LITTLE ROCK, AR – KARK has seen its on-air personalities come and go over the years but one of the most memorable for many viewers was Roy Mitchell.
Mitchell had been a radio announcer in Little Rock before working at stations in Texarkana, Fort Smith, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Los Angeles. He joined KARK as managing editor from Los Angeles television station KABC, where he was a news anchor.
Mitchell was teamed with weatherman Tom Bonner and sportscaster Dave Woodman when KARK launched its highly-rated “Eyewitness News” on March 15, 1970. The three were still broadcasting together nearly 20 years later, and appeared on KARK’s 6 p.m. newscast the Friday before his death. Mitchell also delivered the 10 p.m. news that day. Carolyn Long would join them on the news desk in 1978.
“Roy was my dear friend, He taught me a whole lot,” said Bonner in 1989. “The public loved Roy, obviously. His appeal was a combination of his ability to deliver the news with authority and knowledge, and his easiness to be around and watch. That was a remarkably good combination.”
“He had a genuineness, credibility and knowledge that came through that tube,” said Bob Steel, KARK news director in 1989.
Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.) said in 1989 that Mitchell was a longtime friend. Bumpers said the men became close when Mitchell covered his trade mission to the Soviet Union during Bumpers’ first term as governor in 1971.
Roy Mitchell still worked at KARK when he died in Feb. 1989 at age 61.
Writing in 2012, KARK news anchor Bob Clausen said, “Roy’s shadow looms large even today. Those of us who have come after him can never replace him, only aspire to meet his standards. Long after I’m gone I’ll be a footnote, Roy will be several chapters. He may not care for some of what TV News does today- but I’m sure he’d be proud of most of it.”