CONWAY – A former television news journalist who worked on Fort Smith’s airwaves for a number of years has died. Jerry Overton, who served as an assistant news director and later co-anchor at 40/29 Television, died Thursday morning in a Conway hospital. He was employed as a journalism professor at the University of Central Arkansas at the time of his death.
A native of Mansfield, Overton worked at the station through most of the 1980’s, in both management and on the air. After growing up in the area, he came back to Fort Smith from KARK in Little Rock where he was a reporter and bureau chief working the Hot Springs area.
A number of his former colleagues paid tribute to him as a professional newsman.
“He was such a good guy in every respect.” said longtime 40/29 anchor Craig Cannon on social media Thursday. “A real professional to work with during our time together on the anchor desk for about a decade.”
Steve Sullivan, now sports director at KATV in Little Rock worked sports at 40/29 in the early 1980’s, and said Overton, Cannon, and weatherman Ken Rank were a great team that he enjoyed working with.
“Jerry was a true pro.” Sullivan told InsideFortSmith.Com Thursday night. “When I started in Fort Smith at 40/29. It was Craig Cannon in Ft. Smith, Jerry Overton in Fayetteville, Ken Rank with weather and I did sports. I was fortunate to work with three good broadcasters. My memory is getting worse by the day, but I have only good memories of Jerry.”
Even former competitors recognized Overton as a pro. Kevin Ogle, now evening anchor at top-rated KFOR in Oklahoma City, worked at KFSM Television in the 1980’s and 1990’s using his air name Kevin Bowman. He said he had a great respect for Overton from his studios across town.
“I just remember watching him on the air and thinking he was really solid and a pro.” Ogle recalled to InsideFortSmith.Com Thursday night. “He was a no-nonsense kind of anchor with some news gravitas.”
After leaving Fort Smith, Overton went on to work at several radio stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. He concluded his career as a broadcaster as a news anchor for top rated talk station WBAP.
Jerry Overton is survived by his wife and sons. Funeral services will be held in Mansfield next Tuesday, while a memorial service is scheduled January 20th in Conway.