The first five years of Wayne Fariss’ 39-year broadcasting career were spent in radio. In high school in Atlanta, the Tampa native majored in Speech and English and then took advanced courses which would help him in the broadcasting field. His first job was at WDMG in Douglas, Georgia. Within three months he was back in Tampa Bay at Clearwater’s WCLE, then WDAE. He became chief announcer at Ybor City’s WEBK. That’s where he gave the late wrestling commentator, Gordon Solie, his first job.
After spending two years in the Army running the military radio station at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, Wayne accepted a position with WDEL-TV in Wilmington, Delaware in 1953. Since “back home” was where he really wanted to be, he made occasional trips back to Tampa looking for a job. In the spring of 1955 came news of a new local TV station, WTVT, so he interviewed with the station’s owner, Walter Tison, and was hired immediately as a news anchor and reporter.
Wayne worked with Channel 13 for three years and then left for Miami where he spent the next twenty-six years in a similar position with NBC-TV affiliate WCKT. He retired from there in 1984 at the age of 55 and took a job with WEVU-TV in Ft. Myers as Vice President of News and news anchor for the 6 and 11 P.M. newscasts. A heart attack and open heart surgery a couple years later took him out of the newsroom for good and into a new field of endeavor, real estate.
A winner of many awards for excellence in broadcasting over the years, including a Peabody, Wayne has interviewed a virtual Who’s Who list of political subjects – from former Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s traveled and reported from all over the world, including Cuba, Jerusalem, Moscow and the Soviet-Chinese border. He was nominated by the Miami Jaycees as one of the “Nation’s Ten Outstanding Young Men” and, in 1981, was selected “Man of the Year” by the Chamber of Commerce of Miami Shores.
Wayne lived in Lake Placid (FL) at the time he passed away, October 21, 2011. He was 82.
1946 - 1951 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)