Lifetime Achievement Award

Dale Hansen, WFAA-TV – TEGNA

Dale Hansen

Acceptance Remarks
– Excerpt –

I speak, ladies and gentlemen, for my granddaughter. I don’t write for a check. I don’t speak out for an award. I write for my granddaughter. My granddaughter’s black. And not a week in Texas goes by that someone doesn’t remind her of what it means to be black in America. I told my granddaughter Mackenzie, I said, I’m going to DC and I’m going to talk about you in front of this group, and she said “That’s ok, Papa. When don’t you talk about me?” I write for Mackenzie, because I want her to live in a better world than I grew up in and continue to live in today. I want her to have a better world than I had, and that’s why it offends me – it’s why it disgusts me – when we are referred to as “fake news.” When WE are referred to as “the enemy of the American people.” We are the people who tell the truth. We report the facts and we expose the lies. Do we make mistakes sometimes? Of course we do. But anyone –anyone – who is dumb enough to confuse the occasional media mistake with media bias would be dumb enough to confuse today’s weather with climate.

We are the people who tell the truth. We report the facts and we expose the lies.

We report the facts. We report the facts. We tell the truth and we expose the lies and if not us, who? We provide the checks and balance that is missing in America because we know the House members not nearly enough of ’em will do it. We know too many senators won’t do it. The cabinet has never done it. And we are the last opportunity to provide the check and balance because we are becoming perilously close to the day when our courts won’t do it either. We, ladies and gentlemen, being referred to as the “enemy the American people” offends me because we are the sons and daughters of truck drivers and teachers. Cab drivers and cooks. We are the sons and daughters of those who work on our farms and in our factories.

The sons and daughters of those who work on Wall Street and Main Street. Our parents are some of the richest people in America and some of the poorest people in America. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. We speak several languages. We follow every religion and in some cases no religion at all. We are not the enemy of the American people because we are the American people.

We tell the truth. We report the facts and we expose the lies by speaking truth to power. The First Amendment, freedom of the press, might be the greatest use of pen and paper ever and as individually flawed in their personal lives as those founding fathers were it’s incredibly brilliant what they put down on paper. And it has proven to be the bedrock of this Foundation and has allowed America to survive and thrive for more than two hundred and thirty years now. If the day comes… If we were to abdicate our responsibility, if we were to ignore the obligation that we have to the American people that we did not challenge the lies, we did not report the facts, we did not tell the truth. If we allow that day to come to America, then America won’t matter anymore either. What we do matters. What we do is too important to give up now.

We are not the enemy of the American people because we are the American people.

Dale was kind enough to take a few moments to speak with our student news team. A few highlights:

Dale Hansen is nothing less than a Texas institution. His contributions to sports broadcasting simply cannot be overstated. His excellence in reporting and straight-shooting commentaries have made indelible marks on our industry and our nation’s civic discourse.”  – Dave Lougee, president and CEO, TEGNA

Dale Hansen is a true Texas one-of-a-kind, an award-winning veteran sports anchor at WFAA (the ABC affiliate in North Texas).

For over three decades on the air at the station, Hansen’s impacted DFW’s sports scene, in many ways, as much or more than the celebrated athletes, high profile coaches and colorful team owners he’s covered.

His Sunday night wrap up show, Dale Hansen’s Sports Special, has helped transform local sports coverage in the market. In particular, Hansen shined a bright light on area high schools filling a significant void and providing a distinctive platform for many of the boys and girls he’s covered throughout the years.

His ongoing Scholar Athlete program has introduced “a good kid,” as he says in the segments, each week to a market always hungry for positive young role models.

Hansen has also been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in journalism. For his contribution to the station’s searing investigation of the SMU football “pay for play” scandal in the 1980’s, Hansen was honored with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for Distinguished Journalism, as well as the duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, broadcast’s equivalent of print journalism’s famed Pulitzer Prize.

As a result of the station’s investigate reporting, the NCAA prohibited SMU from fielding a football program for a season, handing it the so-called “death penalty,” the most severe punishment ever imposed on an Division I program.

Hansen’s career began as a radio disc jockey and operations manager in small town Newton, Iowa. This was followed by a job as a sports reporter at KMTV in Omaha, where he hosted the University of Nebraska football’s Tom Osborne Show for two years.

His first position in Dallas was with KDFW, then the market’s CBS station, before joining WFAA in 1983, where he has worked ever since.

Over the years Hansen’s been active on local radio stations, supplied 11 years of broadcast booth color for the Dallas Cowboys during their 1990’s Super Bowl years.

He has also delivered a steady stream of social media messages that are the envy of his peers. Hansen’s razor sharp “Unplugged” segments are must-see TV for North Texas viewers, as well as followers on the web.

For example, in 2014 his commentary about University of Missouri defensive standout Michael Sam’s decision to publicly announce that he was gay struck a chord and was the toast of the Internet as Hansen was lauded for his candor, compassion and honesty.

He takes great pride that he was honored at the annual LGBT “Black Tie” event in Dallas in 2014 for the editorial, which also landed him a guest slot on Ellen DeGeneres’ popular syndicated talk show.

Hansen’s long list of professional honors includes twice named AP Sportscaster of the Year; three times as Texas Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; Best Sportscaster by UPI and the Dallas Press Club; and Television Personality of the Year by American Women in Radio and Television.

He has received 21 local Emmy Awards, and was inducted into the Lone Star Emmy Chapter’s prestigious Silver Circle in 2009.

Early in his career, Hansen has also worked radio jobs at KNIA (Knoxville, Iowa), KCLD (St. Cloud, Minnesota) and KOIL (Omaha).

He says he takes great pride in overcoming the fact that he never attended college.

Hansen is a military veteran. He joined the United States Navy in 1966 at age 17, receiving an honorable discharge in 1969.

“Dale Hansen’s voice has always transcended sports, but in recent years his voice has transcended north Texas. He repeatedly finds the words to make our audience – and on many occasions our nation – think, feel, and engage on some of the most important issues of our time.  All of us at WFAA are incredibly proud of him for receiving this very special, and well-deserved, award.” – Brad Ramsey, WFAA President and General Manager



RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award 2019

Updated on 2020-01-03T17:53:21+00:00, by firstawards.