KTVT has a very long and distinguished history in the DFW area.
The station was the fourth one to sign on the air on September 11, 1955.
Sid Richardson, an eccentric oil billionaire from Fort Worth, signed it on under the call letters KFJZ-TV. Founded by the Texas State Network, its sister radio stations were KFJZ 1270AM (now KFLC) and KFJZ-FM 97.1 (now KEGL-FM). In 1960, the station was sold to NAFI Telecasting Company who changed the call letters to KTVT.
In 1962, the Oklahoma Publishing Company, run by Edward K. Gaylord and his son, Edward L. Gaylord, purchased the station for around $5 million. The Gaylords owned The Daily Oklahoman, the largest and most powerful newspaper in Oklahoma. They also owned a number of network affiliated TV stations but KTVT was its first independent.
The story, as told to me by my good friend Glenn Stinchcomb (retired VP/Treasurer for Oklahoma Publishing), was that once the station was acquired, young Mr. Gaylord (who ran the broadcast division for his father) could not find anyone within the company to go run KTVT. His existing general manager’s didn’t want to touch an independent station. But that changed quickly.
In Oklahoma City, a man named Jim Terrell, who had been a newscaster on Gaylord’s WKY Radio and TV, and then later as General Sales Manager of WKY TV, stepped up and said he would love to run KTVT. From 1962 until 1978, Jim ran one of the most prolific and successful independent stations in the country. Under Terrell’s leadership, the station had a 15 minute local newscast at 10pm with one anchor in Dallas and one in Fort Worth. The station ran a 9pm movie, stopped the movie for the newscast, and then returned to the movie! The station started one of the early forms of morning news in a show Reveille with programming director Bill Camfield as its host.
In Part 2, we will talk about some of the successful entertainment and sports programming that put KTVT on the national map and its days of being owned by Gaylord Entertainment Company
See you next time!