Dale Nicholson: General Manager of KATV
While he isn’t absolutely sure, Dale Nicholson, who has worked at KATV-TV, Channel 7, for 46 years, believes he has the longest tenure as a general manager in this market and most likely in the country. Nicholson joined the station in 1962 as a booth announcer and became general manager in 1974.
Why television? Was it what you knew, or was it something you wanted to know more about?
I started in radio in high school to impress the girls. It was such an easy transition from radio, and for me, it was a business I just fell in love with immediately.
What television program should be canceled right this very minute?
Too many to name, but let’s start with an ABC show for summer titled “I Survived a Japanese Game Show.”
Have any of your anchors become major network anchors? If so, who are they?
Nancy Snyderman, ABC/NBC; P. Allen Smith, The Weather Channel; Kate Sullivan, WCBS; Lauren Glassber, WABC; Christina McClarty, KCBS; Susan Roberts, CBS; Regina Blakley, CBS; Greg Hurst, WABC/KHOU; Chris May, Philadelphia; Chuck Gaidica, Chicago; Susan Rosegen, National Geographic; Liz Walker, Boston; Rob Johnson, Chicago; David Schuster, CNN; Randy Kaye, CNN; Randy Moss, ESPN.
Looking back over your entire career, what anchor do you wish you had back at KATV and why?
All of the female anchors.
You’ve done some on-air editorials. What subjects have you addressed, and were you successful in getting your way?
I editorialized for Alltel Arena and the River Market. Of course, the most memorable one was in 2000 when the FCC took away the requirement of equal time. I was the only one in America who took advantage of the decision and endorsed George Bush for president.
For you personally, what top five television news events over the course of your career made the biggest impact on you?
The assassination of John F. Kennedy, landing on the moon, Nixon’s resignation, 9/11, and the Clinton campaign for the presidency and subsequent inauguration.
Tell us about your son’s and grandson’s connections in the TV biz.
Lawrence Dale Nicholson Jr. graduated from the University of Arkansas in three years with a degree in business and finance and decided he had a degree in something he was not interested in. I made a contact with friends at WFAA in Dallas, where he interned. Later he became director of sales for the Belo flagship and recently managed their facility in Tucson, Norfolk, and has just been promoted to president of their facility, WTVC Phoenix, one of the larger markets the company owns and 12th largest market in the country.
Lawrence Dale Nicholson III (or Dale 3, as we call him) is the weekend sports anchor for KATV.
Name your top three programs of all time.
“Peyton Place,” the miniseries “Roots” and “Happy Days.”
Everything changes. Name some of the changes in the industry you’ve weathered over the years.
Black and white to color, remote control devices that took away the need to get out of your chair to change channels, cable, satellite and the February 2009 change from analog to digital. Just recently KATV went tapeless, which means all of our material is now processed on hard drives.
What will television be like five years from now?
Beginning in February 2009 each existing station will have the capability of four separate subchannels. This joins cable, satellite and the upcoming AT&T U-verse (digital TV delivered over an Internet connection), along with the ability to view on-demand programs. It will challenge us to provide the best local news, commentary, weather and sports because it will be the difference maker for our stations versus other providers.