Lubbock, TX - Looking back at how KLBK got started 65 years ago is so interesting.
Television Pioneer and our founder, W.D. "Dub" Rogers, said in an interview back in the 80's, "very few people out here had seen television, until I brought it here. Probably only eight or ten people." As smaller cities like Lubbock were still listening to news on the radio. Rogers says, "Channel 13 here in Lubbock of course it was called KDUB then and now it's KLBK. This was the first station in the world in a medium sized market. I led the way."
On November 13, 1952, KDUB went on the air downtown in the tallest building in Lubbock which was Lubbock National Bank at the time, because Rogers wanted the station up and running as soon as possible. Construction crews worked while everyone slept to get the top two floors ready and at the last minute installed the 202 foot antenna. It was of the utmost secrecy so people in Lubbock could be surprised. Rogers said, "you gotta remember we did a lot of the preparation like cutting the hole, we cut it from underneath and we put that antenna up at night." The night of the opening, five thousand people showed up to watch history in the making, "Dub" says, "I wanted the people to turn on their own television station. You're going to pull the switch, so I said all of you that want to get on that rope, that rope runs about four city blocks, and I said when I drop the flashlight that will be the time to pull the rope. The station went on."
The video was grainy or had snow in it as they called it, there were no computers and no teleprompters. News was typed on a typewriter, and delivered by a news announcer. While KDUB operated out of the Lubbock National Bank building they were quickly building the studio we now call home. Opening night of the studio on 74th and College Ave now 74th and S. University was celebrated on March 27, 1953 by hosting crowds of people to "Television City". The lines were very long with people waiting to get a peek of the Television Station.
Everyone who attended that day was greeted by W.D. "Dub" Rogers and got a tour of the station. Seeing everything from the studio cameras to where the news came in.
The way we saw news then was in still photos aired on TV. Then the black and white video and in the 1960's the color video. Announcers did Local news, National News, Sports and Weather. We have come a long way since 1952...from the studio cameras, the sets, our vehicles and live trucks and from the way video is shot and edited. And our advertisers are probably pretty excited they don't have to come in and do their commercials live during the break.
KDUB was of the mindset that they served their community. They supported the KDUB Cubs Little League team, Broadcast the First Live Church Service, hosted many Local and National talent with the many worthy causes at the time. The March of Dimes Telethon, The Polio Telethon, and the Olds-A-Thon.
The list of stars that appeared on the set at the time read like a who's who of Hollywood. Stars like Vaudevillian and Comedians Andy and Kingfish entertained viewers.
KDUB was bough by Grayson Enterprises in 1961 and the call letters were changed to KLBK as they remain today. The history will never be forgotten and we will continue to be here for the people of the South Plains.
So Cheers to 65 years and to many more.
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