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IN MEMORIAUM
KENNETH RAYMOND MURPHY
3 April 1939 - 16 January 2007

Ken Murphy was the news anchor for the 6 PM and 11 PM newscasts on WECT-TV Channel 6, Wilmington, North Carolina's NBC affiliate, for most of his 40-year employment with the station (1965-2004). During the 1970s and 1980s he was also given the honor of doing WECT's sign-off announcement every night. Here is a video clip of a WECT sign-off recorded at the webmaster's home near Winston-Salem NC sometime in the fall of 1988. Mr. Murphy does the sign-off announcement, which is followed by a video montage of Wilmingtonians at work and play set to the music of James Brown's "Living In America". Brown, the "Godfather of Soul", himself passed away on Christmas Day 2006, less than a month before Ken Murphy's death.

Murphy's obituary in the Wilmington Star-News said this of him:

His co-workers knew him as "Murph" and, along with his viewers, enjoyed his dry sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge of local history. For many years he moderated the annual History Bowl, featuring teams of young people. He also took great joy in serving in the ceremonial role of Ringmaster when the circus came to town. More than anything, though, Kenneth R. Murphy was a news man. He knew what was going on locally and around the world and he told us about it every night with precision and authority and in a warm and rumbling voice.

Featured in the video clip below is a sample of a series of historical segments WECT produced entitled "Carolina Samplers", hosted by Ken Murphy. These were no doubt aired at various times during WECT's broadcast day, but this particular clip was aired right before WECT's sign-off late one night in the summer of 1989. As you can hear, by this time WECT had another announcer doing the sign-off, which feature a National Anthem tape performed by Sandi Patti.

I've never met Ken Murphy personally, for I do not live in the Wilmington area. But, for the past 35 years, my family goes to Topsail Island, North Carolina (35 miles northeast of Wilmington up U.S Highway 17 North) at least twice a year for our trips to the beach. It was always WECT's 6:00 newscast we watched, which explains how I knew about Ken Murphy. My condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Murphy's family and friends as well to all of the staff of WECT-TV Channel 6 in this sad hour of their lives.

J. ALAN WALL
Kernersville, North Carolina

 

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Graphics and design copyright 2007 by J. Alan Wall. All rights reserved.

Comments or questions? Email me at jalanwall(AT)tv-signoffs(DOT)com