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Brief History Of DFW’s Crowded Media Market

By Ken Foote, KTVT Director of Programming
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1b ashx1 Brief History Of DFWs Crowded Media Market

The final issue of the Dallas Times Herald. (Credit: Ken Foote/KTVT)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – We all know that, prior to radio and television coming on to the American scene, newspapers were the dominant medium for delivering news to the public and in share of advertising dollars.

In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, there were four main newspapers when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60s: The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Times Herald, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the Fort Worth Press.

I remember that my parents took both a morning and afternoon paper. My brother Myrph and I had a summer paper route for the Dallas Times Herald back in the late 1960s! We sure did get a lot of newsprint on our clothes and bodies!

Because newspapers were so dominant back then, radio and TV stations depended on them for news content. They also branded their stations in the promotion with them as well.

In some pictures taken in 1963 of a remote truck belonging to WFAA-TV Channel 8 (which was really a bus!), you could see not only the Channel 8 logo but the position line, “Television Service Of The Dallas Morning News”

On legal IDs on KRLD-TV Channel 4 (now KDFW FOX 4), the copy for the announcer read, “K-R-L-D TV, Channel 4, Dallas/Fort Worth, The Times Herald Station!”. Both Dallas newspapers had their offices and operation right next to their TV cousins. In Fort Worth, WBAP-TV Channel 5 (now KXAS NBC5) was the TV service of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Amon Carter family.

But as time went on with media owners having a newspaper and an AM-FM-TV broadcast combination, the Federal Communications Commission issued rulings dealing with cross-ownership of media. Fearing too much control of the flow of information, the FCC ruled that an entity could not own a newspaper and a broadcast facility in the same market.

AH Belo Corporation, which owned WFAA AM-FM-TV and the Dallas Morning News, was grandfathered by this rule (Belo later sold WFAA-AM/FM and are now KLIF-AM, owned by Cumulus Media, and KBFB-FM, owned by Radio One). The Times Mirror Company sold KRLD-AM/FM and changed the call letters on Channel 4 to KDFW-TV (KRLD-AM is owned now by CBS Radio and the FM is now KZPS-FM, owned by Clear Channel).

The Carters, who were not grandfathered, sold out totally and today WBAP-AM/FM is owned by Cumulus Media, KXAS is owned by Comcast, and the Star-Telegram is owned by McClatchey Newspapers.

Two newspapers were either bought out and merged into another one or went out of business. Belo purchased The Dallas Times Herald and shut it down. The Fort Worth Press ceased operations on their own.

See you next time.

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