KLTV 7 bids farewell to Barry Hanson

By Taylor Hemness - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Barry's career at KLTV 7 began in 1967. He'd been working in radio at the time, and a friend told him to come over and give TV a try. He got the job as an announcer, but had to get used to being seen as well as heard.

"When you're a disc jockey, you talk with your hands, because no one's looking at you," Hanson said. "And we had to do several takes because old flamboyant, rubber-necked Hanson was all over the place. And they said, cut, we better do that again."

But Barry took to the camera pretty quickly. In fact, he took to everything pretty quickly, and ended up wearing a lot of hats in his forty years.

"You were an announcer, then I learned lighting, writer, producer, director, on-camera talent, just a number of things that in those days, you did what it took to get things done."

And he did get things done. After several years doing news, weather, sports, and everything else, Barry started doing what he calls some of the most rewarding work of his life--the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon.

"You felt like you were really helping people, and over 300 people in east Texas at the time that I quit doing the telethon had one form of MD or another," Hanson said. "And you knew that they needed help, and there was a great amount of help that went to them, so it was just a very rewarding thing to be involved with."

Barry spent 30 years as creative services director for KLTV 7, producing, and even showing up in, commercials for all kinds of East Texas businesses. But during that time, he also added another pair of titles to his job description: mentor and teacher.

"I first met Barry 28 years ago, when I needed help solving a problem," said Brad Streit, Group Vice President for Raycom Media, the company that owns KLTV. But he didn't hold that title when he met Barry.

"I was the manager of KTRE in Lufkin, and we were planning a live shot, which I don't think we had done in Lufkin," Streit said. "So we called our big sister in Tyler to help us out, and Barry Hanson was the guy that showed up with the live truck to help us get everything set up."

And nearly thirty years after meeting Barry, Brad says he still needs his help.

"The help I needed from him two days ago, was because I couldn't figure out the copier across from his office."

But it was in 1993, when a new show, East Texas Angler, started running on KLTV. And Barry Hanson was introduced to a whole new audience.

"I never realized just how interested in fishing people were in East Texas," Hanson said.

"You spent about 10-12 hours standing in a boat, hopefully saying something intelligent, and catching a fish, and figuring out where do you go next," Hanson said. "What do I say next, how do I get the guest to talk...because some people had not done what I did all my life...they were scared to death of that camera."

And now, finally, Barry will get to do some fishing away from the camera, without taking a single regret out on the water with him.

"I guess the thing I'm most proud of is staying in one place for forty years," Hanson said. "Just to say that I worked there that long, and that I was able to, and to feel proud that they thought I could do my job that long, and be successful at it."

Barry did say that his biggest accomplishment during his time at KLTV, is this is where he met his wife of 39 years, Dee-Dee.

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