Today’s THV’s BJ Sams to Retire After 50 Years in TV

After July, its a party 24/7

After July, it's a party 24/7

Well, it’s official. After more than 50 years in the media business — more than 20 of them on KTHV-TV, Channel 11 in Little Rock — BJ Sams will retire in July.

BJ made the announcement on “Today’s THV This Morning,” where he’s been holding it down for the past decade, helping make it the No. 1 morning show in Little Rock in the process.

Click here to watch video of the announcement. Arkansas Business media writer Mark Hengel has more here.

Getting to appear on the morning show with BJ has been a kick. Already a media junkie as a dorky kid in the ’80s, I remember watching Sams anchor KTHV’s evening newscast. As a dorky grown-up in the ’00s, being able to sit along side BJ on the morning show couch — if only for a few minutes a few times a week — has been a true honor, something I never thought I’d get to do.

He’s even taught me a few things along the way. Like, you should really use your printed script as well as the TelePrompTer. Keep up on paper, he told me, otherwise, “You’ll have egg on your face.”

BJ, I wish you all the luck in the world. Thanks for all the good times, on-air and off.

After the jump, a vintage KTHV promo featuring Sams and Anne Jansen, along with some career highlights. Also: Leave BJ your well wishes on his Facebook fan page, on Twitter via @THVThisMorning or in comments below.

In 2007, Sams was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. KTHV’s studio was renamed the “B.J. Sams Studio” in 2003. And in 2000, he was named the Arkansas Associated Press Broadcaster of the Year.

He’s worked at KTHV since 1982. Before that, he worked for KHON-TV in Honolulu from 1973 to 1982.

Before that, he worked at KATV-TV, Channel 7 from 1966-1973. It was there that, in the late Sixties, B.J. became the first person at that station to be seen in color. He wore lipstick that first day but vowed never to wear it again.

His career began in 1953 as a disc jockey/janitor at WBEJ radio in Elizabethton, Tenn., making 75 cents an hour. There, he was known as “BJ the DJ.” He was a broadcast specialist in the Army from 1957-1958.

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4 Responses

  1. […] Channel 11, will begin its search in about a week for someone to fill retiring morning show host B.J. Sams‘ slot. Meanwhile, KARK-TV, Channel 4, is getting along without a general manager just fine, […]

  2. […] Little Rock Media Fellowship honored retiring “Today’s THV This Morning” anchor BJ Sams at its regular luncheon today at Ump’s Bar & Grill at Dickey-Stephens Park in North […]

  3. Enjoy your retirement BJ it is well deserved. I had the pleasure of working with you years ago at KTHV, my name is Seabe Gavin. God bless you.

  4. BJ just want to say thank you so much for the 8 years me and my family have had the opportunity to watch you telecast.

    Most of all we thank you and the crew fro choosing our house to air the morning show a couple of years ago. I’ll never forget watching you come through our front, you looked around and said, “What a lovely place you have”, then you sat on the couch with a smile on your face as to say, I’m glad we came here.

    Many blessings to you and your family as you begin to see more of the world.

    My family and I once again thank you for a wonderful morning and just to let you know, the front of our house is still as beautiful as the first day the tree an flowers were planted.

    Happy Retirement!!!

    Marika Ingram(Chase) and Family
    Cumberland St.
    (Homemakeover 2006)

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