Ben Aycrigg, a TV legend in Orlando, died of renal failure last night at the age of 88. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Aycrigg worked for 35 years as a reporter, news director and anchor at CBS affiliate WKMG, before retiring in 1996.
“Ben Aycrigg was THE news anchor in Central Florida for many years,” WKMG general manager Skip Valet told The Sentinel‘s Hal Boedeker. “He’s often been called the ‘Walter Cronkite of Orlando television,’ and with good reason. Ben shared the day’s news, good and bad, with a clear, authoritative voice that told Channel 6 viewers, no matter how dire the news, in the end we were all going to be all right.”
Aycrigg got his first gig as a radio announcer for WDBO-AM while attending Rollins College. He left the world of radio in 1959, when he scored a gig as a reporter at WLOF (now WFTV). Two years after that, he became the first reporter at WDBO (now WKMG). He was later promoted to news director, a job he held from 1968 to 1976. He went on to anchor the 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. newscasts for the next 15 years.
Aycrigg is survived by his brother, sister, wife and three children.