Tom Perryman *

2013 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

Radio the way it’s supposed to be.

That always has been the guiding principle of Tom Perryman, the 2013 TAB Pioneer of the Year. 

His radio career spans 66 years — from the heyday of live radio through many decades of market and technological changes.

At 86, Perryman still maintains a busy schedule as DJ and promoter of classic country artists on KKUS-FM 104.1 The Ranch, a station of the East Texas Radio Group in the Tyler-Longview market. 

Perryman’s show and his on-air promotional skills have moved KKUS to the top of the ratings, while contributing to the entire group’s financial stability.

The radio bug bit Perryman at age 16 when back surgery confined him to bed for several months at Rural Shade, his farming home in southeastern Navarro County.

The teenager listened to great announcers on popular AM stations and dreamed of being on the air.

Perryman earned an FCC first-class radio operators license at Tyler Commercial College, then fulfilled his dream in 1947 by signing on at KEBE-AM in Jacksonville.

“I went from picking cotton to picking records,” he likes to say.

“Texas Tom,” as he was known, hosted “The KEEBIE Korral” request hour, playing hillbilly music and telling stories about country life, a formula that served him well throughout his career.

“The station owner, Bill Laurie, told me, ‘If you can’t whistle it, don’t play it,’” Tom recalls, “and that stuck with me.”  Perryman promoted his first traveling Louisiana Hayride show in 1948, a success that filled Jacksonville’s football stadium.

From 1949 to 1956, Perryman worked at KSIJ-AM in Gladewater, eventually becoming station manager by his mid-20s, during the formative years of country music. 

He hosted “The Hillbilly Hit Parade,” which featured appearances by promising young musicians—including Elvis Presley – who traveled Highway 80 between Shreveport and Dallas.

He helped launch Elvis’s career by booking him at shows throughout East Texas.

Perryman’s career jumped from a small market to the biggest country station in the nation when he became the first regular DJ of an all-night country music show on WSM in Nashville.

He hosted the “Opry Star Spotlight” from 1956 to 1958, featuring music and interviews with top Opry artists. 

He also coordinated the Opry Artists Service Bureau, arranging with managers and buyers for artists’ appearances.

Perryman and his wife, Billie, returned to East Texas in 1959 as co-owners with country singer Jim Reeves of KGRI-AM/FM in Henderson.

They turned it into one of the nation’s first town-and-country format radio stations.

The station promoted future greats such as Johnny Cash and the Browns.

Reeves died in 1964 in a plane crash, and in 1967 the Perrymans, along with Reeves’ widow Mary, bought WMTS-AM/FM in Murfreesboro, near Nashville, Tenn.

The station was a founding organizational member of the Country Music Association. The Perrymans and Mary Reeves sold the popular station in 1978, and Perryman became vice-president of Jim Reeves Enterprises. 

To keep the Reeves legacy alive, Perryman produced an award-winning radio documentary about Jim Reeves’s influence on country music, in addition to a video showcasing Gentleman Jim’s music.  He also promoted and produced records for Cajun-Country star Jimmy C. Newman and others.

By 2001, Perryman was back in East Texas, turning KKUS-FM into a consistently high-rated classic country station.

“The Ranch and my 9-to-11 morning show dominate the older demographic.  These folks grew up with the people I play, and they can’t get that format anywhere else.  The younger listeners are hearing this kind of music for the first time, and they’re loving it,” Perryman says.

“Many fans listen to my show on the Internet in just about every state and even overseas.  That’s because every record I play, I tell stories about artists I knew personally.  I was there when country formats began to spread, and I’m proud to have helped many musicians become stars.”

As a DJ, promoter and station owner in the East Texas and Nashville markets, Tom Perryman joined other radio pioneers in helping develop a growing national appetite for what became country music. These changes led the way in the development of today’s entertainment industry.

“But I’ve always remembered that you don’t own the airwaves.  You have the honor of broadcasting to serve the public,” Perryman says.

“From 1947 until now, all our stations have always helped civic, religious, and educational institutions, in particular veterans groups.  We have helped countless non-profit organizations with local fund-raising.  There’s no telling how many community groups I’ve spoken to.”

Perryman credits Billie, his wife and partner of 67 years, for much of his success. “She worked with me at stations we owned and still raised our kids.  She’s been involved with everything I do.”

Pioneer broadcaster and DJ legend Tom Perryman has been inducted into the National Country Music Disc Jockey Hall Of Fame and the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame, and has received the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame DJ Award and the East Texas Tourism Association Broadcaster of Year award, among many others.

“I’ve always tried to improve and promote the radio industry along with country artists,” Perryman concludes, “so I especially appreciate getting this honor from my peers at TAB.”

View Tom Perryman’s video interview as part of Texas Tech’s TAB Pioneer Broadcaster project

Broadcasters mourn loss of Perryman (January 2018)

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William G. Moll

2012 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

Throughout his career, TAB’s 2012 Pioneer of the Year has worked to advance the public service interests of broadcasters, whether in the commercial broadcast industry or public television.

Bill Moll’s career can be summarized with one word – Localism.

