Friday, February 28, 2014

KIOX, Bay City - Part 1

On March 8, 1946, the FCC granted a Construction Permit for a new standard broadcast station in Bay City, Texas, to operate on 1110 kilocycles with 1000 watts, daytime only.  The original application apparently had been filed in February, 1945.  Principals of Bay City Broadcasting included John George Long, T. C Dodd, a cattleman, and J.A. Clements, apparently of Angleton, who had formerly been with KPAC, Port Arthur, and at the time was with the Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation in Houston.  The estimated cost of construction for the new station was $30, 597.

Long, also known as John G. Long and Johnny Long, was the most important party.  Apparently a native and resident of Bay City, he would, through his Long Broadcasting Enterprises, own or operate KVIC, Victoria, KSAM, Huntsville, KNET, Palestine and KTLW, Texas City, in addition to KIOX.  Bay City Broadcasting also applied for a 50 kw station in McAllen to operate on 1560 kc.  Long was also an owner and operator of as many as 70 theaters across Texas, including the Showboat theater in Texas City, where KTLW would be located.

Information about the early years of KIOX is difficult to find for a number of reasons:  the station has been deleted and it’s FCC records are not accessible online, copies of the Bay City Tribune for that era apparentlly are non-existent, and online scans of the fine print notations in Broadcasting Magazine are often illegible.  As a result, I do not know when the call letters were applied for and approved, what they stood for, if anything, and when the station actually got on the air, but by July 29, 1946, the station was listed along with 6 others joining the Mutual Broadcasting System as of August 1 so presumably it was on the air by that time.  In the meantime, on May 20, 1946, the FCC had accepted for filing an application for modifications to the original CP to change the frequency from 1110 to 1270 kc, change the power from 1000w, daytime, to 1000w, unlimited, and install a new transmitter and antenna.  These modifications were not approved by the FCC until January 27, 1947, along with extensions for the dates of commencement and completion of the changes.

Long’s purchase of KSAM, Huntsville was approved in October, 1946, and his purchase of KVIC, Victoria, from Morris Roberts, was approved in December, 1946.  In February, 1947, Clements' interest in Bay City Broadcasting was transferred to Harry Reading, Jr., for $8000. Reading had been an IRS Collector and was then employed as accountant by Long.  Clements was partner in other broadcast enterprises, either applied for or operating, in Del Rio, San Angelo, and Houston. 

Long’s application for KTLW was approved in June, 1947, and then in early October, the move of  KIOX to 1270 kc was authorized.  In it’s November 17, 1947, issue, Broadcasting ran a story about the formal opening of the new station on November 10. Cost of the facility was estimated at $200,000.  There was a list of important officers and staff of Long Broadcasting Enterprises including some of the air talent.  As the operator of a small group of stations, Long had been able to attract staffers from far and wide including such major markets as Detroit, Windsor, Ontario, San Antonio and Houston.

A year later, in November, 1948, tendered for filing with the FCC was an assignment of the license of KIOX eliminating Dodd and Reading from the ownership.  The consideration was something in the vicinity of $12-13,000 for their two 12.5% shares as best I can make it out.  It was mentioned that the station was losing money.  Thus did John G. Long become sole owner of KIOX.

See Part 2 here.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Channel 39, KHTV, 1967-1985

From YouTube, a compilation of historic broadcast videos from KHTV, ca. 1967-85 (one segment is as late as 1992).

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Houston Radio, Up Close, 2001

A special Doug Miller Channel 11, KHOU Up Close report on Houston Radio from 2001, posted on YouTube, with some well-known Houston personalities - most of whom are still around.  The story is old news to readers of this blog but it's a fascinating snapshot of history.

Monday, February 17, 2014

KBRZ, Freeport, 1460 - Part 2

For Part 1, go here.

On April 23, 1959, the Brazosport Facts carried a story announcing the FCC had approved the sale of KBRZ.  The buyer was Jim Hairgrove doing business as Radio Brazosport, Inc., in partnership with Garfield Kiel and Stanley McKenzie plus Hairgrove’s wife, Sue.  The price was $80,000 and the request seeking transfer of ownership had been filed March 30.  Various stories over the years indicated Hairgrove had either been manager, owner or ‘had an interest in’ KFRD, Rosenberg.  William Schueler, the seller, was moving to Fort Worth where he had an interest in KJIM and he also had an interest in KTOW, Oklahoma City.  Ken Ferguson, who had been with KBRZ since 1952, was buying KMOP, Tucson, in a partnership with L.B. Clayton of Oklahoma City.

