The author spent 30 years in Radio/TV Journalism, 6 of those years with CBS News. His story begins with the hard to get 'first job' and goes all the way to the network in New York City. Every station has its story and they are all here from the beginning to the end.
KWED gave me the experience that I needed and every day was an adventure for me. Whenever state or national politicians came to town I got the assignment to cover it, and I never complained. When the politicians were at a banquet that meant a free meal for me so I never turned down the opportunity. Texas Lieutenant-Governor Ben Barnes came to Seguin and was going to speak at the conference center on the campus of Texas Lutheran College. It was a Saturday afternoon affair and I arrived with my three-channel board and hooked up one microphone at the podium and another to a nearby table where I would be eating. KWED was going to carry Barnes‟ speech live and he was suppose to take the podium at 1:10. I went on the air at exactly one o‟clock and it was the longest ten minutes in my life. I relayed every known fact about Ben Barnes and his career that I could gather. The president of the Chamber of Commerce was also introducing Barnes to the attendees at the conference center and when he finally got to the introduction I did the same. It came off fairly well and the Chief was pleased with the outcome.
Another time in an U.S. Senatorial race, Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush was running against incumbent Senator Ralph Yarborough. I actually crossed the path of Senator Yarborough six years prior. On November 22, 1963 Yarborough was two cars behind President John Kennedy as his motorcade made its way down Main Street in downtown Dallas. Just two blocks before making the right turn onto Houston Street I was in the crowd to see JFK. The motorcade would travel one block and then turn left onto Elm Street and be right in front of the Texas Schoolbook Depository. Gary Nay and I had cut classes at Arlington State College to drive into downtown Dallas to see the President. After the motorcade had passed us we returned to
the car and were headed back to the Oak Cliff suburb when we heard the news over the radio that the President had just been shot.
Both Yarborough and Bush came to Guadalupe County and both made stops at the studios of KWED. Faye Cheshire did the interview with Yarborough and I agreed to handle the Bush interview. This is the man that would soon be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Vice-President of the United States, and ultimately, the 41st President. He was the challenger for this job and I asked him why he would be the better choice for the senate seat. He obviously knew how to handle radio interviews as most of his answers were in the twenty-second sound bite format. One of the main points he kept stressing was, „Texas has not had good leadership from this Senate seat in over a decade.‟ Bush pronounced the word „decade‟ as if it would rhyme with naked. As soon as he departed the studios I made my way to the Webster‟s dictionary and sure enough he had the first preference pronunciation for the word. For the next couple of weeks every time I could work the word into a news story I pronounced it as Bush had. Finally it got to the Chief. He took me to coffee and said, „You know it‟s right and I know it‟s right..but we are surrounded by a bunch of South Texans that don‟t know it and they think we are crazy. Needless to say, I went back to pronouncing it deck-aid. If you can‟t beat „em…join „em.
In the spring of 1970 KWED got approval from the Federal Communication Commission to put a „Class C‟ FM Radio Station on the air. We had consultants from Austin and San Antonio come in to help with the construction of the studio and the erection of the antenna. The FM would be completely in English and more of the broadcast day of the AM would be devoted to Spanish. The FM would also be completely in stereo. The Chief told me to go through the entire record library and if a song was not in stereo, „throw it in the dumpster.‟ When I asked if I could keep them and he
gave me the okay. I now have a great collection of 1940‟s and 1950‟s music from Sarah Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, and other great vocal artists. All of them in High Fidelity, but not Stereo. The FM control room would become the main studio and when the AM was in English it would simply duplicate the programming of the FM. The new signal was stronger and clearer than the AM and now KWED-FM could be heard from north of Austin to south of San Antonio. This is not to say that our AM was powerless. The AM transmitter was one-thousand watts of power and once we gave away an AM-FM-Record Player console to the listener that wrote in from the farthest point from Seguin and could prove they heard our signal. The winner was a missionary in Ghana, Africa. This was due to the effect of AM being able to bounce the signal off the atmosphere and FM will not do this. It cost three times as much to ship the stereo console to Africa as it did to buy it. The Chief was not real keen on promotions after that one.