Pioneering local TV host Bobbie Wygant dies at 97 

dfwnewsa | February 19, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Pioneering local TV host Bobbie Wygant dies at 97 

Bobbie Wygant, left, interviews pianist Van Cliburn on WBAP-TV in 1962. (Courtesy photo | University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History/UNT Libraries Special Collections)
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Longtime local reporter and television host Bobbie Wygant has died at the age of 97. 

Wygant became part of the television landscape in North Texas in 1948, hired just before NBC5, then known as WBAP, went on the air. According to the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which presented her with the inaugural Gold Circle award in 2004, she was the first woman to host and produce a general interest television program, “Dateline,” which premiered in 1960 on WBAP. 

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On the program, Wygant interviewed hundreds, if not thousands, of celebrities and local newsmakers. She was on the air live Nov. 22, 1963, when she broke the news to her audience that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. 

In the 1970s, “Dateline” ended and Wygant moved to the news department, where she shared anchor duties on the 5 p.m. newscast with Chip Moody. In the 1980s, she became a full-time arts and entertainment reporter. 

To see some of Bobbie Wygant’s many interviews: 

The Bobbie Wygant Archive – YouTube

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She retired from NBC 5 in 1999 but continued to freelance for the station for many years. She also remained active in the community, raising money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, SafeHaven of Tarrant County and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Born Roberta Connolly on Nov. 22, 1926, in Lafayette, Indiana, Bobbie, as she was known, came to Texas after college with her late husband, Phil Wygant. He also worked for the television station. She had a degree in broadcasting and psychology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In an extensive interview with the University of North Texas, she said she had always wanted to come to Texas after seeing it in the movies. 

Funeral arrangements are pending.  

 Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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