A. H. Belo Corporation

By: Judith M. Garrett and Michael V. Hazel

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: December 15, 2020

A. H. Belo Corporation, publisher of the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Almanac, is a media corporation encompassing both newspaper publishing and television broadcasting across the country. It is the oldest continuously operated business institution in Texas, having been founded on April 11, 1842, with the first edition of the Daily News in Galveston. Founder Samuel Bangs sold the business within a year to Wilbur F. Cherry and Michael Cronican, and Cherry soon acquired sole ownership. Willard Richardson became editor of the paper a few years later and in 1857 founded the Texas Almanac. Alfred Horatio Belo, a former Confederate colonel from North Carolina, joined the firm as a bookkeeper after the Civil War and became Richardson's partner in 1866. In 1870 the firm was renamed Richardson, Belo, and Company. In 1876 Belo became sole owner, following Richardson's death the previous year, and renamed the firm A. H. Belo and Company. In 1885 Belo sent George Bannerman Dealey, who had joined the Galveston News as an office boy nine years earlier, to Dallas to establish a sister paper. The Dallas Morning News began publication on October 1, 1885. The Dallas and Galveston papers, linked across 315 miles by telegraph and a network of correspondents that divided the state north and south, heralded the start of "chain journalism." Belo died in 1901, and his son, who succeeded him as head of the company, died in 1906. Dealey continued to head the company on behalf of the Belo heirs, and in 1923 the company sold the Galveston paper, in order to focus its resources on the more thriving newspaper in Dallas. In July 1926, with a few others, G. B. Dealey acquired the company and renamed it A. H. Belo Corporation.

Part of the company's focus in Dallas was radio station WFAA, a "Radio Service of the Dallas Morning News," which began broadcasting on June 26, 1922; WFAA was the first network radio station in Texas. The company sold the last of its radio properties in 1987. In 1963 Belo purchased seven suburban newspapers, the Arlington Daily News, the Garland Daily News, the Grand Prairie Daily News, the Irving Daily News, the Mid-Cities Daily News, the Richardson Daily News, and the Suburban News, since renamed Metrocrest News, which together form the wholly owned subsidiary DFW Suburban Newspapers, Incorporated. Belo entered the television broadcasting business in 1950 with the acquisition of its principal station WFAA-TV, Channel 8, the ABC affiliate in Dallas. The station had begun broadcasting five months earlier as KBTS-TV. In 1984 Belo purchased four television stations from Dun and Bradstreet: KHOU in Houston; KXTV in Sacramento, California; KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and WVEC in Hampton-Norfolk, Virginia. In 1994 it purchased WWL in New Orleans, Louisiana. In December 1981 A. H. Belo Corporation became a publicly held entity, with its common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In May 1987 the company reincorporated in the State of Delaware, although its headquarters and operations did not move. In December 1991 Belo acquired the assets of the Dallas Times Herald when that paper ceased publication.

G. B. Dealey remained at the helm of the company until his death in 1946, at which time he was succeeded by his widow, Olivia Allen Dealey, who died in 1960. Subsequent chairmen of the board of directors have been E. M. (Ted) Dealey, the fourth of Dealey's five children (1960–64); James M. Moroney, husband of the Dealeys' daughter Maidie (1964–68); H. Ben Decherd, grandson of the Dealeys (1968–72); Joe M. Dealey, another grandson of the Dealeys (1980–84); James M. Moroney, Jr., grandson of the Dealeys (1984–86); and, beginning in 1987, Robert W. Decherd, great-grandson of G. B. Dealey. The position of board chairman was vacant from 1972 to 1980.

Sam Hanna Acheson, 35,000 Days in Texas: A History of the Dallas "News" and Its Forbears (New York: Macmillan, 1938). A. H. Belo Corporation: Commemorating 150 Years, 1842–1992 (Dallas, 1992). Ernest Sharpe, G. B. Dealey of the Dallas News (New York: Holt, 1955). Texas Almanac, 1994–95. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Journalism
  • Business
  • Organizations
  • Associations
  • Foundations
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Judith M. Garrett and Michael V. Hazel, “A. H. Belo Corporation,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/a-h-belo-corporation.

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November 1, 1994
December 15, 2020

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