By Mike Steely
You may know Don Dare as the “6 On Your Side” television reporter or as a WATE Anchor, but there’s much more to Dare than you may know. The Knoxville Focus sat down with him for a chat recently in order for our readers to get to know the man a bit better. What you may not know is that Dare was a tap dancer as a child and, appropriately, was raised in a small Pennsylvania town called “Media.”
Dare is a very involved individual, a local TV star, and an experienced reporter. Asked what he does in his free time he said, “I run, I run in 5K races.”
He said both of his parents were avid newspaper readers. In 1956 he said his mother was chosen out of the audience on a TV show hosted by Ed McMahan and he said, “I decided at 10 years old that’s what I wanted to do.”
“I like to tell positive stories,” Dare said, explaining he likes to warn people of scams, expose people when it can prove crimes, investigate stories, and “be fair.”
Dare’s been with WATE since 1996 after he traveled to a Boy Scout camp in Johnson City. He was, at that time, back in Miami for eleven years and was getting frustrated with changes in that community and was reporting on murders “two and three times a week.” So, he sent tapes out of his experience.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts for speech and theater from North Carolina Wesleyan College in 1968, Dare volunteered in the Army and was trained as a combat engineer before attending Infantry Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned as an officer to the Signal Corps. At Fort Gordon, Ga., he became involved in television production. Two years later he was sent to Viet Nam to the Armed Forces Vietnam Network, AFVN, “Good Morning, Vietnam.” He was first assigned as production manager of visiting USO shows including Bob Hope’s visit on Christmas day. Later he was named news producer for AFVN’s TV news shows, overnight radio anchor, as well as Officer in Charge of the station.
After returning from Vietnam, he obtained a Master of Arts from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, he was a graduate assistant teaching writing courses and working with the University’s PR Department producing and reporting TV stories for “The Georgia Report.”