By his description, Moll has always “had a decent set of pipes.”

When he turned 16, Moll called his hometown radio station and made an appointment to meet the GM and talk about breaking into the broadcast business. Three days later, he was on the air…and he’s never stopped since.

He continued to work at local radio and television stations throughout college – doing everything from on-air work, to traffic, sales and copywriting.

Moll graduated with an English degree from Southeast Missouri State University and earned his Master’s degree in Communications and Education at the University of Texas in Austin.

From there, he went to work for the Southwest Texas Educational Television Corp. They held the license for the public television facility serving San Antonio and Austin. Moll was part of the team that signed-on the station – KLRN-TV – in 1962. He would spend the next five years as station manager, based in San Antonio.

Moll credits Pioneer Broadcaster Wayne Kearl with much of his success. Kearl was the longtime president of KENS-TV San Antonio and he’s the reason Moll returned to San Antonio in 1972.

“Bill is a classy person, a community-minded broadcaster and a real credit to the industry,” Kearl said.

TAB honored Kearl with the Pioneer of the Year award in 1981.

For the next 30 years, Moll’s career would take him all around the US: VP/GM of WSMW-TV Worcester, Mass., President/CEO of KENS-TV San Antonio, President/CEO of WNBC-TV New York and President/CEO of WKRC-TV Cincinnati.

In 2000, he returned to San Antonio as President/CEO of Clear Channel Television, and later served as Chairman. By the time Clear Channel sold the TV division it had expanded to 56 television stations in 25 markets under Moll’s leadership.

After nine years with Clear Channel, Moll returned to his roots at KLRN-TV. He serves as President and CEO of the Alamo Public Telecommunications Council.

He has always been committed to creating relevant local content for each station or group he has led. Most recently, at KLRN, he revived the station’s commitment to local content by establishing “Texas Week with Rick Casey,” a weekly public affairs broadcast, as well as “Conversations,” a weekly interview program with notable citizens of San Antonio and South Central Texas, and will add a local Arts & Culture series in the fall.

Under his leadership, the station has committed major resources to broadcast all three San Antonio Fiesta Parades.

The broadcasts marked the first time the parades were aired in High Definition and on two channels (in English and Spanish), as well as on a global, live Internet stream – serving 50 countries and 49 states.

Though his career has taken him all over the United States, Moll remained engaged with TAB and participated in industry matters every time he returned to Texas. He has always believed in TAB’s efforts to be the link between broadcasters and regulators, lawmakers, advertisers and the public.

Moll continues to be an effective spokesman on industry issues.

He serves on the Board of the Texas Association of Public Broadcasters (TPBA), the Public Television Major Market Group (PTMMG), Pres./CEO KLRN, as a Director of New Vision Television (a for-profit Television Group) and was Founding Chair of the Board of, a community-based neighborhood news website funded in part by the Knight Foundation and the San Antonio Area Foundation.

He is a former member of the board of the New York State Broadcasters Association and chaired TAB’s Board of Directors in 1984.

Moll led the TAB Board to again defeat the Texas Legislature’s attempt to tax advertising, launched the first “Radio Day,” created an important campaign to help broadcasters deal with drunk driving in Texas and began an ombudsman program with the FCC.

Moll was twice elected to the board of the National Association of Broadcasters, chairing the first-ever High Definition Television Committee in 1986.

He served the Television Bureau of Advertising as both Chair of the Board and President/CEO of the industry trade association, and served for eight years in the leadership of the board of The Broadcasters Foundation of America, benefiting broadcasters who have fallen on hard times.

In terms of “localism,” Moll continues his long-held belief that broadcasters should serve not only the needs of viewers and listeners, but contribute to the success of local non-profit organizations.

He currently serves on the boards of directors of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Area Foundation, United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, University of the Incarnate Word, Masters Leadership Program of San Antonio and the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, among others.

He is the retired Chairman of the World Board of Governors of the USO, the premier organization supporting America’s military since 1941.

As Chair, he guided the creation of The USO Foundation to help ensure sustainability of the USO mission.

He is proud to be involved with the USO to help provide a tangible, straightforward way for the American people to say “Thank you” to the troops.

Moll says he has no plans to retire.

To him, broadcasting has never been a “job” – it’s a way of life.

View Bill Moll’s video as part of Texas Tech’s TAB Pioneer Broadcaster Project

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Mike Wenglar

2011 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2011)

TAB’s Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year sets the standard in Texas for working unselfishly and tirelessly toward the betterment of the broadcast industry and has earned the unwavering respect and admiration of his peers.

And this year’s award winner wears a lot of hats.

Mike Wenglar…Engineer…Manager…Station Owner…Volunteer.

Like many broadcasters, Wenglar’s interest in all things electronic and the world of broadcasting began early in his life. He was born and raised in El Campo and during his sophomore year of high school he began working at KULP-AM 1390 doing a show called “Mike’s Corner.”

Later, he renamed it “The Mikey Wikey Show,” complete with custom jingles.

In addition to his duties at KULP, he worked part-time as a police officer and crime/accident scene photographer for the El Campo Police Department.

