Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The 50th Anniversary of the Crash of the KODABIRD

A couple of weeks ago, JR Gonzales published this article on his Bayou City History blog about the crash of the KODABIRD.  There's only one picture but there are excerpts from the newspaper coverage of the day and more background on the individuals involved.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Record Shops and Radio - 1940s-1960s

Here's an article from Houston History Magazine.  The Jive Hive was before my time but anyone who was around in the 60s through the 90s will remember The Record Rack on Shepherd at Alabama.

The article includes lots of quotes from Paul Berlin, who had a record store of his own, on the relation between record shops and radio.

For those interested in more recent history, here's an article from the Press in 2002 about the end of the Record Rack.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Early KTRH and KTLC Performers

I just stumbled on this source by accident.  Story Sloane writes a feature article for the emag Houston Lifestyles and Homes using photos from his great collection and a year ago published this one about early radio performers.

There was a Guy Savage who worked at KXYZ in the 1950s and later was sports director of Channel 13 in the 60s.  I have wondered before what the connection was to the earlier Guy Savage on KTRH; I don't see a physical resemblance.

The KTLC studios were in the old Houston Post building at Texas and Travis, catty-corner from the Chronicle.

There was a time in radio when not only were the announcers always live but all music had to be performed live also.

FOLLOWUP:  In addition to providing the ID in the comments, Dave Westheimer sent along this picture of Guy Savage (left) and Gus Mancuso (right), broadcast team of the Houston Buffs in the 1950s.  Dave says the square-cut, dimpled chin is the give-away.  Okay, so I never was very good at faces.  This is the same man who was the first morning man on KTRH and I can confirm that's the man I remember doing sports on KTRK-TV in the 60s.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

KUHT History in Pictures

From the University of Houston Digital Library, 346 pictures and videos of the history of Channel 8 over the decades, including people, buildings, equipment, etc.  There are numerous video clips; I saw only 2 pictures of KUHF.  Several entries indicate the archivists have no idea what they're looking at.

Click on the Library Blog link at the bottom of the page for a very brief introduction to the collection.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Jackie McCauley - KLOL PD

I knew Jackie back in the 70s and knew she had been to Rice, but never knew of the historical significance of that as revealed by this post on the Rice History Corner blog.

Besides being PD of KLOL in the 70s (see the KLOL brochure here), then of KSAN-FM, San Francisco, she had an interview program, 'Shootin' the Breeze,' featuring interviews with leading Black music artists, produced and distributed by Westwood. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bill Young - RIP

As posted on Bill Young Productions -

a dominant force on the Houston radio scene for decades as talent, program director, production specialist and voice, passed early Sunday, June 1. 

No obituary posted yet nor arrangements for a service.

I am in shock.

For those who do not know of Bill, I highly recommend his book.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Remembrance of the Early Days of TV in Houston

Long-time Houston columnist (the Post and the Chronicle) Leon Hale published this account of his early experiences with television several years ago. 

It was like this for many of us who saw television in the early days -- you stared at the test pattern a lot.  I first saw a television set in late 1949 or early 1950, when Channel 2 was still KLEE-TV.  At an uncle's house in the Heights we sat and watched; nothing was scheduled for hours but he kept getting up to adjust the set when the test pattern appeared to flicker or move.  My family didn't have a set for at least a year after that.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Features from the Rice History Corner

From the Rice archives...

a feature on KTRU with some pictures and lots of comments.  Take a look at that archives link.  How many stations do you know that have an archive of broadcasts like that?

A feature on James L. 'Jimmie' Autry, Rice student and early radio enthusiast, who was mentioned in the Pre-Broadcast era post on this blog, including pictures of his equipment.  The archivist asks for some help in understanding the equipment.  Perhaps readers of this blog can help.

And, television at Rice in 1934!.  Houston had 3 AM radio stations, no FM stations, and the first TV station was 15 years in the future, but they were watching TV at Rice!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Rewriting History

As I got into researching the history of KFLX, Galveston, I discovered several stories published in the Galveston Daily News in November and December, 1924, purportedly about KFLX that actually were about the brand new station KFUL.  It took the News several weeks to straighten out the call letters.

