Arizona Horizon celebrates 40th anniversary

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We continue our celebration of Horizon’s 40th anniversary with a look back at memories and milestones from the show’s first four decades.

By the late 80s, Horizon had really hit its stride, with extensive coverage of Gov. Evan Mecham’s impeachment.

“What I wanted was a program that would deal in-depth with community issues, that would be respected by the community, and would be important,” Bob Ellis, first KAET general manager said.

One idea for the local newscast was to include long-form interviews that have more information than quick soundbites.

“You can’t really tell a lot about what’s going on in the legislature with a 30-second soundbite, you can in a half-hour program in a week’s period,” Ellis said.

For three days, soon-to-be Horizon anchor Michael Grant would co-anchor the confirmation hearing of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court. This confirmation hearing got Horizon a nice lead-in, according to current host Ted Simons.

Horizon made its formal debut in October of 1981. The community had plenty of chances to watch with live shows every week night with the journalists’ roundtable on Fridays.

“I think others were worried do we have enough material to fill it up, and Arizona came through like a trooper, we had gubernatorial impeachments indictments, and legislative scandals and all kinds of stuff,” Grant said.

Grant navigated many political scandals during his time as Horizon anchor.

“I had a lot of days where I walked off and looked back like you know, I think we got that one right,” Grant said.

After 25 years, grant stepped down as Horizon host. Experienced host Ted Simons got the job in late 2007.

“I didn’t feel too much pressure because it just felt right,” Simons said.





Michael grant, original horizon host. Bob Ellis, first KAET general manager

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