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Dennis McCuistion and Bob Allen

Allen Joins McCuistion on PBS’s KERA-TV

Bob Allen has done just about everything during his career in radio and television. In the 1966, Allen was a talkshow host on KCUL Radio in Fort Worth. His nightly program featured a broad spectrum of guests. But none got more attention than the night Marguerite Oswald, the mother of alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, came to the studio to talk with Allen and take calls from listeners.

Although Mrs. Oswald was very visible in the media defending her son, it is thought that Bob Allen's talkshow may have been the only one she did with listener participation.

Allen decided to record the show that night, something he rarely did. But her knew this night would be special. That recording—fours hours in all—is the subject of an episode of "McCuistion," the PBS KERA-TV program hosted by Pottsboro resident Dennis McCuistion.

In February, Bob Allen sat in a television studio in Dallas and spoke with McCuistion on the record about the night he hosted Marguerite Oswald on his show on KCUL radio.

Marguerite Oswald

The Lee Harvey Oswald Family at the suspect's funeral. Marguerite Oswald is second from right.

A brief backstage look on the set of KERA-TV’s McCuistion interview program.

1947: Where It All Began

On Thursday, December 18, 1947, on page 16 of the Sherman Democrat newspaper, a new radio  heralded its beginnings in a full-page advertisement with the headline: "Here Is An Event for Which You Have Long Been Waiting." The owners, Joe Carroll and Elmer Scarborough, were proud of their investment, even though they sold the station just a year later.

Staffing Up

Louise CoblerOtis McKenzie was announced as station manager of the new radio station in Sherman. McKenzie was already known in the area for his work at KRRV-AM, also licensed to the town. In the front office, Louise Cobler as program/traffic manager, commercial writer and program producer. Sue Hill was the station's accountant, receptionist and stenographer. Remember this was 70-plus years ago.

Bill Collins was named staff announcer and music librarian; Bill Jaco, production manager and part time announcer; Stafford Davis and Paul Phillips handled technical duties and keep the equipment operating.

"Nothing has been spared to make your new Radio Station one of the finest of its kind on the air."

The program schedule noted that 1500-AM would present a full-day's offering. As a daytime broadcast station, that meant from 7:30 am until sunset each day. And while a listing of programs was printed, the ad also warned that "This is the program that will be followed for the time being. Changes will be announced in the Democrat as they occur."

Although the station will offer a large variety of carefully selected programs, its music will be principally of the recoded type which is universally accepted as the finest sort to be had."

Monday through Saturday, morning began with "An Ear for Corn," followed by "Time Out for Sports," at noon the "Farm to Market Report," then later in the day "Adventures in Jazz," then ending the day at 4:35 pm with 40 minutes of "Campus Classics."

Proud of the Record Library

Bill CollinsThe radio station was proud of its record library. Shelves loaded with mostly 78-RPM discs and a few transcriptions discs. The first long-play album did not arrive on the scene until the next year, in 1948. Transcription discs were huge—16-inches in diameter—compared to the 12-inch that we know as a 33 1/3-RPM LP.

The ad in the Sherman Democrat boasted "More than 5,000 records are included in our Record Library which will open up to you a vast field of entertainment from the finest artists on earth."

Looking Forward

Grayson County was created from Fannin County by the Texas State Legislature on March 17, 1846, just over 100 years before 1500-AM went on the air that December.

The county's population was at 70,000-plus in 1947, Sherman counted just under 20,000, and Denison tallied approximately 17,000 residents. For a growing population, the radio station joined others that were already serving the community.

 

 

 

Survey Says! KJIM Tops with Adults

Most of us know that Grayson County, Texas has one of the highest per capita populations of older adults. And why not? We are centrally-located in the U.S., with moderate temperatures, near major cities, and on the shores of Lake Texoma's outdoor recreation paradise.

So, it's no surprise that KJIM Radio's mix of America's Best Music and nostalgic features attracts adult radio listeners. In fact, in a recent survey of radio listening, KJIM was rated number one with adults 35+.

For over 20 years, KJIM has focused on creating a radio station you can depend on for familiar music, more local news than any other radio station on air, and involvement in community events.

Thanks for voting KJIM Radio number one on your radio.

Bob Allen is Living the Dream

Broadcast Tower
The FM antenna is mounted atop a tower that rises 370-feet above ground.

