Wednesday, January 2, 2008

January Anniversaries

January has been a big month for television developments in Houston. On January 1, 1949, the Age of Television arrived with the launch of KLEE-TV, Channel 2. The station hit the airwaves around 9:30 pm in the evening after a 3 and a half-hour delay due to last minute technical problems. Houston hotelman W. Albert Lee had been granted Houston’s first television permit 11 months earlier, on January 30, 1948.

On January 5, 1948, KTRH applied for a permit to operate KTRH-TV on Channel 13, the first of 5 or 6 applicants for that channel.

On January 6, 1967, KHTV-TV, Channel 39 signed on, owned by Gaylord Broadcasting of Oklahoma City. The station still operates from its original studios on Westpark at Hillcroft and is Houston’s oldest independent and oldest UHF station. The call letters KHCW-TV have also been used and the current call letters are KIAH-TV.

On January 8, 1954, the formation of Houston Consolidated Television was announced, a merger of the competing applicants for a TV permit to operate on Channel 13. Just days later on the 14th, KGUL-TV, Channel 11, Galveston, announced a deal has been signed for new Houston studios in the Prudential Building on Holcombe Blvd. at Fannin (the building is now part of the MD Anderson Center complex and is slated for demolition).

And on January 17, 1948, the Houston Post reported that Texas Television had applied for a permit to operate KTHT-TV on Channel 7, at that time allocated to Houston. Texas Television was the TV branch of Roy Hofheinz’s Texas Star Broadcasting.

Also on the 17th in 1968, KENR signed on at 1070 on the AM dial. The station has also had the call letters KRBE (AM), KKHT and KCCR; it is now KNTH.

On January 21, 1948 The Houston Post reported on p.1 that KPRC Radio and the Post had applied for a permit to operate KPRC-TV on Channel 4, at that time allocated to Houston. .

January 26, 1964, the Houston Chronicle reported on the launch of KMSC-FM at 102.1 megacycles, licensed to Clear Lake City. The owners included some workers at the Manned Spacecraft Center at Clear Lake. The station has also been known as KLYX-FM and has borne the call letters KMJQ-FM since 1977.

On January 31, 1948, W. Albert Lee received notice of the FCC approval of his application for a TV license in the midst of the hoopla surrounding the launch of his first broadcast venture, KLEE-AM, operating on 610 kilocycles from studios in his Milby Hotel at Texas and Travis. Lee, who had been on the Board of Directors of the Houston Fat Stock Show and Rodeo since 1938, had timed the launch of his radio station to coincide with the rodeo parade and first performance that day and took advantage of the entertainment stars in town for the rodeo for the opening festivities. The station became KLBS in 1952 and KILT in 1957.

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