KTVT has a rich history going back to the day when an eccentric oil millionaire named Sid Richardson flipped the switch on its transmitter on September 11, 1955 and signed it on as KFJZ-TV (the KTVT call letter came a few years later).
When Oklahoma millionaire Edward L. Gaylord purchased the station in 1962, the biggest problem he had was finding someone to run it. None of the other Gaylord Broadcasting general managers wanted to touch it. Run an independent station and leave a network affiliated station? Oh Heaven forbid that!! But there was someone that wanted it and as they say, “the rest is history”.
Jim Terrell, who was the General Sales Manager and previously a newscaster/sportscaster at Gaylord’s WKY-AM and WKY-TV (WKY TV is now KFOR-TV, the NBC station in Oklahoma City), pitched the job and Mr. Gaylord hired him. From 1962-1978, Jim was the General Manager and literally put KTVT on the national map as one of the most successful independent TV stations in the United States. Jim later became President of Gaylord Broadcasting until his retirement and subsequent death in 1992. Jim was the man who built KTVT.
There are many things that made KTVT great but I will mention only one here. Back in the 1960’s, the station ran a 9pm movie scheduled for two hours. However, at 10pm, the station would stop the movie and do a 15 minute newscast with an anchor in Fort Worth and one in Dallas, a meteorologist, and a sportscaster. While Channels 4, 5, and 8 gave the viewers a full 30 minutes, Channel 11 did it in 15 minutes. When the news was over, the station returned to the movie at the point where it left off and aired the remaining part until 11pm. It worked like a charm!! People didn’t mind having the movie interrupted for a “quick look” at the news. And Channel 11, along with Channel 8, owned all of the great movie titles for over three decades.
When I was with KDFW/KDFI, we were running an occasional prime movie in the late 1990’s and on one night where a movie was scheduled, a Presidential address was also scheduled. I was asked by my boss to air the President on KDFI as well as KDFW. I thought to myself, “How am I going to deal with the movie?”. My love of the history of broadcasting served me well because I had an answer within a few minutes: do what Channel 11 did with the 9pm movie in the 60s! The movie we aired was a Don Knotts comedy and easy to deal with on rejoining. We started the movie, ran an announcement that we would return to movie after the Presidential Address, aired the President, and returned to the movie where we left off. When the ratings came out the next day, our plan worked! And not one complaint from a viewer!
It is said that history repeats itself… and it did that night, some 30 years after Jim Terrell was running KTVT.
See you next time.
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