After high school he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Biloxi, Miss. He continued to do his radio show via tape until he was sent to a base in Germany.

After leaving the Air Force, Wenglar returned to El Campo and began working with his father’s plumbing business.

A friend told him about a new television station coming to Austin.

He applied as an engineer/technician at KVUE-TV (even though it would pay less than his plumbing job) and in 1971, he helped sign the station on the air.

In less than a year, he was named chief engineer, a position he held until being named vice president/chief engineer in 1989.

In 1993, Gannett Broadcasting awarded him with their most prestigious engineering award for his outstanding contributions to KVUE-TV’s success.

Wenglar has seen many changes throughout the years, but he thinks the most important is how television is evolving into more of a media presence with web streaming and social media.

These new technologies will change how business is done in television with all the resources needed to manage these new aspects of the industry.

The future of television will be affected by broadband and spectrum issues but he strongly believes that “over-the-air broadcasting should be free. It is the American way.”

In 2000, he had the opportunity to purchase KULP, his hometown radio station.

His goal was to keep it the same as he remembered it. The station still features the popular polka-time and swap-shop shows, two staples of small town radio. He has a great point person, Stephen Zetsche, to handle the day-to-day business of the station.

In 2006, KVUE-TV honored Wenglar with an award for 35 years of outstanding work.

“Throughout his 35 years of service he has been instrumental in creating and maintaining one of the most respected television stations in the state of Texas. I affectionately call him ‘the backbone’ of KVUE-TV,” said Patti C. Smith, president and general manager.

“He treats the station as if it were his home away from home…with great respect and love. This attitude is reflected in his work and all of the staff and viewers of KVUE-TV are better for having Mike Wenglar’s service and dedication over these many years.”

Wenglar is convinced that KVUE-TV is the best run station in Austin.

“They have always had good management and good people. They trust me to do what is right for the station.”

Tireless volunteer for TAB

Wenglar’s insight is trusted far beyond the confines of the KVUE-TV studios.

Since the FCC adopted the Emergency Alert System in 1996, he has been an integral part of TAB’s efforts to make the system work as well as possible in Texas, despite considerable resistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

He also advised TAB in the planning and construction of its new home, finished in 1999, and is routinely called upon to help study the potential effect of legislation on broadcast operations.

Reflecting his wide range of interests and passions, Wenglar has served as TAB’s “official photographer” since 1992.

In 1999, TAB awarded Wenglar with a Special President’s Award for his tireless dedication and volunteer efforts.

For nearly 20 years, Wenglar has led the planning efforts for the engineering sessions at the TAB Convention. In 1996, he originated the “Chief Engineer” section of the TABulletin and has contributed to the newsletter on a variety of technical issues.

For the past three years, he has represented TAB’s pioneer/retired members on the TAB Board of Directors.

Giving back to the community

Wenglar has been involved with Austin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired since 1989 assisting them with their reading service. He is happy to provide pro-bono technical service to the organization because he is inspired by those he serves.

He is a lifetime member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers as well as many other organizations including the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, the American Radio Relay League and holds a General Class Amateur Radio License.

He has no plans to retire and is looking forward to working in broadcasting for many years to come.

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William J. “Bill” Carter *

2010 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2010)

Bill Carter’s broadcasting career spans an impressive 60 years. During his time in the industry, he has witnessed the advent of color TV broadcasting and the use of video tape, among many other innovations. He is still excited by the changes he sees for the future of the medium.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, he joined the Army Air Corps at the age of 17, right after he graduated from high school.

He remained in the Air Force and Naval Reserves – serving a total of 43 years active and reserve duty.

He began his career in radio in 1949 at KPAC Port Arthur at age of 21. Spending just a few months there, he moved on to his first “real job” at KEBE Jacksonville and eventually KIVY Crockett.

In Crockett, he served as announcer, engineer and was eventually promoted to manager. Carter felt his training in the Army Air Corp and flight weather service with recent radio experience would help him get a job as a TV weatherman.

Even more, it was his lack of a southern accent that helped him get the job. In 1959, Carter transitioned to television at KTRE-TV Lufkin-Nacogdoches, replacing Murphy Martin (who left for WFAA-TV Dallas-Fort Worth and later ABC in New York).

He would spend the next 12 years in East Texas. His varied experiences in radio made for a smooth transition to television.
He started as news anchor and was eventually promoted to program director and then sales manager.

In 1964, the Tyler-based Buford Group purchased the station and promoted Carter to general manager/vice president.

Carter served on Buford’s acquisition team and was responsible for buying and operating radio, television and cable operations in Texas, Ohio, Arkansas, South Dakota and Indiana.

In the early 1970s, an opportunity arose and he took over as manager for KZTV-TV Corpus Christi and KVTV-TV Laredo.

He would spend four years working for owner and mentor Colonel Vann Kennedy.

In 1975, he moved to Houston to run the radio and television network for the Houston Astros. During the four years he was with the Astros, he was responsible for hundreds of live broadcasts. One of his jobs was to find stations to carry the games, as flagship KPRC-TV could only carry 11 of the 162 each season. That’s how he met Raymond Schindler, who Carter describes as “the most unforgettable character I’ve ever met.”

