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Don Perris

Don Perris

Don Perris was a consummate pro who loved nothing more than to mentor colleagues who demonstrated great promise. Perris served as President and CEO of Scripps Howard Broadcasting for 14 years before retiring in 1988.

Perris began his career at Scripps in 1943 as a copy boy at the Cleveland Press. In 1948 he became a news reporter and furnace tender at the company’s first TV station—WEWS. He later worked as an announcer, cameraman, interviewer, before becoming station manager in 1964.

His list of contributions to the broadcast industry is substantial, but unarguably, the most notable was the development of The Morning Exchange. The Morning Exchange, the first of morning news/entertainment of its kind, aired from 1972-1999 and is widely regarded as the most successful local program in the history of US television. On any given day in the 70’s, over two thirds of all Cleveland televisions were tuned in to the show. In 1975, ABC recognized the shows’ success and decided to adapt Morning Exchange for a national audience, creating Good Morning America.

The Morning Exchange incorporated many elements that would be used in morning programming of the present day. It was the first morning show to use a ‘living room’ set and establish the now familiar concept of news and weather at the top and bottom of the hour. According to Ken Lowe, former Chairman and CEO of Scripps, “The Morning Exchange was a huge risk that Don Perris took at the time. A lot of people thought he was out of his mind when he suggested a morning show of that nature. Of course, we all know (the shows format) went on to become the standard of all today’s network morning shows”.

And for that the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters, and America, thanks you Don Perris-a true broadcast legend.

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