Archibald Chapman Harrison, Jr
May 22, 1926 - November 29, 2013
Arch was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1926. He attended Christchurch School and later graduated from the George Washington University. During World War II, Arch served as a radarman aboard the USS Idaho in the Pacific Theater, and vividly recalled being part of the immense presence of the United States Navy in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was signed.
Arch was an award-winning broadcaster and a born teacher. After beginning his career in radio and television, Arch moved to Orange, Virginia, in 1961, as the new owner and General Manager of WJMA Radio. He stayed at the station for 23 happy and productive years, mentoring countless members of the WJMA family.
Arch's broadcasting career began after graduation from the George Washington University. He started at WANN radio in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1950 where he was an announcer. Here's a short sample of Arch on the air in 1950. In 1952 he moved to WTVR-TV in Richmond, Virginia, as a floor director. This audio file is narration for a promotional film "Two Weeks With Play" that he did while at WTVR. In 1955 he moved to WFVA radio in Fredericksburg, Virginia, as an announcer. And finally he moved to WJMA radio in Orange, Virginia, as owner in 1961. He stayed until he sold WJMA in 1984.
WJMA had tried to cover news almost from its beginning in 1949. After Arch hired a full-time News Director in 1974, the news department grew to four with news "stringers" in Madison, Greene, and Louisa Counties. Between 1974 and 1985 the WJMA news department won 18 Virginia Associated Press news awards including Best Small Market News Operation and four Douglas Southall Freeman Awards for Public Service Through Broadcast Journalism. Arch was immensely proud of the station's news operation. This page has more on WJMA's news operation including links to some audio clips.
Arch was the 1984 recipient of the C. T. Lucy Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. The award is named after the founder of the VAB, C.T. Lucy. It honors a Virginia broadcaster who has spent a significant part of a career in Virginia and who has been a leader in the state's broadcast industry.
He was President of the Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters in 1971-72. He was also a supporter of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau. He was a member of the Board of Germanna Community College.
In an October 14, 1979, article in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Arch talked about broadcasting and his career. Here's one quote from the article: "Being the only station in town, we can produce shows that analysts call audience killers...but not having to worry about our audience or our ratings allows us to run shows we want to. Our goal is to inform the public and to help with its problems. It forces us to constantly think about our community responsibility."
Additions and corrections to this page should be sent to the WJMA Alumni webmaster, Ross Hunter.