Author Arch Deal was born October 5, 1931 in Hickory, N.C., a hosiery and furniture manufacturing center. His father was an entrepreneur, working in the hosiery mills and later starting his own body shop.
His mother was a homemaker and also worked in the hosiery mills. When she returned from work each evening she cooked dinner, often his favorite dish of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with lots of gravy and black eyed peas.
He has one sibling, an older brother, Charles Harold Deal. Charles eventually got into the newspaper business while Arch went in the direction of broadcast.
As a child, he tore apart radios and put them back together, not always succeeding. His proudest accomplishment of the time was making a radio out of two razor blades and some pencil lead…and it worked to his amazement.
Arch got into broadcasting as a teenager while helping a local man with the sound system at Legion Field in Hickory. Eventually, he started filling in by broadcasting play by play for the Hickory Rebels baseball team. The man he substituted for was George Murphy who worked with him to correct a speech impediment that prevented him from rolling his “R’s”…instead of saying “three” he would say “twee.”
During his college days, he worked his way up five radio stations and finally landed a job at WSJS in Winston-Salem. He did everything from news and weather to setting up props and announcing. In the early days of television, you had to be able to do just about everything. After a few more gigs in North Carolina, he found his way to Florida.
The station manager from WTVT saw him on TV while vacationing in the North Carolina mountains and called him at the Charlotte station he broadcasting from. It didn’t take him long to make the decision to move. From WTVT he went to WSUN-TV, the Tampa Bay area’s very first television station. Eventually he would end up as a street reporter at WFLA-TV, quickly working his way up to anchoring the six and eleven o’clock news and legendary status.
There were some serious bumps and bruises along the way as well as celebrations and joyous occasions, all of which are outlined in detail in his book.
Arch has five children: Karen, Diane, Doug, Shari and Michelle.