Schindler was founder of Hurricane Chain Link fence and a majority stockholder in KDOG-TV Houston (Channel 26) – now KRIV-TV.
In 1979, Carter took over as the president of the broadcast division for Schindler Interests.

For the next 20 years, he corporately assisted in forming and operating several TV stations including KPOM-TV Fort Smith Ark., KABB-TV San Antonio; KTMD-TV Houston; KBVO-TV Austin. The company also operated KVLG/KBUK La Grange.

On May 12, 1984, Carter signed KIDY-TV on the air in San Angelo.

The station was supposed to be an ABC affiliate but Cap Cities bought ABC and the deal dragged on and on. The station was an independent station in the 190th market. As Carter said, “not a pretty sight.” Rupert Murdoch came along and KIDY was the 14th station to sign with the new FOX Network. He later established KXVZ/KIDZ-TV Abilene. He stayed with the stations until his unofficial retirement in 2007.

In 2008, Sage Broadcasting entered into an LMA agreement with Bayou City Broadcasting for the purchase of the Abilene and San Angelo station. Carter continued to serve as a consultant for Sage Broadcasting until 2009. Carter has always been extremely supportive of the TAB and the association’s service to the industry.

He served multiple terms on the TAB Board of Directors and also over the years has been on various boards including the Fox Television Board of Governors, Jaycees, East Texas Area Council, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Rotary International.

He is enjoying spending time with his wife, Anne-Marie and visiting family in different parts of the country as well as abroad. Carter advises future broadcasters to learn to listen to other people. Hire people with high energy, curiosity and a passion for life. Broadcasters must prepare for change with excitement.

Carter passed away in January 2022 at the age of 93.

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Dick Oppenheimer *

2008 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2008)

The long career of TAB’s 2009 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year exemplifies a standard of excellence in service to his employees, station, communities, state and industry.

Dick Oppenheimer has always strived to be an example and mentor to others in the industry.

Dick Oppenheimer

Through a lifetime of service, Dick continues to give back to a broadcast community he cares for very deeply.

As a broadcast professional, Dick wants to have local radio make a positive impact for the benefit of the community.

Dick was born in the Bronx, NY and raised in New Jersey. He grew up wanting to be a physical education teacher and coach.

As a student at Seton Hall University, he got some experience working at the college radio station and for Savoy Records. He was hooked! He changed his major to communications and began to pursue his passion.

Dick’s service to the Texas broadcasting community began in 1966. He moved to Houston to manage KYOK-AM, one of only two early Black-programmed stations.

Within two years’ time, KYOK was one of the top rated stations in the market and eventually became one of the highest-rated stations in the country.

Under Dick’s leadership, KYOK became one of the first Black stations to build a news staff, all of whom were African American.

His news director was responsible for editorials on a daily basis, also a first for Black stations. The station also worked with city leaders, taking the initiative to encourage the African American community to get involved in the political process.

In 1969, Starr Broadcasting purchased KYOK and Dick was promoted to Senior Vice President. The company had 11 stations in nine major markets. He helped Starr become the first publicly-traded company with exclusive radio and TV holdings.

In 1977, Dick left Starr to start his first broadcast company – Capitol Cities Broadcasting. He decided that he had done everything he could in radio – except work for himself.

It was time for a new challenge. Dick made his first of many station acquisitions purchasing religious KIXL Austin. He transformed how religious stations operated, previously only broadcasting mostly church services. Less than one year later, he added KBFM McAllen to the portfolio.

Longtime friend and employee Lon Bason said when Dick bought the station, “it was an automated, middle-of-the-road quasi contemporary nightmare.”

“In a matter of days, Dick and his team of new management, on-air talent and engineers came in and ripped every last piece of automation out, built new studios, knocked down walls to expand into the adjacent building and launched the hottest Top 40/CHR station South Texas has ever known,” Bason said.

In 1980, Dick purchased KHFI (K-98), establishing one of Austin and Central Texas’ premier and top-rated radio stations of all time.

Alan Kabel worked for Dick at KHFI: “He was a big picture guy who understood entertainment and could pick the people who were great at it.

He understood leadership and hired the best to create a magical, 24-7, predictably unpredictable radio experience.His door was always open and he taught me about loyalty, honesty and commitment to do your best.”

After expanding into Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Mobile and Beaumont, Capitol Cities Broadcasting was sold for one of the highest prices ever paid for a group of its size.

Within two weeks, Dick formed a new entity – Signature Broadcasting. The group’s initial acquisition in 1987 was an FM station in Columbia, SC.

He added stations in Nashville, Pittsburgh and then returned to the Rio Grande Valley with the acquisition of “KLITE,” which ultimately became “KPASA” FM. The company was sold at the end of 1996.

That same year, Augie Grant, an instructor at the University of Texas at Austin, asked Dick to take over a class for him. Dick initially rejected the idea of teaching, but agreed to teach for only one semester.