This new information has necessitated a rewrite of the first part of the KFUL station history, moving the first air date back by several weeks.

Features on Baytown and Galveston Radio

Here are a couple of radio related features from Galveston-born writer Bill Cherry.

The first is about Baytown's DJ of the 1950s, Bill 'Rascal' McKaskill.  This article answers a question posed in a comment here on this blog several years ago about the use of 'Night Train' as a theme, an answer I should have had since I had corresponded with Rascal.

And a story about how George Roy Clough of KLUF invented call-in radio.  There are some problems with the dates in this story - the Moody's station (he's referring to KFUL) was off the air long before 1938 and Clough had also changed calls long before then.  There may be other issues but that's two I noticed.


Monday, April 28, 2014

A Feature on Early Black DJs in Houston

...and the origin of the term rock and roll, from Wired For Sound, an excellent blog (link on the sidebar) with pictures, names and history.

Would I ever love to hear some air checks.

There are scattered pictures and history of Houston radio of years past throughout the blog.  For instance, way down at the bottom of this post is a picture of Dickie Jones and the Skyliners in the KATL studio in 1947.  As the legend notes, the man at the microphone is Johnny Edwards, morning man on KATL.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

KFUL, Galveston, The Community Station - 1924-1933 - Part 3

For Part 1 of this station history, go here.
For Part 2 of this station history, go here.

The Galveston Daily News began carrying more complete schedules of the programming on KFUL instead of just isolated mentions.  In August a special program was dedicated to the round the world flight of the Graf Zeppelin.  A local concert orchestra led by Felix Stella would play 'appropriate' music and an announcer would give details about each of the countries being traversed by the historic flight.

As 1930 rolled around KFUL broadcast coverage of the Mardi Gras Festival and and started covering baseball games plus live coverage of the opening of Tokio Garden for the season.  In April, the station conducted on-air announcer try-outs.  Aspiring announcers gave a five minute talk on the air and listeners voted, by mail, to determine the winner.  Toward the end of the year, KTSA renewed its request for a full-time assignment on 1290 kilocycles and KFUL also requested a new channel, arguing that if KTSA, which by that time had allied with the Columbia Chain (CBS), received its allocation, KFUL should also get a full time assignment.

Information on the last two and a half years of KFUL is scant, unfortunately.  Issues of the Galveston Daily News are missing (from my source) for all of 1931 and 1932 and up until October, 1933, and the earliest issues of Broadcasting Magazine, which began publication in the second half of 1931, had no mentions of the station. But the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported on May 1, 1931, that the Radio Commission had once again denied the application by KTSA for a full time allotment, at the same time authorizing a renewal of KFUL’s license as a share-time station.

On June 4, 1931, the Bryan Eagle reported the station had been taken over by the News Publishing Co, the Galveston Daily News and Tribune parent company.  Louis C. Elbert was Vice President and General Manager of the company.  A similar story appeared in the Valley Morning Star of Harlingen and reference was made to the station formerly being ‘operated by the Buccaneer Hotel.’  The September, 1931, issue of Radex listed the change of ownership among it’s ‘Summer Changes’ column and also reported in it’s last issue of the year that the station slogan was ‘The City of Perpetual Sunshine.’

Despite the lack of better identification of the seller, so far as I know the license for the ‘community station’ had always remained in the name of Thomas Goggan and Brothers up until the sale to the News.

Listings continued in Radex for these years, showing Galveston’s radio stations as KFLX, operating on 1370 kilocycles with 100 watts, and KFUL, operating on 1290 with 500 watts.

The last listing for the station in Radex appeared in the May, 1933, issue.  I have no information about the reason for the sale or the end of operations but perhaps the Great Depression was impacting tourism and straining Galveston’s economy.

After KFUL ceased operations, George Roy Clough moved his KFLX into the Buccaneer Hotel studios and changed his calls to KLUF, pronounced to rhyme with his last name.  Some accounts of broadcasting history on the island refer to KLUF as a continuation of KFUL and it’s possible some of the established programs of KFUL were picked up by KLUF, but Clough continued to operate on 1370 kc with 100 watts where he had a full-time allotment and the government would consider KLUF a continuation of KFLX, but the history of that station is for another post.