Dewayne Walls – 35th Annual Black Excellence Awards Honoree


Dewayne Walls

Dewayne Walls is an award-winning 33 year employee of WISN-TV Channel 12. Dewayne began his career at Channel 12 as a floor director, responsible for managing the communications from the control room to the crew on the floor, and generally keeping the flow of the set dynamic for the viewers at home. In the course of his long and varied tenure at the station, he has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists for producing WISN 12’s top news series, “Children in the Line of Fire.” He has also been honored by the Milwaukee Press Club, and by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with two regional Emmy® Awards for producing WISN 12’s teen talk series “Teen Forum.”

Though both his parents, Lois and Roosevelt Walls, hailed from Memphis, Tennessee; Dewayne was born and raised in Milwaukee. From a young age Dewayne was interested in journalism. He once finished 2nd place in the Milwaukee Journal’s Young Writers Contest. He graduated from Rufus King International High School in 1976 and then attended the US Air Force Academy, making him the first black student from Milwaukee at that service academy. After his military service he earned a commercial pilot’s license for Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1982. Dewayne had originally planned on a career as an air traffic controller. However, during the 1981 Air Traffic Controllers Strike, all then-employed air traffic controllers were fired and replaced under orders from then-President Ronald Reagan. Dewayne thought it was better to look for a career elsewhere. As part of his college course work, Dewayne had to write, produce, and direct a TV commercial for a marketing class. This experience ignited his interest in television production. In 1986, he graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College with a degree in television and video production and shortly thereafter was hired by WISN 12. When asked why he has stayed in TV, despite the rise in popularity of social media, Dewayne said, “I see it as a medium that can still really impact the lives of the viewers. It still has a lot of untapped potential.”

Besides his distinguished career at Channel 12, Dewayne takes every opportunity available to him to try and make his hometown a better place to live and work. He is a former Boys and Girls Club Alumnus of the Year and credits the Franklin Place Boys and Girls Club with much of his success. “You have to try and find your passion and be true to it. You have to try and stay focused despite the inevitable life distractions that will arise.” Dewayne is the brother of Sheila and Terrence, and the proud father of Pamela, Juwan, Najee and Maya.