Former K8 News Director and Veteran Northeast Arkansas Broadcaster Dies

Recent family outing
Recent family outing

NOVEMBER 17, 2004 - Posted at 3:10 p.m. CST, updated at 1:29 p.m. on 11/18

BLYTHEVILLE, AR - Those of us in the K8 Newsroom are saddened today to report the death of a fellow journalist, friend and former co-worker.

Former veteran KAIT news journalist Ed White died Tuesday at his home in Blytheville of an apparent gunshot wound to the chest, according to a police report.

Immediate survivors include his wife, Jean, and stepson, Alan-Mikal Gaston.

White served the KAIT newsroom in many capacities from 1979 to 1990, as a reporter and Blytheville Bureau Chief, Assignment Editor and News Director.  After leaving KAIT, he also worked briefly in politics and the private sector before returning to broadcasting in 1992 as general manager of the Sudbury Broadcasting Radio Group in Blytheville, a capacity in which he served until his death.

A native of Kansas City, White began his professional broadcasting career at KLCN-KHLS radio in Blytheville in 1974 as News Director.  It was his talents and capacity as a journalist that many of his friends and former broadcasters will always remember.  "He had done a tremendous job with the news department there," said Keith Merritt of Jonesboro.  Merritt joined White at the Blytheville stations in 1975 as Sports Director.  The two worked together for four years before White left the stations in 1979 to join the KAIT staff.  "He's a large part of the reason I'm in Arkansas," said Merritt.  "Ed was one of the best news men and best human beings that it was my pleasure to be around.  In addition to being a very talented professional, he was also a very good man."

Current K8 News Assignment Manager Randy Myers worked with White for approximately seven years at the Sudbury stations in Myers' capacity as Director of News & Sports Programming.  "I stayed at the Blytheville stations for nine-and-a-half years, which is a long time in radio.  Ed is a big reason why I stayed there for as long as I did.  I know that working with Ed made me a better journalist, and I'd like to think, maybe even a better person.  I have no doubt that he'll be missed by many, myself included."

K8 Anchor Diana Davis was the first person White hired in his capacity as News Director at KAIT.  "Ed was a journalist with a conscience," said Davis.  "I'll always remember that he wasn't just concerned about being the first to get a story on-the-air, but Ed paid particular attention as to how a report would affect people.  He valued his colleagues and his fellow man, and for that, he will truly be missed."

White was also actively involved in the Arkansas Broadcasters Association, and was a past vice president of the organization.  He also served the Blytheville community in many organizations, including Main Street Blytheville, and regularly co-hosted an annual radio-cablethon to benefit St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.

Other friends and former co-workers also commented on White...

-Mark Herbst, former K8 Chief Photographer and Assignment Editor:  "I am incredibly lucky to have known him at all.  Those of us who knew him and worked with him will miss him more than we can say."

-Tony Brooks, former K8 Anchor & Managing Editor: "As KAIT News Director, Ed White led us through what I felt were some of the most productive days in the history of KAIT.  Ed was a true professional.  He set the mark for the rest of us.  I will miss him greatly."

Funeral arrangements for White are set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Cobb Funeral Home of Blytheville.  Visitation will be Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cobb.