One semester turned into 10 years and Dick says it was one of the most exhilarating things he’d ever done. He fell in love with teaching and still receives notes from students.

In 2008, Dick returned to the broadcast industry with the purchase of religious station KLGO-FM, serving Austin and Central Texas. He plans to acquire more niche-format stations and has no plans for retirement.

Since his earliest days Dick has worked tirelessly to advance the broadcast industry. He served on the TAB Board of Directors from 1981-87 and for eight years on the NAB Board of Directors.

Dick passed the broadcasting gene to his son Michael, currently market manager for the Clear Channel stations in Memphis. He also has a daughter, Susan.

Dick and his wife Carol are proud grandparents of four. Dick continues his commitment to serving the industry by mentoring today’s and tomorrow’s management, sales and programming leaders.

His advice has always been: “Be yourself at all times. Don’t be fake. Go to work every day with an objective and reach that objective. Do that every day.”

He is most proud of the development of people he hired over the years and calls himself “the luckiest guy in the world.”

Whether it is on-air, sales or management, Dick believes it is the people you work with that will make a station successful.

Dick passed away on March 21, 2018 at the age of 84.

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Rusty Reynolds *

2008 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2008)

The Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year recognizes a trailblazer. Someone who changed the direction of their radio or television station.

Someone who has changed the direction of the broadcast industry itself.

Someone like Rusty Reynolds.

His thinking and vision were instrumental in the creation of Reynolds Radio and Texas broadcasting was never the same.

Reynolds has always been active in the Texas Association of Broadcasters and has encouraged other broadcasters to get involved.

Past TAB Chairman John Barger characterizes Reynolds as a visionary for his efforts in 1983 to convince the Board that it needed a full-time lobbyist.

He wanted then-executive director Bonner McLane to take the reins of TAB full-time and drop his ad agency business.

Reynolds was concerned the industry had too much at stake in the Legislature to have just a part-time administrator. History ultimately proved Reynolds right.

If the Board had listened, TAB would have been three years ahead of the curve when Bonner’s sudden death and a state budget crisis left us vulnerable to an Ad Tax. It was easier for those making the decisions following Bonner’s passing.

They had the benefit of recalling Reynolds’s vision for TAB – a plan which had fallen on deaf ears just a few years earlier. Kenneth “Rusty” Reynolds was born in Pittsburg Texas in 1933.

When Reynolds was a baby, he was abandoned in the woods and found by a hunter.

Reynolds grew up around animals and in high school he was the state officer for the FFA. He found a love for radio at a young age.

As the FFA vice president, he was asked to do the on-air ag reports at KIMP in Mount Pleasant. Soon he managed to talked his way into a full time on-air position at the station.

He went to Texas A&M in 1951 where he worked at the campus station and was a member of the Corps of Cadets. Reynolds left A&M in 1953, but never lost his Aggie pride and his love for the maroon and white.

Forty-two years later, he went back to school and graduated in 1996 at the age of 63!

Reynolds spent a good part of the 50’s and 60’s behind the microphone with stops in Tyler, Shreveport, Louisville and Dallas-Fort Worth.

While Reynolds was the music director at KEEL in Shreveport, he affectionately earned the nickname Wrong Side Reynolds.

People say that record companies would send him new releases and deliberately not mark the sides, to see which side he would program.

Whatever side he didn’t pick, the record company would then promote. And usually, the record company was right.

Larry Gunter tells a story of Reynolds picking the B side of “Blue Suede Shoes!” Don Logan, a former program director at KEEL went so far as to write a song called “Wrong Side Rusty.”

While hosting a morning show in DFW in the mid-1960’s, he also began working in sales.

His sales success led to increased responsibility and he moved into sales management at KXOL-AM. A few years later the owners decided to try generating revenue with their Class C FM station licensed to Fort Worth on 99.5.

This was well before the time when FM signals were the dominant force in the industry that they are today. AM radio was king and the FM stations gathered dust. KCWM introduced FM country music to the Metroplex in 1968 with Reynolds as General Manager.

A couple years later Reynolds jumped into ownership when he and Earl Fletcher bought KMCO-AM in Conroe. In 1974 Reynolds formed a partnership with his buddy Dick Osburn that would redefine radio in Texas.

They purchased KHER-FM in Longview from Tony Bridge and changed the call letters to KYKX.

Reynolds managed the station and even worked the overnight shift for several months.

The market ratings for the station during Reynold’s 11 year tenure were fantastic. During this time, he developed many creative ideas to promote the station and better serve the community.

A True Pioneer

Reynolds pioneered a new format that was somewhere between country music and adult contemporary.

The result was the number one crossover station in East Texas. His next innovation was a morning show. There were a number of great morning shows, but they were dominated by men. Reynolds wanted a man-woman show that reflected the Longview community.

Larry Wilson had the men’s part and he found a candidate for the female part who just happened to be named Lou Wickersham.

The “Larry and Lou” show was born and was a huge success. Although the “Lous” changed, and eventually the “Larry” changed, the show continued to dominate the Tyler-Longview market for years.

Reynolds also is credited with starting the largest bass fishing championship in the world. In 1984, they awarded a record $105,000 first prize.

