Between radio gigs, I taught classes at National Broadcasting School in Vegas. Part of every course is the history of radio. Marconi is credited for the first ‘broadcast’, however there were prior offerings all over Europe. KDKA in Pittsburg, Pennsylvanie was the first to be given ‘call letters’ in 1920. There were a few ‘clear channel’ stations whose frequencies were protected from low power interference. These powerhouses covered much of the country. Low Power stations usually were “Daytimers”, with license to broadcast from official sunrise to sunset at which time their signal was practically non-existent a few miles from the broadcast tower. After the federal control bureau (Federal Communications Commission) began regulating stations, there were very heavy fines levied for violations of interference or ‘foul’ language. Call Letters were given to each facility and with a few exceptions, those east of the Mississippi were given identities beginning with the letter “W”. West of the river, stations had call letters beginning with the letter “K”. There were exceptions for the ‘Clear Channel’ stations as in the case of KDKA. For example, New Orleans is WLW; Nashville is WLAC; Dallas is WFAA/WBAP; San Antonio is WOAI and Shreveport is KWKH. The Government reserved frequencies in radio and television for stations that were placed on University Campuses. These are now networked as National Public Radio or Television. in the early 50’s, while I was attending college at Sam Houston State, Huntsville, we listened to Gene Nobles on WLAC every night. His sponsors were Royal Crown Hair Dressing (he would introduce it as “Reeazoyal Creeazown Heeazair Dreeazessing”. We loved that. His major advertiser was “Randy’s Record Shop” in Gallatin, Tennesee. Randy Wood later released some very famous artists on “DOT Records”. (Dot is an interesting story in itsself). When I was working late in Amarillo, on the way home, I would listen to XERF( Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila Mexico)and Paul Kallinger, “Your Neighbor Along the Way” and some extremely varied ‘Preachers’. This powerhouse with 250K watts (50K is the limit in the U.S.) blasted from lower Mexico to the upper limits of Canada. It also was the favorite of truckers in the U.S. The famed ‘rocker’ Wolfman Jack began his career playing rock and roll on XERF. By the way, Kallinger recorded his ‘breaks’ in Del Rio and shipped them to the station. He was not interested, in the least, to mix with the criminal element that roamed the Mexican border. I was ‘on-air’ at KPDN, Pampa, TX; KFDA radio and tv, KLYN and KRAY in Amarillo; KIMP, Mount Pleasant; KTAL, Texarkana, TX; WIIN, Atlanta, GA; KORA and KBTX-tv in Bryan, TX; KWHI in Brenham, TX; KODA-fm in Houston, TX; KORK, KVEG, KDWN, KKVV and KNPR in Vegas. The most enjoyable time ‘on-air’ was playing Big Band at KORK in the early 80’s. My years with all the gang at KBTX-tv in Bryan was a HOOT and all those fun days and any success (inducted into Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2001) could never have been had not GOD opened doors. I did the best I could and pray that what I did is worthy of Praise to HIM.
Later, I will share some more about the ‘good old days when broadcasts were LIVE.