Shapiro Retiring After 35 Years With Tampa’s WTVT

By Andrew Gauthier 

The Tampa Tribune

When Howard Shapiro first walked on the set of “Breakfast Beat” in 1974, it was a major culture shock.

“You’re talking about a kid from New York, two days after arriving in Tampa, walking on the set and seeing Ernie Lee sitting on a stool singing gospel music,” Shapiro recalls. “And there was a guy named Barefoot Brownie playing bass. I thought, ‘Have I done something wrong here?'”


Morning television was very different 35 years ago. WTVT, Channel 13, started the day with “Breakfast Beat,” which included farm and fishing reports, and country music by the late Lee, along with the news and weather.

Friday marks Shapiro’s last morning show at the Fox affiliate. He is retiring at age 62.

“I have my health and I want to enjoy life while I can,” he says. More…