Iola Johnson

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Iola Vivian Johnson (born October 10, 1950)[1] was the first African-American news anchor for a Dallas television station.[2]


Johnson was born in Texarkana, Arkansas. One of her first professional positions was with NBC affiliate KVOA in Tucson, Arizona, where she wrote for the 10 o'clock news.[3]

In 1973, she was hired at WFAA in Dallas[3] and debuted as a weekend news anchor in May of that year.[4] In 1975, she was teamed with a fellow reporter named Tracy Rowlett and together they began a ten-year run as co-anchors of the 6 and 10 pm newscasts.[2] Within the first year, the new anchor team catapulted to number one in the ratings, it was the most successful news teams in Dallas-Fort Worth television history.[3] Johnson remained at WFAA-TV for more than 12 years.

Johnson is the former host of Positively Texas[citation needed] (a weekly public affairs television show that aired on TXA 21 KTXA, CBS 11's sister station and former UPN affiliate).

In 1985, Johnson left her anchor position with WFAA-TV to start her own business.[3] (Her last night on WFAA-TV being March 2, 1985.[2]) Iola's second anchor stint was with KTVI in St. Louis, her co-anchor was Kevin Cokely, who currently works at KXAS, the NBC owned and operated station in Dallas. After working for a short time in St. Louis, she returned to Dallas to work as the managing editor and news reporter for a morning show on KKDA AM radio.[3]

In September 2000, Johnson chose to return to television news to help launch a new hour-long newscast at 4 pm on KTVT CBS 11 in Dallas-Fort Worth with longtime friend and former WFAA colleague Tracy Rowlett[citation needed]. After two years, Tracy and Iola left the 4pm newscast when it was cancelled. In 2012, television came calling again and she was hired as a television contributor for The Texas Daily news program on KTXD, an independent station in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. There, she was teamed with former WFAA anchors Jeff Brady, Tracy Rowlett, John Criswell, Phyllis Watson, Midge Hill, Debbie Denmon, and Troy Dungan.


  1. ^ "Iola Vivian Johnson" in Who's Who Among African Americans, 23rd edition Gale, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Bark, Ed (August 28, 2008). "Iola Johnson: leaving for parts unknown". Uncle Barky's Bytes. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Iola Johnson Biography". The History Makers. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  4. ^ "Dallas-Fort Worth TV newswoman Iola Johnson to be honored as trailblazer". Dallas News. Retrieved November 1, 2009.