Home Page

COBWEB CORNERS: From radio to TV in early '50s Colorado Springs

By Mel McFarland

       I found a story in the newspapers from 1938 that said television was coming, but it would not cause any problems for movie companies. Oh my, if they only knew. It got me to thinking about Colorado Springs in the early 1950s, and television.
       Colorado Springs at the time had only two radio stations. My family liked KRDO. It was newer than KVOR, which had started in the 1920s. In the morning, KRDO had the same kind of programs that many stations still have. The time slot is often called "early morning drive."
       Back then a car radio was a luxury, and radios were mainly in homes. Hard to imagine, but we listened to the radio in the morning and evenings, and did other things at the same time, like reading. In the morning, we got ready for school or work and had breakfast while we listened.
       KRDO had a program called "Yawn Patrol." There were several voices on the program. I remember Wes Bradley and Kenny Randall were on it. They often had guests, usually advertising, as I know now. They would occasionally play music, but it was often something comical. A popular song at the time was "Purple People Eater."
       When KRDO got the OK to open a television station, Wes Bradley was chosen to host one of their only programs. They were only on for a couple hours a day at first. There were few television sets in town at the time, and all you got was something called a "test pattern" most of the time.
       Comically, Bradley spent a lot of time talking, but he also started building a TV set. It started with a wooden box and a selection of strange parts, not that it would actually work!
       We would listen to KRDO radio in the morning, so why not watch its TV shows in the evening? The station was in its "new" building on Eighth Street. KKTV, the other station, was in the old streetcar building on south Tejon.

(Posted 11/22/16; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

       Would you like to respond to this column? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)