Thursday, July 5, 2007


This is an update to remarks included in previous posts concerning the history of KTRH, Houston.

The fact is known that KUT, Austin, became KTRH, Houston in 1929/30 but the information available from government sources has left it open to question whether KUT was a continuation of WCM or a new station, i.e., whether KTRH can trace it’s history to WCM licensed March 22, 1922, and therefore qualify as the 35th oldest radio station in the country, or only from KUT, which was first licensed under those calls as a new station, operating on a different frequency and with different power authorization than WCM, in October, 1925.

I have corresponded both with Barry Mishkind and Thomas White on this question. While both see the possibility of interpreting the records either way White points out that in the Active Stations file at the FCC, the WCM, KUT and KTRH licenses are all kept in the same folder; in other words, the government considers them the same station even if some of their records indicate otherwise.

Over the years, WCM had funding problems which led to some lapses in the license (it was an era of 3 month licenses and lapses were commonplace, especially among university owned stations that might not have any staff at all in the summer). S. E. Frost’s Education’s Own Stations indicates a lack of funding was the reason the license lapsed in 1924 and the Markets and Warehouses Department made arrangements to refurbish and use the equipment to continue broadcasting market reports while the university was allowed to use the facilities, also. A lack of funding also led to the cessation of operations and lapse of the license in 1925 for several months before KUT was authorized.

Still, the government considers the 3 stations to be continuous.


Unknown said...

KTRH started as WCM..the FCC history cards show that..WCM was licensed to Univ of Texas but it was moved to Houston and KUT was licensed after that happened.

Unknown said...

KUT was licensed to the Univ of Texas after WCM had moved to Houston (and went through a couple of frequency changes) then its callsign was KTRG before it became KTRH..the FCC card files on the AM Query page for KTRH show the history.

KTRH and KUT were never associated with each other.

Bruce said...

The KUT calls were first authorized in 1927. That is the station that was sold to Jesse Jones and moved to Houston as KTRH. The KUT calls were subsequently adopted by the station established in Austin to satisfy the government requirement to not leave Austin without a broadcast station. This has all be covered elsewhere on the blog.

I see the KTRG calls only twice in the KTRH history cards, in 1943, 13 years after the KTRH calls had gone into use. While it is tempting to think it was nothing but a typo, a closer reading reveals the calls were allowed for two very short duration time periods on a relay transmitter to send the programming to the new transmitter site at Cedar Bayou. Sam Lester said up until 1959, KTRH still received it's programming from the Rice Hotel on telephone lines, with the signal of KTRH-FM commandered for duty if the telephone connection failed.

I see no reason to conclude the KTRG calls were ever used on the main signal but I wasn't there at the time and nothing was ever mentioned in the papers that I saw.