Bobbie Wygant’s career spans the entire era of television in Texas. For more than a half century, she has brought the glamour of Hollywood to the plains of North Texas. She has given viewers insight into the lives of local and national newsmakers through “thousands” of interviews. And Bobbie has been an inspiration and guiding force behind many television careers.
Fresh out of Purdue University in Indiana, Bobbie came to work at the first television station in Texas, WBAP-TV (now NBC 5/KXAS-TV), which signed on in 1948. Bobbie wrote live entertainment programs, pitched products and hosted quiz shows.
In 1960, Bobbie became the first woman to host and produce a general interest television interview program in the southwestern United States. “Dateline” was not simply about food and fashion. Historic astronauts, First Ladies and newsmakers told their stories to Bobbie. She interviewed a local newspaper reporter named Bob Schieffer following his trip to cover the Vietnam War. After appearing on Bobbie’s show, Schieffer was offered a reporter position at WBAP-TV. Bobbie was on the air live on November 22, 1963 when news broke that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.
In the 1970s, “Dateline” ended and Bobbie moved to the news department. She began sharing anchor duties on a 5:00 p.m. newscast called “Inside Area 5” with Chip Moody.
Bobbie moved to full-time arts and entertainment reporting by the 1980s. She is so widely respected by the film making community that she could count among her best friends the late Bob Hope.
In addition to her revealing Hollywood interviews Bobbie brought the local arts to the NBC 5 audience with her probing coverage of the Kimbell Art Museum, The Modern Museum, Casa Manana and the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center and Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas.
Bobbie retired from NBC 5 in 1999. But she still files freelance reports for the station’s 4:00 newscast.
Bobbie has interviewed many heartthrobs and action stars in her career, but her leading man was Phil Wygant, a long time program director at WBAP-TV. Her husband of 38 years died in 1986.
Away from the screen, Bobbie has also worked hard for North Texans. She has raised money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Women’s Shelter of Tarrant County and the Alzheimer’s Association. She was also one of the original local hosts of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon on NBC 5.
Perhaps Bobbie’s greatest contribution is within the newsroom itself. NBC 5 journalists turn to her advice on everything from how to handle difficult contract negotiations to what you say to the co-worker who just stole your story from under your nose. She’s got an answer. And she usually delivers it with a smile.
Television is a medium that’s seen an evolution of change from its start. But in Dallas/Fort Worth, television viewers have a steady, pleasant and polished trailblazer in Bobbie Wygant.