Since December 9, 1947, 1500 AM has been broadcasting on the AM radio dial, in one form or another.

It was Sherman’s first commercial broadcast station. Its original programming was classical music and the radio station, over the years, offered a variety of formats. Now, 70 years later, KJIM-AM’s sister station KJIM-FM, is the area’s newest radio station at 101.3 on the dial.

KJIM-AM’s signal can be heard across North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. The new FM signal at 101.3 covers a 40-mile radius from its 370-ft tower in Denison on Texoma Parkway just north FM 691.

KJIM-AM and FM are owned and operated by Bob Allen. He bought KJIM-AM in 1995, and invested time and money improving the facility’s technical standards and experimenting with different programming formats. In the end, he settled on an eclectic mix of popular music from the charts as far back as the 1950s. That “nostalgia” format, that Allen dubbed “The Memory Maker,” has successfully attracted a loyal adult audience for over 20 years.

Big Dreams Come True

“I always dreamed of owning my own radio station. In fact, as a child spending summers at our family’s vacation home on Lake Texoma in the 1950s, I listened to 1500 AM when we were on the lake. Who could imagine that one day I would own it,” said Allen.

“I always dreamed of owning my own radio station."

For Bob Allen, running his radio stations is more than a full-time job. His day starts at 2:30 a.m. and ends most days about 8:00 p.m. The schedule is 7 days a week and requires him to be on the air more than 5 hours each day.

“My biggest job—and greatest pleasure—is preparing and reading the news. I am proud of the fact my radio station concentrates on local news, local events, and supporting the many projects of non-profit organizations in the community,” said Allen. KJIM has the most locally-produced news and weather on the local radio dial, with newscasts at 6:45 a.m., 7:45 a.m., 8:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. He also supervises the extended news broadcast from CBS Radio at 5:00 p.m.

“Having CBS Radio News at the top of every hour gives us access to national and world events, and we also run the commentaries from the legendary Charles Osgood.”

Getting a license for a FM radio signal in a market the size of Texoma is difficult. New allocations for FM frequencies are rare.  There are few available channels on the dial in a growing area like Grayson County, particularly when it is adjacent to a major metropolitan area. Allen got his latest license because of a landmark ruling in 2015, by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) titled The AM Revitalization Act.

The act allows AM broadcast radio stations that are limited to daytime service to apply for an additional license to simulcast its AM programming on a low-power FM channel if one is available. Since 1947, 1500-AM has been limited to operating during daytime hours only, with 1,000 watts of power.

Allen’s application for the FM station was filed in 2016.

Allen’s application for the FM station was filed over a year ago, shortly after the government announced that the revitalization ruling was in effect. “I know that I was one of the first group of independent broadcasters to request the add-on signal, and in the scheme of things, it is probably one of the fastest turnarounds I have experienced with the FCC,” said Allen.

On the Cutting Edge of Top 40 Radio

Bob Allen, has been in the radio business since the 1950s when he was hired at age 16 as a disc jockey at KTOK-AM, Oklahoma City. Still in high school, Allen admits he was fortunate to enter the radio industry at a time of major change in how radio stations were programming.

“My high school operated a non-commercial, educational, radio station on campus and it was there my interest was stimulated,” recalls Allen. “It seemed like a great way to make some money and be popular with the girls!”

Typical 1950s radio satudio
A typical 1950s-era radio station studio.

The idea of playing rock ‘n’ roll records exclusively was a radical concept when Allen began his career. “Pioneers like Todd Storz in Omaha and Gordon McLendon in Dallas were beginning to experiment with a top-40 format that played a short list of hit songs, mixed with personalities, heavy on-air promotion and contests, and a much faster pace overall,” Allen recalls.

The idea of playing rock ‘n’ roll records exclusively was a radical concept when Allen began his career.

Three years into his radio career, Allen began to hear rumors about a revolutionary format that would appeal to the millions of baby boomers entering their teen years.

“The general manager of the radio station called me in to tell me that a consultant from New York would be sitting with me on the night shift teaching me how to run a new style of program. That was when I first learned about Top 40 radio and I absolutely loved it!”

Over the next few years, Allen moved from one station to another in the growing Oklahoma City market making a name for himself as a reliable employee with a dynamic personality that attracted young listeners. He learned the ins-and-outs, ups-and-downs of a competitive industry and he managed to stay on top of the ratings and always moving forward. But not everything worked out as expected.

