On its 87th birthday, “The Voice of Longview” will hit the airwaves with a new owner and a new format.
“It’s been on the air since 1935,” said Scott Rice, a longtime and avid radio professional who now owns FM 95.7/AM 1370.
At 8 p.m. Sunday, he’ll relaunch the station with a new format — exactly what comes as a surprise to listeners, he said, and he’ll do it with plenty of nods to the first station’s history. radio from Longview. (Read more about KFRO’s history in this 2011 column by former News-Journal history columnist Van Craddock.)
In fact, it will broadcast from what was once the living room of KFRO founder JR Curtis, which is attached to the land where the stations’ radio towers are located. He owns both properties.
“This is where I’m supposed to be,” he said last week as he showcased the studio he set up with pieces of broadcast equipment he rescued from other radio stations. “I fell in love with it as soon as I walked on the property.”
A nearby shelf contains a few iconic KFRO pieces – an advertising clock which is said to have been used to list the programs broadcast that day and a radio which looks like a microphone which was used for the station’s promotional material. He only plays KFRO, Rice said.
The Curtis family owned the station for many years, until Curtis’ son JR Curtis Jr. sold it in 1998. The eldest Curtis and his son have since died.
The station has changed hands and formats several times since then, with Rice cutting the signal for a few months when he bought it, then airing the Galaxy Nostalgia Network’s “Galaxy Moonbeam Nightsite” — a nostalgia talk show — ever since. approximately 2017. After Sunday, this program will continue to air between 9 p.m. and midnight on Sundays.
“I was trying to get a nostalgic feel for the station,” he said, to remind people what KFRO was.
The station will also return to using the term “The Voice of Longview” to advertise itself.
“It hasn’t been called that since the Curtis sold it,” he said. “It’s important to connect it to the town of Longview because it’s been gone for so long.”
“Everyone should know that this is really a Longview station,” he said, adding that other television and radio stations had moved their base of operations out of town. .
Radios and other gear he’s collected over the years fill the studio and another room in his house. Each coin has a story of how he got it.
During the holidays, the station played Christmas music.
He said that on Sunday he and Gilbert Smith, host of Galaxy Moonbeam Nightsite, will host a show at 8 p.m. about the history and future of KFRO. Then the station will switch to its new format.
“I wanted to make sure everything was okay before I started,” Rice said.