Wayne Robert Jackson began his television career in Wilmington in 1954 at WMFD as host of a 90-minute afternoon talk show called “Relax with Jax”. WMFD changed its call letters in 1958 to WECT. Jackson went on to work with the company for 35 years. During that time he did it all–news, weather, sports, editorials, talk shows, programming, public relations and management.
Jackson has interviewed many sports greats including the legendary Jackie Robinson, Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, NFL Legions Sonny Jurgenson and Roman Gabriel, Major League Manager and Scout Clyde King, Football Great Red Grange, Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Robin Roberts, and World Champion Boxer Joe Lewis.
It was through sports broadcasting where Jackson made such a tremendous impact not only in Wilmington but the Greater Wilmington area. He was truly a pioneer in sports broadcasting.
In the days when very few stations even carried sporting events, Jackson pushed forward with televising sports not only in Wilmington but also in surrounding counties.
“During those years there was a great emphasis on local happenings and originations. For instance, in the 1960s we televised Wilmington College Basketball. We also televised Wilmington and surrounding communities’ High School Football and Basketball games, Little League Baseball and even a Soap Box Derby,” said Jackson. “The high school games were videotaped on Fridays and played back on Saturdays.”
Jackson said that in 1978, they broadcasted live the first UNCW Basketball Game in Trask Coliseum. Later, Jackson would become an integral part of the Seahawks Broadcast team as their color commentator.
Jackson was also involved in televising the Military Boxing Championships which included the 1966 All Marine Bouts and in 1968 the All Service Title Bouts featuring the champions from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
Jackson said the tapes were aired on WECT and then presented to Armed Forces Television for broadcast all over the world.
Jackson currently works with an adult leadership program at UNCW, the Board of Directors at the Community Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington and the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame. Jackson also serves as Master of Ceremonies for various local events.