In 1961, Bob Allen accepted a job at KRMG-AM, Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a dream come true for the young man who had grown up listening to the powerful radio station and thinking that one day, he would sit in that studio and play records for an audience that covered most of Oklahoma and parts of Texas. But, not all dreams unfold as expected.

Just as Allen moved to Tulsa, the radio station changed its programming and moved away from its Top 40 format. “Instead of playing Chuck Berry records, I was now playing The Mills Brothers and Patti Page. It wasn’t the dream scenario I imagined,” Allen remembers.

Allen did his time in Tulsa, but at the first opportunity returned to Oklahoma City and KTOK-AM to lick his wounds and regain his confidence. “As lucky as my life has been, the KRMG-AM episode was devastating and it took me a while to get back on my feet,” said Allen.

Reestablishing himself in the Oklahoma City market and with his now-honed skills in the emerging Top 40 format, Bob Allen found his career back on track. Then, KXOL-AM in Fort Worth came calling.

“It was very difficult for me to leave Oklahoma City that second time,” Allen remembers. “The Tulsa disaster was still on my mind, but the radio business is fickle. Not everything revolves around ratings. If a radio property is sold, it can mean a complete change of format and personnel.”

KXOL-AM was owned by Wendell Mayes, Sr., another broadcast pioneer, who Allen admired. “As nervous as I was, with a wife and three kids, it felt like an opportunity I could not pass up. After much back and forth, they agreed to pay me more money than I had ever made and pay for my move. A week later I was on the air in Fort Worth,” said Allen.

Today, Allen credits the move to Fort Worth as a life-changing event.

Today, Allen credits the move to Fort Worth as a life-changing event. It was there he proved his talent and learned how to navigate the complex world of corporate broadcasting. And it was there that he realized the real money to be made was in sales.

“KFJZ-AM was looking for a sales representative and it was time for me to make a move,” recalls Allen. Over the next few years, Allen excelled in his new position and built a strong advertiser base for the radio station.

Later, Allen started a small advertising agency and signed clients like Tandy Corporation’s RadioShack, ColorTile, and the McDavid automotive dealerships. It was for the McDavid family that Allen built the Widetrack brand. It was Allen’s pet Great Dane that played the role of Widetrack and became a star on Dallas-Fort Worth television with commercials Bob Allen wrote and produced.

Still building on a 60-plus year career in media, Bob Allen is still enthusiastic about his life’s work. “How lucky am I, to have had a successful run on radio and television, and now my own radio stations, where I can program exactly the music, news, and features that please me?” asks Allen.

Early to bed. Very, very, early to rise makes Bob Allen a happy man.

FCC Grants KJIM License for New FM

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on March 16, 2016, approved a translator license for Bob Mark Allen Productions, Inc. (owner of KJIM-AM) to operate a new transmitter broadcasting on the FM band at 101.3. One year later, the new radio signal went on the air. The new radio station allows KJIM Radio’s programming to be heard up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The new radio station allows KJIM-AM’s programming to be heard up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

KJIM-AM at 1500 on the AM radio dial has been in continuous operation since December 19, 1947 and has been owned and operated by Bob Allen since September 1995. The government’s issuance of the FM signal recognizes the significant value of the radio station’s service in the community, by licensing additional space on the radio dial to continue its programming, day and night.

Assignment of FM translator is Part of FCC’s AM Revitalization Act

The translator license authorizes KJIM’s owner to broadcast from an antenna located in Sherman, Texas.  The maximum effective radiated power permitted for any translator station is 250 watts Translator stations simultaneously rebroadcast the signal of a primary AM or FM station on a different frequency. An FM translator that is authorized to rebroadcast an AM daytime-only station may continue to transmit programming when the AM station is off the air for the night.

KJIM-FM signal coverage

Why KJIM-AM Goes Off at Sunset

Many AM radio stations are required by the FCC’s rules to reduce their power or cease operating at night in order to avoid interference to other AM stations.

FCC rules governing the daytime and nighttime operation of AM radio stations are a consequence of the laws of physics.  Because of the way in which the relatively long wavelengths (see Footnote 1) of AM radio signals interact with the ionized layers of the ionosphere miles above the earth’s surface, the propagation of AM radio waves changes drastically from daytime to nighttime.