On the 26th, Radio Brazosport took out an ad in the Facts introducing itself to the community and on the 29th a story reported that Hairgrove, identified as owner/manager of KBRZ, was going to be one of the judges at that year’s Sun Fest Time at Surfside Beach.  Incidentally this ad is interesting to me; the Hairgrove family went to the same church as my family and I knew him, though not well.  I remember being told at some point that he did not like his radio station referred to as Kay-Breeze.

During the years that Hairgrove was owner the station was more involved in the community and received more mentions in the paper than it had under Scheuler with Hairgrove frequently serving as the identifiable station personality.  He became active in several civic and business organizations and there were fewer mentions in the paper of other personalities at the station.

On August 15, 1960, the FCC granted a pemit to KBRZ to install a new transmitter, change the studio location and permit remote operation of the transmitter.  Brazosport Savings and Loan was building a new center where North 11th and Avenue F intersect Texas 288 (Brazosport Boulevard) and it was announced KBRZ would be the first tenant.

Broadcasting Magazine reported on February 13, 1961, that the station had occupied its new facilites, installing a new Gates transmitter and Ampex PR 10 recording equipment.   The building originally was a light, bluish-gray color with royal blue trim.  Very large KBRZ letters, in royal blue, adorned  the second floor face of the building and couldn’t be missed coming into Freeport on 288.  A Pickwick Cafeteria occupied the ground floor of the two story section of the center while the station’s studios and offices were on the second floor.  The transmitter remained at the original site on FM 523.  Today the center is mostly vacant.

Meanwhile, in October, 1960, KBRZ had filed another application with the FCC requesting permission to up power to 1000 watts.  The story in the Facts also noted Hairgrove had just been elected President of the Texas Association of Broadcasters after having served as Vice President. He was also to serve 9 years as a Director of the TAB. The application for 1000 watts was dismissed in November, 1961, at the request of the station.

In 1962, a new company, Texas Audio Electronics, was formed by the same group of investors to seek a license for an FM staton.  More information about the launch and early years of KLJT-FM can be found in this updated FM Chronology post.

I found this ad in the Sunday, January 6, 1963, edition of the Facts but there was no story offering an explanation.  There were also ads appearing from time to time over the years for Secret Shopper contests, a Strike it Rich contest and others, but it was necessary to listen to get the details.  In November, 1963, the station published a 'survey' form in the paper, asking listeners to clip it, fill it in and return it.  The questions asked listener preferences about a number of programming categories and was perhaps a sort of market research to be used in programming the forthcoming FM station.

The 59th Session of the Texas Legislature created a new legislative district, 20-F, serving Brazoria and Ft. Bend counties and Jim Hairgrove announced his candidacy for the seat in January, 1966, citing as one of his main goals the reuniting of Brazoria Co. in one district.  He won handily over his only opponent in the May Democratic Primary, in those days tantamount to the general election, and took his seat in early January, 1967.  His legislative career was short-lived, however.  On April 12, he was found dead in his hotel room in Austin of an apparent heart attack.  His passing was banner headline news in the Facts and his funeral service also received extensive front page coverage.  After his passing, several civic organizations and governmental bodies in Brazosport issued proclamations praising his service to the community.  His widow took over running the radio stations (she had always been involved in daily activities) but by the end of the month, announced she would run to succeed her husband in a special election called for May and turned operations of the properties over to James V. Fridle as General Manager and Randy Griffin as Commercial Manager.  Fridle had come to KBRZ in 1963 from WRAC, Racine Wisconsin, to be News Director and been named Operations Manager in June, 1965.  Griffin had been with KBRZ since 1961.

Sue Hairgrove won out over a field of five in the special election and served the rest of what would have been her husband’s term but declined to run for re-election, saying she felt she had fulfilled his mission.  In October, 1968, Fridle resigned to take a job with the Curtis Broadcast group in the southeastern US and Sue Hairgrove resumed managing the properties, retaining Griffin as assistant.  Then in February, 1969, the sale of the two radio stations and background music service was announced to Wayne Marcy and George Mayoral, operating as Summit Broadcasting.  Marcy was a sales rep for radio equipment and Mayoral had radio and television interests in New Orleans and Puerto Rico.  The FCC approved the sale in July and transfer of ownership took effect on Saturday, July 19.  Sue Hairgrove announced her intention to remain in the Brazosport area but so far as I know was never involved in broadcasting again.

To be continued.

A link to the KBRZ Classic website, a tribute and streaming website.

Ad images above from the archives of The Facts on

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Radio Discussions boards re-activated

Radio Discussions, which abruptly ceased operations a couple of months ago, has come back to life.  It appears all the old links will still work.

This is very good news because of the huge archive of useful information included in past posts over the years which will now be available again.

Here's the home page of the new site, in case you had deleted all your previous bookmarks.