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Dale Hansen Unplugged: 'I will always love you'

"I've always been afraid of this day because I've always known this day was coming."

DALLAS — I've always been afraid of this day because I've always known this day was coming. My dad said that to me when my mom died, and now I understand just a little bit of what he felt that day.

A part of me does die tonight — maybe the best part, certainly the favorite part — because this is my life. It was the life I could only dream about as a little boy in that small farm town in Iowa.

It is the life I chose when my first wife said I had to choose between this life and her. I chose this life.

My kids never did forgive me for that, but I could have never been the father they wanted anyway if I didn't have the life I wanted.

I have loved everything about my life: the places I've been, the teams I've covered, the people I've met and the people I've worked with for the past 38 years here. Forty-one years in Dallas, and 50 years since I spun that first record as a disc jockey in Iowa.

But six stations later (fired from five of 'em) and a 13-week contract when I started here. There were days I didn't think I'd make the 13 weeks, but here we are.

I'd like to name each and every one of the great and talented people I've worked with, but I'm 73 now, and I want to be done before I'm 74, and I wouldn't be.

It was the SMU investigation in '86 that led to the end of their football team's glory years that changed my life. It changed the way I covered sports and it played a very big part in making me the person I am. I've said several times I hated the fact that the SMU story had to be told, but I'm incredibly proud of the fact we were the ones who told it.

I knew then my life had to be about more than ball scores and highlights, and I will be forever grateful this station gave me the platform and the opportunity to talk about gay rights in America, the gun violence in our cities, the racism that my granddaughter has lived with every day of her life...this station has allowed me to talk about the issues that really matter.

I have been told I make the conservative viewer uncomfortable. That was never my intent, but I do hope I did.

I think a good commentary should make everybody uncomfortable, and I think the news should, too. We do not provide the public service we should by reporting only the good news. We shouldn't sanitize what can be dirty and harsh, and yes, uncomfortable.

Television has to be more than sitcoms and cop shows. We need to take people out of their bubbles and their safe place and make 'em think about the world we live in.

It is the only thing I've ever really wanted to do, was to simply make you think about the things I think we should all think about.

But I've survived 41 years on Dallas TV because the great Danny Livingston taught me how. If you don't have a Danny Livingston in your life, I strongly encourage you to find one. He makes dreams come true.

It was Danny who taught me in Omaha to cover the kids, to tell their stories. They'll watch, mom and dad will watch and the grandparents will, too.

And now, 41 years later, some of those kids I've talked about on Thank God for Kids, they're the grandparents now. And some of those kids we've talked about on Thank God for Kids, they will be kids forever and sleep with angels tonight.

Dolly Parton said it perfectly in a song she wrote:

"If I should stay, I would only be in your way

"So I'll go, but I know, I'll think of you every step of the way

"And I will always love you"

I will always love you for letting that little boy in that small farm town in Iowa live out his dream and grow old in Texas.

I wish you all the very best, and I do hope you can all find a little of the happiness in your life that you have all made possible in mine.

There will be no more TV tomorrows for me, so for everyone who's been a part of this one, and all of these 41 years, I'm Dale Hansen. 

I really do thank you for watching.

Goodnight, and goodbye.

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