Fariss' career at WCKT is a local Miami
legend. Starting in 1958, Fariss
first anchored the 6p.m. news and later added the 11 p.m. edition to his duties.
He also traveled overseas to report on situations in the Middle East
during the Yom Kippur War and the Syrian bombing of the Golan Heights area.
Another trip to the Caribbean Isle of Anguilla covered a revolution of
independence. The Dominican
Republic, British Guiana, Canada, and a trip with several United States
Governors to Russia were among his assignments.
Returning from Russia in 1959, Fariss was sent immediately to Cuba for
coverage of Castro's revolution. Fariss
witnessed the 'Circus Trials' of accused Batista henchmen, and reported on their
executions. Fariss interviewed
Castro and many other top Cuban government officials, and felt their heat when
he won the first of four Freedoms Foundation Awards and a total of 11
All-American Conference to Combat Communism Vigilant Patriot Honors for the
Promotion of Americanism. WCKT's
news department received a Peabody Award and the Univ. of Missouri Gold
Medallion Award for outstanding service to journalism, among many other honors.
Miami was a hot point for news after
the 1959 Cuban revolution, the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, and the 1962 Cuban
Missile Crisis, which almost resulted in the United States and Russia going to
war. WCKT was there to cover it all with Fariss as the anchor.
Fariss watched the incredible expansion of the Miami area as it became a
major population center with expressways, airports, and the Cuban exodus, which
swelled the number of immigrant residents.
"I couldn't pay anybody enough for the experience I had in
television," reflects Fariss. "I saw things and went to places I
wouldn't have gone otherwise. It was truly an educational experience."
Because Miami is a popular vacation
spot for out-of-state station owners and program directors, Fariss fielded
offers from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu,
Washington D.C., and New York. He
finally took the big-market plunge in 1969 and anchored for WBBM, the CBS
station in Chicago. Concerned over
the crime rate and use of drugs rampant in the school system, Fariss returned
his family to Miami two and a half years later and rejoined WCKT for another 12
years. This brought the total
amount of time he spent at WCKT (now WSVN-TV) to an incredible 26 years.
He took early retirement from there in 1984 at the age of 55.
After considering a real estate career,
Fariss became V.P. of news and anchor at WEVU in the Naples/Ft. Myers market.
A major heart attack several months later followed by open heart surgery
suggested to Fariss that a real retirement was advisable.
Fariss took up real estate and left the broadcasting business behind,
except for a return visit to Miami in May of 2002 to accept a "Silver
Circle" Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Photo: Bob Soto Photography
The 2002 Silver Circle Award winners. Wayne Fariss is second from right
Looking back almost 50 years to his
time at WTVT, Fariss says it was a great run: "Channel 13 was a big booster
in my overall career. You learn so
much by shooting, writing, editing, and anchoring.
I'll always be grateful to them for the opportunity to keep learning and
(left) Wayne Fariss in 2002 (Right) Wayne Fariss and Fox 13 Anchor John Wilson in 2005
BIG 13 thanks Wayne Fariss, another
YEAR ONE WTVT employee, for sharing his history.
WAYNE FARISS PASSED AWAY ON OCTOBER 21, 2011, AT THE AGE OF 82. WAYNE WILL BE FONDLY REMEMBERED BY HIS BROADCAST COLLEAGUES AND VIEWERS.
Return to NEWS MENU CLICK HERE
return to Main Menu, CLICK HERE
To Return to NEWS MENU CLICK HERE
To return to Main Menu, CLICK HERE