Wendell Harris, a longtime Birmingham anchor and news director, died this morning after a long hospital stay, according to the Birmingham News. He was 78.
Harris was hired at the Birmingham NBC-affiliate, which was then known as WAPI, in 1960. In his 21 years at the station, he worked as a reporter, assignment editor, news anchor and news director. In 1981, Harris left Birmingham for Austin, where he became general manager of KTBC. After three years, he took over as vice president and news director of KDFW in Dallas. He retired from television in 1996, according to the Birmingham News.
Wendell hired me to be the primary weather anchor for Channel 13 in September 1979 at the ripe old age of 23. I was too young, not that good, and not ready for prime time, but he gave me the chance of a lifetime. I will forever be indebted to Wendell, and I mourn his loss this morning along with his family.