Edmund Asa “Eddie” Barker Jr. played a leading role in the birth of television news in Dallas, from its inception in 1949 and its coming of age on Nov. 22, 1963.
Eddie Barker began his broadcasting career in 1994, at a San Antonio radio station while still a junior in high school. He later joined the KRLD news staff when the television station went on the air in 1949, eventually becoming the news director. Mr. Barker was the longtime news director of Dallas CBS affiliates KRLD Radio and KRLD-TV (now Fox affiliate KDFW-TV) when Kennedy made his fateful visit to Dallas in 1963.
Eddie was stationed at the Dallas Trade Mart, where Kennedy was to have given a speech, when word arrived that an attempt had been made on the president’s life. The motorcade raced past the Trade Mart to Parkland Memorial Hospital.
He was the first to report the death of President John F. Kennedy, making the announcement on a CBS feed from Dallas five minutes before network reporters confirmed the tragic news.
One of Mr. Barker’s accomplishments included getting the first interview with Marina Oswald, the wife of the presidential assassin, according to former Dallas Mayor Wes Wise, Mr. Barker’s friend and former KRLD-TV colleague.
Mr. Barker became a Dallas broadcast icon in the 1960s and was the anchor for Channel 4’s 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Mr. Barker left Channel 4 in 1972 and became executive vice president of the VanCronkhite & Maloy Public Relations firm in Dallas. In 1973, he bought the company, which became Eddie Barker Associates Inc. After retiring in 1994, he continued to host a daily talk show on a radio station in the small town of Paris, 90 miles northeast of Dallas, until declining health forced him off the air in 2010.
Mr. Barker was a board member and president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association and President of the Press Club of Dallas, which named him a Living Legend.