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Tri-Counties broadcast journalism icon dies

King Harris anchoring the news on KEYT-TV in the mid-1980's.

King Harris was on TV and radio airwaves in the region for quarter of a century. He helped launched the careers of dozens of broadcast journalists.

He was one of the most recognizable faces from local television on the Central and South Coast in the 1980’s and 90’s. And, he helped launch the careers of dozens of broadcast journalists working around the country.

Tri-Counties TV news icon King Harris has died.

Harris joined Santa Barbara television station KEYT in 1980, becoming its main anchor as well as News Director. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, he assembled a news team which would go on to work at some of the biggest stations in the country.

It included Paul Vercammen, who is now at CNN, Jennifer Bjorklund, who works for NBC, KCRA Sacramento anchor Edie Lambert, and award-winning Seattle reporter Matt Markovich. He also launched the careers of a number of videographers, assignment editors, and producers.

He was at KEYT until the late 1990’s. He then moved to the Central Coast, where he worked at KCOY in Santa Maria, and taught journalism at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

But, he returned to his original roots in radio at the end of his career, serving two stints as News/Talk KVEC in San Luis Obispo, where he was News Director, and anchored the morning news. He finally retired in 2015.

Harris collapsed Tuesday night at his home in Arroyo Grande, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. He was 75 years old.