My San Antonio Radio Memories

In 1957, my beginning days of broadcast radio, I took a job with Sound Distributors. Hired by Charles Balthrope owner of KITE-AM, KEEZ-FM and KAML-AM Radio stations. Sound Distributors was the company using KEEZ to deliver background music to offices and businesses through out San Antonio (using a tone to control a relay on the receiver to block commercials).

Chief engineer John Sercovich had just installed a Sub Carrier (SCA) exciter in the FM transmitter using a 67 Kilocycle SCA for a second channel. A good receiver for the Sub Carrier was not available at that time for a decent cost. KEEZ enlisted a local engineer, James Hutchins, to design a converter to use with existing receivers. The design worked well and I was elected to build and install over 100 converters. KEEZ was one of the first FM stations to go on the air with a SCA in the country.

A year or so  later KITE and KEEZ moved from their St Cloud location to a location off Austin Highway, in Northeast San Antonio and were sold in 1958.

The sale of KITE caused KEEZ to move its transmitter site to the KWEX-TV building off St Mary's Street and to side mount the KEEZ transmitting antenna on the downtown KWEX-TV transmitter tower.

A couple of years later KEEZ moved it's transmitter site to the 28th floor of the Tower Life Building. We installed a new antenna on the pole previously used on the site by KENS-TV for their transmitting antenna.

The move went extremely well. We took the old KENS-TV bat wing antenna elements off the mast on the top of the building. We then made special brackets so we could mount the Gates (Harris) 8-Bay FM antenna using the old mast and transmission lines. There is a flat area on the 7th floor of the Tower Life Building. That is where we assembled the antenna and then raised it in one piece to the top of the building. We then bolted it to the 80 foot mast on top of the building. A few days later we made an overnight move of the transmitter to the new site.

I became Chief Engineer not only for KEEZ but also KAML (Karnes City/Kennedy.) They now purchased KZFM-FM in Corpus Christi. KZFM was off the air due to a shorted transmission line and a very OLD transmitter. I installed a new transmitter with a 67 Kilocycle SCA, repaired the transmission line and got the station back on the air with a new studio.

KAML had a fire caused by paper record jackets left on top of a tube intercom in the transmitter area. The fire was put out but the studio and transmitter were damaged. KITE had a 250 watt transmitter as a standby unit, we borrowed it, got a crystal for the KAML frequency and got KAML back on the air 2 days later. The town’s people came out and helped clean up the fire damaged building. They wanted their radio station back on the air. The place smelled of smoke for over a year.

KEEZ was the first Stereo Radio Station in San Antonio. Bob Marion and I did lots and lots of Stereo demostrations all around San Antonio. Local sound people were very happy. Bill Case and many others LOVED the stereo. One of the early KEEZ DJs was Bill Rohde...A young kid with a great voice and delivery.

I left KEEZ and Radio in 1967 to take a stab in Television.

To this day I still have many friends in Radio and Television all over the world. I have had a wonderful life filled with great people. God bless each and every one of my Radio and Television friends.    

Thank you very much for the ride     

Ed Shook

Editors Note: Ed’s Daughter Rebecca is the reason San Antonio Radio Memories exists. See Acknowledgements in the San Antonio Radio Memories book.

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Copyright 2019 by Ed Shook & – All Rights Reserved.