Most tournaments around the country had top prizes a fraction of that amount. The publicity was overwhelming. Reynolds brought major market innovation to a medium market station.

As Benny Springer tells it, Reynolds was the first in the country to have a computerized traffic and billing system.

The Wang computer from Greg Dean’s company was as big as a small freezer and the discs the size of a pizza, but Reynolds was proud to bring his station into the computer age.

In 1994, Dick Osburn decided to retire. He and Reynolds sold all their stations except his beloved KAGG in Bryan-College Station.

Reynolds then partnered with his son Ken to form Reynolds Broadcasting. They went to Tyler and launched country KLBL “The Bull,” and KBLZ “The Blaze,” an urban contemporary format.

Reynolds was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2003.

Even though he’s semi-retired, Reynolds is still actively involved in Reynolds Radio.

He never misses a chance to play in the TAB Golf Tournament and enjoys spending time with the grandkids.

Reynolds’ determination to do all things with excellence, his commitment to passing down heritage he acquired and his unique talent for making people dig deep to find the best within themselves marks his long successful career.

He showed many an owner, operator, programmer and personality that even a small town station could have sparkle.

Reynolds passed away in March 2012.

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Lady Bird Johnson *

2007 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

(Published August 2007)

Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson was a refined, soft spoken Southern lady who blazed her own trail in the competitive, and then male-dominated world of broadcasting.

At the same time she raised two daughters and served our nation through a turbulent era of both social and technological growth.

Lady Bird Johnson’s purchase of KTBC-AM Austin was approved by the FCC in February 1943.

In an age when two-career families were rare, she became a broadcast station owner, working full time in Austin, while her husband served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“What kind of person have we got here?”

Austin was a relatively small city in 1943, with only two stations: KTBC and KNOW.

Having no broadcasting experience, Lady Bird set out to learn what she needed to know about the radio business, including advertising sales, promotions, transmission equipment, regulations, programming and management.

Glamorous, it was not. KTBC was losing $600 per month. The broadcast signal was a weak 250 watts.

KTBC had no network affiliation and limited broadcasting hours.

The station’s offices were physically dirty. For a woman who built a reputation beautifying Texas’ highways, the unsightly appearance was the last straw.

“I spent one day myself with a bucket full of soap and rags and whatever suitable things there were, washing the windows, while some of [the employees] just stood around there with their mouths open thinking, “What kind of person have we got here?’”

Lady Bird moved the station to a new location and hired new management, all while putting accounts receivable in order and paying off debts as quickly as possible.

By July 1943, KTBC had FCC approval to double the station’s power, change its frequency and broadcast around the clock.

In August, the station became Austin’s CBS affiliate, and Lady Bird saw her first profit of $18.

She began assembling what would become a very profitable station, learning each part of the business as needed. “I had to learn an awful lot about technical material. I learned it, got it down to some sense of understanding, and then promptly forgot it within a few months.”

Always humble, she clearly understood how to run a business.

By 1945, the station had increased its power to 5,000 watts and showed an after tax profit of nearly $40,000. In just two years,

Lady Bird Johnson proved to be a formidable businesswoman.

Once asked if she ever felt she’d made a mistake in buying the station, she replied “No…I just felt like we had to push on.” Push on, she did.

“…I just felt like we had to push on.”

With two young children and a husband in the U.S. Senate, Lady Bird Johnson made a daring leap into the newest development in broadcasting: television.

She made the critical decision to build a VHF station rather than a less expensive UHF broadcasting facility, and the move gave KTBC a stronger signal and provided more coverage across central Texas.

KTBC-TV gave Austin its first television broadcast on Thanksgiving Day 1952, when it aired the University of Texas/Texas A&M football game.

Although a modest station with no film cameras for news coverage during much of the 1950s, KTBC-TV prospered enough for the Texas Broadcasting Company to expand outside of Austin, buying interests in radio and television stations in Waco, Bryan and Weslaco.

By 1959, the company was valued at more than $2 million.

Lady Bird made yet another gamble when she broke into FM radio in 1960.

Few people had FM receivers at the time, but the merits of a signal free of interference were enough to convince Lady Bird that this was the future of radio.

Renamed KLBJ-FM in 1973, the station has been on the air longer than any other commercial FM station in Austin.

Stations bearing the KTBC call sign have brought Austin many memorable moments in history.

In 1944 KTBC-AM broadcast the details of the invasion of Europe on D-Day and brought Edward R. Murrow into Austin’s living rooms.

KTBC-TV made its mark on television history with live coverage of the UT Tower sniper in 1966.

Many will never forget young reporter Neal Spelce crouched by the Red Rover news vehicle reporting an event that forever changed Austin.

Capable as she was of making smart business decisions, Lady Bird had the gift every successful executive has: a knack for recruiting high caliber people.

Nellie Connally, Ann Eastland and Louise Vine were among the mostly female wartime staff in the 1940s. Lady Bird recruited strong and capable general managers including Harfield Weedin, Pat Adelman and J.C. Kellam.

