If you’re traveling through Arkansas, you might want to stop and take a photo at an old, abandoned Arkansas radio station from the 1940s, just off Highway 67 in Newport.
That’s exactly what the Abandoned Urbex Canada team did on a recent visit and you won’t believe what they discovered on a walking tour with local historian Gage. According to Gage, KNBY and KOKR were built around 1949 and operated until 2004 when they were permanently discontinued.
It operated as both an AM and FM radio station and in 2012 KOKR moved to a newer building across the street. Radio station stickers were all the rage back then, I think I still have an old Y-102 sticker somewhere in my closet. Y-102 is now Kicker 102.5 Texarkana, the radio station I worked for at the time and now it’s Kick 102.5, talk about closing the loop.
The radio station had a very interesting historical past with artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and Elvis Presley stopping in for a tour and performing on the rooftop and at the nearby bar for the residents who lived there at the time. Elvis was banned from performing just down the street in Batesville for being wild and rowdy and agitating teenage girls into a frenzy.
Conway Twitty, originally from Arkansas, used to hang out there with other artists and they would drink until the wee hours of the night. The bar they performed in is said to have burned down in the 1970s and all that remains is that parking lot where it once stood.
When the radio station was abandoned, just about everything remained in the building, including records, cassettes, reel-to-reel recorders, the control panel with an old pair of headphones, and even the old transmitters and the radio tower.
One of the strangest stories about the radio station is that of a man who stands in front of the radio station at dusk and dawn and some people heard music coming from inside the building in approaching the building.
If you’re a broadcaster like me or a former broadcaster, you can appreciate this nostalgia that brings to life an era that was called the golden age of radio. But anyone who loves history will enjoy a trip back in time when radio was king of the airwaves.
The radio station was known for playing gospel and country music, in fact, here’s an old poster of country trio SheDaisy still hanging on the wall in the late 90s.
If these old walls could talk, can you imagine the stories?
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