Funeral held for Birmingham broadcast legend Joe Langston

Funeral held for Birmingham broadcast legend Joe Langston

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Langston anchoring a newscast at WBRC in the early 1980s. Source: WBRC video Langston anchoring a newscast at WBRC in the early 1980s. Source: WBRC video
Joe Langston on the anchor's desk at WBRC. Source: WBRC archive Joe Langston on the anchor's desk at WBRC. Source: WBRC archive
Joe Langston. Source: WBRC archive Joe Langston. Source: WBRC archive
Joe Langston, Fannie Flagg and Tom York on the front steps of the WBRC station. Source: WBRC archive Joe Langston, Fannie Flagg and Tom York on the front steps of the WBRC station. Source: WBRC archive
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Family and friends said goodbye to Birmingham broadcast legend Joe Langston on Monday.

Langston died at the age of 82 over the weekend. Langston started working at WBRC in 1963. He also appeared on the Tom York Morning Show.

On Monday, York was emotional talking about his old friend.

"I've known him for a lot of years and most of all, he was a good man, and I will miss him," York said.

Langston was a native of Tuscaloosa County and attended the University of Alabama. He was there during Governor George Wallace's famous "Stand in the School House Door."

Langston's longtime friend Mike Royer spoke at the service at Mountain Brook Baptist Church. Royer said was a consummate broadcaster.

"He was one of them. I asked Joe one time if he ever thought about going to the big time and he said, 'I'm from Brownsville, Alabama. This is the big time,'" Royer recalled.

Former FOX6 News anchor Bill Bolen worked with Langston and continued their friendship into retirement.

"I don't think he worried about anything. He just had a good time but was a smart fellow, too, and I loved him," Bolen said.

During Langston's time as anchor and news director at WBRC, he hired the first African-American to go on the air as a reporter in 1969.

"Joe did something no other person would have done at that time. Color did not matter. He did not look at me as a black person," Al Bell said.

Bell called Langston a friend and a big brother.

Former WBRC Sports Director Herb Winches referred to Langston as his mentor.

"He truly was the Walter Cronkite of not only Birmingham, but the state of Alabama. We lost a pioneer," Winches said.

Former FOX6 News anchor Scott Richards said Langston connected to viewers because he was from Alabama.

"I think that is what made him special. He was genuine, a Real Joe in the best sense of the word, and was a gentleman," Richards said.

Langston was also known for a sense of humor.

Former WBRC news photographer Bill Bowen said ten minutes before news time, Langston tried to teach him how to brew coffee. Instead, Bowen accidentally splattered Langston's jacket with water.

"Without missing a beat, Joe said, 'Go get another pot of water' and I did and he said, 'Pour it slowly over my jacket' and he made it the same color as his water specks were. He went on the air soaking wet that night," Bowen recalled.

Langston is survived by his wife Margaret, two children and three grandchildren.

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