2018 Governors' Award
In 2018 the Governors’ Award went to Kent Dana.
At five years-old, Kent Dana won the “Mr. Little Arizona” pageant at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. The year was 1947. It was the first of many appearances for Kent in front of an audience of Arizonans over the next 60 years.
After studying at Brigham Young University and Arizona State University, Kent worked at KOOL Radio and TV in 1972. He wrote and delivered news spots on Saturdays and Sundays while managing a gas station. He eventually landed a full-time position as an anchor for KOOL-TV and then moved to Channel 12 in 1979 where he would be the mainstay evening anchor the next 26 years. During that time, Kent covered national political conventions, the Evan Mecham impeachment, wildfires, the Oklahoma City bombing and the O.J. Simpson trial. He was honored with four Emmy awards and considers his greatest accomplishment his work with Wednesday’s Child. Kent began the weekly series in 1983, profiling children available for adoption and raising awareness about Arizona’s foster system.
In 2005, Kent moved to KPHO Channel 5 as the station’s evening anchor for five years. Throughout his career over three decades, Kent’s easy-going personality and good humor could disarm any interviewee and make coworkers feel they had a confidant and friend by their side.
Kent is the second of three generations of broadcasters in Arizona. During the 1930’s to 1950’s, Kent’s father Joe Dana was a radio announcer for KOY radio and host of a western variety show on Channel 5. Kent’s son, Joe Dana, is an investigative reporter for 12 News. Kent and his wife, Janet are enjoying retirement years in Phoenix with Kent’s six children and thirteen grandchildren.