KATV: Long-Time General Manager Dale Nicholson Has Died

by Lance Turner  on Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 5:05 pm  

Dale Nicholson in 2009. (Photo by Jason Burt)

Dale Nicholson, who presided over one of Arkansas' most influential television stations for 25 years as general manager, died at his Little Rock home on Saturday. He was 74.

Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV-TV, Channel 7, where Nicholson spent nearly all of his professional career, announced Nicholson's death on its Facebook page Sunday afternoon.

"We have some sad news to pass along ... we're saying goodbye to an old friend of KATV's tonight," the Allbritton Communications-owned TV station said. "Our Chairman and former General Manager Dale Nicholson died at his home in Little Rock last night. He was 74."

The station aired a tribute to Nicholson during its 10 p.m. Sunday newscast, which is embedded at the bottom of this story.

Nicholson retired as general manager in October 2009 after 25 years in the top position. He was chairman of the station at the time of his death.

On Monday, KATV said visitation is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Roller Chenal Funeral Home in Little Rock. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. on Thursday at First United Methodist at 723 Center Street in Little Rock. Both events are open to the public.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., called Nicholson "an icon of television management and a wise risk-taker." He also noted Nicholson's contribution to the Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History, which is named for Pryor's father, former Arkansas Gov. David Pryor. 

"My family will be forever thankful to Dale for his efforts through KATV and Allbritton Communications to share Arkansas video archives with the Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History, giving all Arkansans access to generations of television history," Mark Pryor said. "Dale made the world around him a better place, and he will be sorely missed." 

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said Sunday that for more than half century at KATV, Nicholson helped shape television in Arkansas.

"When I first met Dale it was clear he had a tremendous passion for the Razorbacks and for serving the people of Arkansas," Long said in a prepared statement. "He was instrumental in the success of our longtime partnership with KATV, a partnership which allowed fans throughout the state to follow the Razorbacks.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nicholson family and his many friends and colleagues at KATV and around the state."   

Mark Rose succeeded Nicholson as general manager at KATV and worked for him for 25 years. On Monday, Rose said he learned "thousands" of business lessons from Nicholson over the years.



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