This change in AM radio propagation occurs at sunset due to radical shifts in the ionospheric layers, which persist throughout the night.

During daytime hours when ionospheric reflection does not occur to any great degree, AM signals travel principally by conduction over the surface of the earth.  This is known as “groundwave” propagation.  Useful daytime AM service is generally limited to a radius of no more than about 100 miles (162 km), even for the most powerful stations.

Want to learn more? Click here

A Visit to the Lucky Me Ranch

With so much stress over our country’s situation, it’s nice to have a little happy, and you’ve got to be happy around goats and Western music,” said Waynetta Ausmus. “Goats will make you laugh, and Western music will make you tap your feet.”
Waynetta Ausmus

Ausmus and the goats and the Western music do their thing in a neat little house sitting on seven acres surrounded by soybeans, at the end, the very end, of a gravel road between Tom Bean and Whitewright.

While the goats pretty much take care of themselves, Ausmus slips into the back bedroom she’s turned into a recording studio and cranks out a weekly radio program, heard every Sunday, 10am-11am on KJIM AM 1500.

“Storytime,” has been running on KJIM AM 1500 for nearly fifteen years and is sponsored by Six & Mango Kubota in Sherman, Frisco and Grand Prairie.

“The show features Western music, Western swing, cowboy music and poetry, storytelling, celebrity interviews, and a feature called ‘Everyday Cowboy,'” said Ausmus.

The cowboy connection came naturally for Ausmus, who grew up riding horses and listening to her granddad tell stories on the front porch in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

After college, she worked at the FBI headquarters in Washington. “I met J. Edgar Hoover once.

After college, she worked at the FBI headquarters in Washington, and then moved to Texas and became a teacher. “I met J. Edgar Hoover once,” she said. “We passed each other in the hall one morning. I said, ‘Good morning, Mr. Hoover,’ and he said,‘Good morning,’ and that was that. I’ve never figured out how to work that into a story.”

After more than twenty years with the Mesquite schools as a teacher and then an elementary school principal, Ausmus retired, moved to McKinney, and found a new calling. “I went to the state storytelling festival in Denton one year and just fell in love with all the storytelling. I thought this is what I want to do.”
Texas Storytelling AssnAnd so she did, telling stories to anyone who wanted to listen. She worked schools and libraries, got on the touring artist roster with the Texas Commission for the Arts, worked with the state’s Educational Service Center, and in time,joined the board of directors of the Texas State Storytelling Association, Tejas.

Somewhere along the line, she met another storyteller, Marvin Brown. They got married and moved to a ranch she named the “Lucky Me” near Hagerman Wildlife Refuge, where they lived with a menagerie of horses, goats, llamas, chickens, longhorns, dogs and cats.

Marvin Brown was the one who decided Waynetta ought to be on the radio. He approached KJIM owner Bob Allen, pitched the idea and found a sponsor, and it was a done deal. Marvin passed in 2011.

Ausmus has fans in Singapore, Australia, and Europe via her Internet radio show. Anyone who recognizes the image of the American cowboy, and that’s just about the whole world, is a potential listener. And that’s a lot of folks who need a little happy.

You can send email to Waynetta here.

Storytime Radio's Waynetta

FCC logo

AM Radio Revitalization Act

The changes here at KJIM Radio, the addition of a full time, day-and-night signal on the FM dial at 101.3, are a result of a ruling two years ago by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s AM Revitalization Act.

KJIM Radio on FM

Perhaps the most exciting opportunity for KJIM listeners comes two-fold:

  1. The ability to hear the same great programming on the FM radio dial;
  2. Being able to listen to KJIM day and night.

Since the beginning, KJIM-AM 1500 has been a  daytime radio station. The addition of a new FM dial position, after the KJIM-AM transmitter goes off at local sunset (the time varies through the year), you can now switch over to FM to continue listening to the same programming.

Longer Broadcast Hours on AM

Another part of the FCC’s AM Radio Service Revitalization rules could allow KJIM-AM 1500 to broadcast longer. Rather than turn-off the transmitter at local sunset, KJIM-AM 1500 would remain on the air for as long as it wants. But that is in the future and not being considered any time soon due to cost.

“No other radio station in Texoma offers the amount of locally-produced news and regional weather,” says Allen. “Duplicating our programming on the FM radio channel, gives listeners an option for static-free, higher-quality sound that can run day and night,” said Allen.