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.

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