There is an industry that we have to mention when talking about Lubbock's first 100 years, because without it there would be no Centennial Tour. We're talking about broadcasting.
Radio arrived in 1932, television came along 20 years later, and today both continue to evolve. "Our basic mission is still the same. How we might deliver it maybe has changed a little bit," KFYO-AM 790 Program Director Robert Snyder said.
KFYO radio got its start in Breckenridge, Texas back in 1927. In 1928, the station moved to Abilene. Then, in 1932, KFYO made the Hub City home. "That was a huge deal for Lubbock back then, you know, KFYO being the first broadcast media outlet in Lubbock," Snyder said.
The station broadcast the first-ever radio broadcast of a Texas Tech football game in 1934, but program Snyder says May 11, 1970 is the station's most important day. KFYO was and still is Lubbock's FEMA station; they broadcast continually before, during, and after the Lubbock tornado with the help of backup generators for the station and transmitter. "The biggest thing I would say is the sense of responsibility and history," Snyder said.
Lubbock television got its start in 1952. "Well, it was rather hectic. TV, of course, I had no background in that. Nobody in Lubbock had much background. There was one other station here. It was KDUB which later became KLBK, had been here about a year," KCBD-TV's First News Director Charlie R. Hutcheson said.
KDUB-TV got up and running in 1952. KCBD-TV began in 1953, moving from their radio headquarters downtown, to the station's current home on Avenue A.
"We had the TV newscasts just at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., the same schedule they follow now. Radio newscasts started at 7 a.m. and went around until 12 a.m. So, there was spot news all around the clock," Hutcheson said.
Hutcheson says back then everything happened at the station. "We had no connection with the national networks as far as transmission, no remotes, no video, it was very much just a studio operation," Hutcheson said.
NewsChannel 11 is the first station to broadcast in color, and the first station broadcast a digital signal, and in true High Definition. "It's just so much more advanced now," Hutcheson said.
While so much has changed, Hutcheson says there are still some similarities. "Maybe the panic around the studio when there's a misfire; that will always be the same, I think, in a news operation," Hutcheson said.
As we look towards the future, the Big Switch is just on the horizon. All television stations will switch to a digital signal in February 2009. Radio stations are also moving to HD signals. Right now, KOHM is the only HD radio station in Lubbock.
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By now you've probably heard about digital television. You know that local TV stations around the country are transitioning to digital TV. But you might not know what that means for you.