Posted: Sep 23, 2009 4:41 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2012 11:59 AM
Hoyt Harris co-anchors Acadiana's NewsChannel at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
He joined KATC on January 1, 2004. Before coming to KATC, Hoyt spent three years as a journalism instructor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Prior to that, he anchored the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts on KLFY-TV (1987-2000).
Hoyt was an anchor/reporter for WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Ala., and a co-anchor for WLOS-TV in Asheville, N.C. He began his journalism career as a general assignment reporter at WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Ala.
For television he has reported from Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; Aschaffenburg, Germany; and "live" from The White House.
He is a three-time recipient of the Louisiana State Medical Society's Award for Excellence in Medical Journalism. The Louisiana Associated Press Broadcasters Association has singled out his work for numerous awards. He received the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Citizen Award from Woodmen of the World.
Hoyt was twice named among Outstanding Young Men of America.
He holds a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College in Memphis and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, IL.
During more than three decades in television news, he counts among his favorite interviews those with President Ronald Reagan, astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn; the Rev. Billy Graham; poet/novelist James Dickey; Oscar winners Joan Fontaine and John Houseman; political activist Dick Gregory; Gov. George C. Wallace, Vietnam-era General William Westmoreland; Governor of Texas John Connally; CIA director William Casey; Grand Ole Opry comedienne Sarah Cannon ("Minnie Pearl"); Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca and Bob Keeshan ("Captain Kangaroo").
He has also ridden an elephant; performed as a clown in the center ring of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus; worked as a chimney sweep, an apple cider maker, a wallpaper hanger, a beekeeper.
Hoyt also had a speaking role (Secret Service agent "Riff") in the 1980 Peter Sellers/Shirley MacLaine film, BEING THERE.
Hoyt says every now and then, everyone should take a break, even from a career one loves.
"In 2000, after 24 years in TV news, I took a break--bar none the best thing, career-wise, I will probably ever do," he says. "Returning to the news business, specifically to KATC, three-and-a-half years later, was the second-best. During the hiatus, I had the privilege of teaching journalism and mass communications at UL/Lafayette and in Paris."
In Paris, while introducing his students-and students from Germany, France, Scotland and Australia-to the history of film, he also taught journalism and, just for kicks, produced a nightclub act for a Left Bank cabaret.
"It's true," Hoyt says. "Sometimes you don't have to 'think' to be smart. Just listen to your gut. When the time comes to take a break, just go. What you can/will discover about yourself--about Life--can only enrich you."
Native Tennesseans both, Hoyt and and his wife Bette, director of Junior Division at UL/Lafayette, live in Lafayette with their 8-year-old Scottish terrier, MacKenzie.
Their son, Hunter, a graduate of Lafayette High School and the University of Texas at Austin, lives in New York City where he works in the motion picture and television industries.
One day Hoyt hopes to retire to Fiesole, Italy, overlooking his favorite city, Florence, grow grapes, olives, basil and tomatoes; finish his novel about the "untold story" about television news, eat his wife's wonderful cooking, and finally--- "finally" ---get fat.