in Houston.
And that’s just the way it is.