Cactus Pryor developed and found a permanent home for his very special brand of Texas humor at KTBC.

Ron Rogers, Ronnie Dugger and Ray Waddell all spent time at KTBC during her tenure. Other famous KTBC alums include veteran news director Paul Bolton, Governor John Connally, Congressman Jake Pickle, television journalist Bill Moyers, CNN chief Tom Johnson, national sportscaster Vern Lundquist and TAB’s longtime Executive Director Bonner McLane.

Lady Bird Johnson established a quality of service to the community which continues today.

She was honored in 1998 when TAB and the Texas Broadcast Education Foundation established a scholarship in her name for a UT-Austin broadcast student.

Lady Bird Johnson passed away in January 1997.

Read more…

Lady Bird Johnson

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David Lykes

2006 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

From a salesperson at a small, family-owned business to the COO of the largest Spanish-language broadcast company in the nation, David Lykes’ career embodies the true spirit of the Texas Association of Broadcasters’ Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year Award.

Lykes began his Texas broadcast career as an account executive at KGBT-AM Harlingen, owned by Tichenor Media Systems.

The 50,000 watt station broadcast 18 hours a day – 10 in English, eight in Spanish.

Lykes set out to sell the Spanish-language programs – not such a hot prospect back in the 1950s. But Lykes and his mentor McHenry Tichenor saw opportunity.

KGBT-AM began broadcasting in Spanish full-time in 1962. In 1959, it didn’t take much to count the number of Hispanic radio stations in the U.S. At TMS, Lykes was an outspoken advocate for Hispanics, genuinely trying to affect social change not only with acceptance but also pride in the Hispanic culture in the United States. By 1970, the number of Hispanic stations in the U.S. had grown tenfold. Today, there are more than 500 stations broadcasting in Spanish.

In 1997, Tichenor Media merged with Heftel Broadcasting and the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation was born. Though the corporate names changed, Lykes’ commitment to Spanish-language broadcasting never wavered. His influence touched all areas of the HBC stations.

He fought for increasing on-air production values, improving marketing strategies, producing the best possible promotional events, and presenting advertisers with all the marketing possibilities the medium had to offer. Lykes convinced advertisers and business people that the Hispanic market was not only viable, but necessary to their businesses.

No company was too big or small. Lykes made his Hispanic radio pitch to every Fortune 500 Company and “Mom & Pop shop” that would listen. He genuinely wanted to help advertisers grow their businesses with this new source of revenue.

At the end of the day, the advertisers were grateful and realized he truly was putting their interests first.

He worked with Arbitron, Simmons Market Research Bureau, Scarborough and others to bring improved measurement techniques for Hispanic Americans to the advertising and broadcasting communities. As a member of the Arbitron Advisory Council, Lykes spent many years lobbying the company to distribute surveys in Spanish and improve the accuracy of gauging Spanish radio’s audiences.

He worked tirelessly to develop the first Hispanic national sales rep firm – Katz Hispanic (now Univision Radio National Sales).

“When I think of a Pioneer, I think of someone with vision; vision ahead of its time. David was indeed a visionary,” said Laura Hagan, president of Univision Radio National Sales. “Ultimately, David’s 42 years of service and dedication to our industry and our community nurtured the respect Spanish radio has today.”

As a broadcast manager, Lykes garnered an outstanding level of support from those he managed as well his bosses by always placing the company and people before himself.

“David was a terrific businessman and a man of great integrity,” said Mac Tichenor, former President of Univision Radio. “He’s a wonderful friend and for many years, he truly was the heart and soul of our company.”

When Hurricane Allen struck the Valley in 1980, Lykes turned the stations into a shelter for more than four days. He made sure the more than 50 employees had food, water and the best living arrangements he could put together. One morning, the staff awoke to the aroma of Lykes grilling hamburgers in the studio!

“David was my mentor and still is my great friend. He helped me grow as a manager and a person,” said Dan Wilson, GM of Univision Radio San Antonio. “I think they should change the spelling of leader to L-Y-K-E-S.”

Lykes made sure all his stations were not only members of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, but active participants.

He always recognized the important role TAB plays in promoting and protecting the broadcast industry in Austin and Washington, DC.

“You can thank David Lykes for introducing me to the TAB. David hired me in 1984 and invited me to accompany him to my first TAB Convention that year in San Antonio,” Wilson said.

Lykes was committed to growing talent at all levels of the station – promoting from within as well as reaching out to the Hispanic communities in each market. He was personally involved in numerous charities and encouraged his stations to find causes and support them locally.

After retiring in from Univision Radio in 2001 and relocating to Georgetown, Lykes continues to call on surrounding media to work on projects that benefit the community. He nows the power of the media and continues to use it to promote and aid community standards.

“He was instrumental in developing a small family business into a major corporation without losing focus on what makes this industry great – people. Whether it was mowing the lawn at a transmitter site or serving as general manager, David always treated people with dignity and respect,” said Mark Masepohl, Univision Radio Senior VP/Regional Manager.

