Jack Parris joined KUAT in 1988 as assistant general manager for the Video Services unit and became director and general manager in 1998.
Television and radio staff members won numerous local and regional awards under his leadership. Among many forward-thinking accomplishments, he oversaw the launch of the first digital television station in Southern Arizona, KUAS-DT.
In April 2005, Parris became the inaugural inductee into the Gold Circle Society of the National Television Academy, Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter. To be selected for the Gold Circle, individuals must have served in broadcasting for at least 50 years and have made major contributions to the industry. Parris was inducted into the Academy’s Silver Circle Society in April 2003 for his achievements during more than 25 years of broadcasting. In October 2003, the Arizona Broadcasters Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame.
He was a broadcaster continuously throughout his 51-year career, with 19 of those years spent in public broadcasting. Parris served as station and program manager at Tucson’s KGUN-TV from 1978 to 1983, and as the station’s general manager from 1983 through 1987. He began his broadcasting career in 1954 as a member of the student crew for the University of Nebraska’s public television station, KUON-TV.
Parris joined his first commercial station, KOLN-TV in Lincoln, Neb., in 1956. “Everybody wore a lot of hats in those days. We were inventing TV,” he said. “Everything was black and white. There was no videotape, and I remember when it was introduced. They wheeled in this big monster. In 1961, we got color videotape, and we thought we were big-time.”
He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Tucson, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Pacific Mountain Network Board of Directors and the Saint Luke’s in the Desert Board of Trustees.