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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dick John, former KHOU 11 news director, has died

Dick John hired the likes of Jessica Savitch, Linda Ellerbee, Ron Franklin at KHOU

Dick John KHOU
Dick John
Dick John, one of the people responsible for building the KHOU news department, has died at age 84. Former KHOU 11 reporter Fred Rhodes (1977 to 1979) tells me John died yesterday.

"He was known for his gentlemanly demeanor and for encouraging young reporters," Rhodes told me. "He was a kind soul and consummate pro."

John was KHOU's news director from 1968 to 75. He hired big names like Jessica Savitch, Linda Ellerbee, Ron Franklin and Dennis Murphy before their network days.

He also brought KPRC 2 anchor Bill Balleza to Houston.

"Dick hired me in June of 1973 to work at KHOU," Balleza told "I had been reporting for KRON-TV in San Francisco and wanted to get back to Texas. He took me to lunch at the old Warwick Hotel where we sealed the deal. I recalled telling him that I planned to be in Houston no longer than two years. He reminded me a few months ago that two years can stretch into forty in the blink of an eye."

Before KHOU, John worked for ABC News from 1958 to 1959.

Recently from his North Richland Hills, Texas home, John was active on the KHOU-TV Alumni Facebook group where he shared old stories about television news.

John's son posted to the group that his dad died peacefully in his sleep yesterday afternoon.

If I hear about funeral arrangements, I will post them here.

If you were a friend of John's, you might want to check out his latest updates on his website.

Below is a video John made at KHOU in 1968.

KHOU-TV, Houston, TX, Dick John Tour, 1968

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