The Texas Association of Broadcasters 2006 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year honors a man whose career is a true testament to the American Dream – proof that with passionate persistence you CAN achieve success. His personal commitment to excellence is a guiding star to thousands of broadcasters across the nation.

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Jim R. Phillips *

2005 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year

Dignified, honorable, intelligent and generous – all these are words that should be used to describe the Texas Association of Broadcasters’ 2005 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year.  
Our pioneer also is energetic, dedicated, compassionate and humble.

He’s a Texan, in the truest sense of Texas.

Jim R. Phillips has spent nearly half a century developing, programming, selling and engineering his way to notable success as a radio broadcaster, and in doing so, leaving two Texas communities better for it.

And so it begins…

Phillips was born in 1932 and grew up in Dallas, where his father worked as an independent plumber.  He attended Forest Avenue High School and went on to serve in the United States Air Force in 1951.

After three years in the Air Force, Phillips enrolled in Texas Christian University.

In what would become a footprint for Phillips’ work ethic – not only did he graduate from TCU with a BS, but he worked his way through four years of college in three years, while raising a family and working at an accounting firm.

After graduation, Phillips worked for oilman Sid Richardson – who just happened to own a few radio and TV stations known as the Texas State Networks. That’s when broadcasting came to be Phillips’ destiny.

He started working for an ad agency – Jack T. Holmes & Associates in 1957. Phillips then joined the North Texas Advertising Company and KRBC Abilene in 1958.

In one of many impressive career moves, he transferred to Fort Worth in 1960 to take a position as General Sales Manager at KFJZ-AM/FM.

Four years later, he moved to the Rio Grande Valley to become president/general manager of KRIO McAllen.

When Hurricane Beulah hit in 1967, a frightened community turned to Phillips’ station – and he didn’t let them down.  Phillips changed the format from music to all talk – tracking the hurricane, providing weather bulletins and making sure everyone was prepared for the Category Five storm to hit.  Weather bulletins may seem like the standard now, but Phillips started it all and repeated it on his station KDUV-FM Brownsville in 1975 during the threat of Hurricane Fern.

Phillips teamed up with Gary Ackers in 1969 and moved to El Paso, purchasing KHEY-AM for $700,000. The station was barely scraping by and there was a lot of room for improvement.

He and Ackers started making changes, hired a top-notch staff and took KHEY to the top of the market.  They rode the wave of the newly-popular country music for more than two decades before selling the station in 1989 for close to $9 million.

With the sale came a non-compete clause that said Phillips could not own or operate another El Paso broadcast property for five years.

That didn’t mean Phillips took a five year vacation.  In 1990, he became, and still is today, Chairman of the Board of State National Bank, a century-old institution that is now Wells Fargo Bank.

But after those five years passed, he jumped back into the business under the name Magic Media, this time with his son J.R. Phillips and Ken Tice.

By the end of 1994, they had purchased KSET (which was renamed KATH) and KOFX for $5.7 million.

In 1999, Phillips was one of three stockholders who sold KOFX-AM and KATH-FM to Entravision for $14 million.

The sale was only one of a series of successful business deals that have people calling him “the man with the golden touch.”
Throughout his career, Phillips has owned radio stations in Amarillo, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Nevada.

Phillips served as TAB President in 1979 and was a longtime grassroots lobbyist for broadcasters in both Washington and Austin.
Someone once said the El Paso congressman (regardless of party or ethnicity) would always call Phillips before voting on major issues, for fear that Phillips might run against him in the next election!

What’s in a name?

In 1982 the Sun Bowl committee turned to Phillips to help save the second longest-running NCAA post-season football event for the city.  Attendance was down and CBS was threatening to drop its contract with the Bowl.

Phillips suggested selling the right to name the stadium to a major sponsor.  He brainstormed with his old friend Tex Schramm and they presented the concept to CBS.

The network approved with two reservations: CBS would expect the sponsor to purchase advertising during the broadcast and CBS reserved the right to approve the sponsor.

Phillips’ committee provided a list of potential sponsors to CBS and the El Paso Sun Bowl Group made a deal with John Hancock for five years – cost based on game day ratings, not to exceed $2,000,000.  CBS was satisfied and John Hancock was happy.
Phillips saved the Sun Bowl!  When John Hancock left sports sponsorship, Phillips took the endorsement opportunity to his own bank’s corporate offices and secured a seven-year sponsorship from Wells Fargo.

As a direct result of Phillips’ venue and event-naming concept, today every major post-season football event, 30 of 32 NFL stadiums, 28 of 30 NBA facilities and more than three-quarters of the Major League Baseball fields have title sponsors.

Giving back to his community

Phillips and his wife Nita have been married since 1971 and they’re both committed to working with numerous organizations to make El Paso a better place to live.

His leadership is evident in organizations from Candlelighters, Hospice and the Holocaust Museum to the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, UTEP and Texas Tech Medical Center.  In the past his participation as president or campaign chairman has benefited The Boy Scouts of America, the United Way and the YWCA.

Wherever there is a cause or an activity worthy of strong support, you’re very likely to see the Phillips’ not just participating, but leading the way.

TAB salutes Jim R. Phillips as 2005 Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year!

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