In October of 1954, a Construction Permit was approved by the Federal Communications Commission for Channel Seventeen in the Ultra High Frequency range. The license was granted to Tulsa oilman, Arthur R. Olson.1

Olson held the license until early in 1960. On February 20, 1960 Olson was given 30 days by the Commission in which to announce plans to build or to request an extension of time.2

Olson chose to surrender his Construction Permit and did so the following month. At that time Olson was a patient at a sanitarium in the northwest and was unable to perform the necessary functions pursuant to the station's operation. Olson is still hospitalized at this writing.3

Subsequently, the Channel Seventeen allocation has been removed from the Tulsa area and transferred to the Woodward, Oklahoma area by the Commission.4


1 Broadcasting Yearbook, op. cit., 1954.

2 Tulsa World, April 2, 1960.

3 Telephone conversation with Arthur P. Olson, Sr., March 18, 1967.

4 Letter from Ben F. Waple Secretary of the Federal Communications Commission, April 4, 1967.



Another UHF station that may soon be competing for the Tulsa market is station KWID. Unlike the other proposed UHF stations, KWID is not a Tulsa venture. The principals involved in this station reside outside the stats of Oklahoma.

KWID had been allocated by the FCC to operate on Channel Forty-One. However, this approval was recently reversed and the application is currently being restudied by the Commission.1 Preliminary plans had called for the station to be operational by February of 1968. The principals of the station are Robert M. Robbins and Harold Thurman of Miami, Florida, and David Landau of Boston, Massachusetts. The trio has formed the Beacon Television Corporation to operate the UHF station. Each of the men will own a one-third interest in the corporation, which is a stock company. Robbins will serve as president while his cousin, Harold Thurman, will function as vice-president. Landau will be secretary-treasurer of the corporation.2

These men are not novices in the television world. They are currently owner-operators of UHF station WHJR-TV in Clearwater, Florida. In addition, the group has also applied and been approved for UHF Channel Thirty-One in Denver, Colorado. As yet there has been no announcement of a tentative air-date for the Denver station.

The interests of the trio are wide-ranging and extensive. In addition to the three television stations listed above, the group also has holdings in commercial financing, electronics, instrument manufacturing, publishing, psychiatric clinics and acreage. The only one of the trio to have had previous broadcasting experience is Thurman, who at one time was a partner in radio station KOMA in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.3

The group has succeeded in every venture attempted to date. They feel exceptionally optimistic about chances for success in Tulsa. This prevailing mood or optimism led the Beacon Television Corporation to file a rare request. On October 13, 1966, the owners of KWID made a proposal to the FCC regarding the practicality of subscription television in the Tulsa market. The arguments listed by Beacon include the following:

1. Public would be more willing to pay for programs on a new station than from a station it was already receiving without charge.

2. Dollars from advertising would be scarce; therefore, revenue from subscriptions would be necessary to keep the station going.

3. Program choices could not increase on VHF stations with network affiliations.

4. Prospects of UHF would be enhanced if subscription revenues were available.

5. Hartford trial established fact that the public will pay for what they want to see.

6. UHF would definitely be a boon to minority audiences.

7. Only cost involved is the cost of presenting the program, which negates the need for seeking a mass audience.

8. A subscription program directed at a relatively small percentage of the community but susceptible of large national distribution would prove profitable to the local stations as it would not have to bear the production costs alone.

9. The station need not be 100 per cent subscription nor 100 per cent free. It can operate both ways in serving the community.

10. Subscription TV would supplement the local station programming, enabling it to attract a specialized audience.

11. Local station would have more control over programming.

12. The end result is to give the public a greater choice of viewing material.4

At this writing there has been no decision from the FCC on the feasibility of this proposed pian.

With or without subscription television, Robblns and his group feel that they will make a creditable showing before the first year of operation is complete. KWID estimates that over 5.5 million dollars are spent on television advertising in Tulsa. Of this amount they hope to obtain approximately 5.5 per cent, or in excess of $300,000. This would exceed operating costs and conceivably result in a profitable showing for the first year's business.5

The licensee feels that over 50 per cent of present receivers in Tulsa are equipped to carry the UHF signal. Those that are not so equipped can be converted for a much lower cost than the $30.00 average of 13 years ago.6

The group plans to program seven days a week from 4:57 P.M. until 11:10 P.M. Program fare will include syndicated films, classical music, syndicated comedies, live and syndicated sports coverage, educational shows, community forum programs, cartoons and a weekly foreign film festival. This format has proven successful in the Clearwater, Florida venture and with only a few changes should prove equally successful in Tulsa.7


1 Letter from Ben F. Waple. op. cit. (The FCC is questioning the financial qualifications of permittee Robert Robbins; the channel is open until the Commission has completed its study.)

2 Tulsa World, April 2, 1960.

3 Application form for Construction Permit, June 10, 1966.

4 Letter to FCC by Robert M. Robbins, October 13, 1966.

5 Application for Construction Permit, June 10, 1966.

6 Interview with Attorney Davidson, op. cit.

7 Letter from Robert M. Robbins, Permittee of KWID, March 8, 1967.



Awaiting word on its broadcast fate is KTOW, Inc. A Sand Springs entry, KTOW-TV is seeking an allocation for Channel Twenty-Nine in the UHF spectrum.

The group presently owns and operates an AM radio outlet in Sand Springs. The principals in the venture are L. M. (Jack) Beasley, Omer Thompson, Charles R. (Buddy) Powell, and M. A. Eichhorn.

Beasley and Thompson also own UHF television station KLPR-TV in Oklahoma City. Should approval of the application be granted, program material would be interchanged by the two sister stations. Eichorn has real estate holdings and is in the furniture business in Tulsa. Powell, the probable manager of the station, is currently general manager of KTOW-AM in Sand Springs.

If KTOW, Inc. is granted permission to erect the station, the site would be located in the northeast section of Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Land has been purchased near the intersection of Edison Road and 49th West Avenue. Blueprints show the studio and transmitter to be planned as one unit.1

Plans call for the station to originate programs in black and white. However, the facility will be equipped to transmit color programs, such as films and syndicated features.

The entrant's program schedule lists an eight-and-one-half-hour broadcast day. Sign-on is set at 3:30 P.M. with sign-off planned for midnight, seven days a week.

Buddy Powell recently announced the tentative program schedule. Several syndicated series of a "western" tint, as well as a concentration of western films are ready for booking. Powell estimates that 50 per cent of the programming will be of a local nature. Local sporting events---such as horse racing from the Thunderbird Race Track in Claremore, Oklahoma, and auto racing from Blue Bonnet Raceway on Keystone Lake west of Sand Springs---will be featured.

Education and "talk" shows will augment programs of a "country-and-western" theme. Powell also plans shows aimed at the teenage audience and several offerings of a religious nature.

A staff of 23 will man the facility which will be built when and if permission is granted by the FCC. The group conducted several market samplings to learn viewer preference. Their findings disclosed that Tulsa area viewers desired more local programming.2

The survey also disclosed that approximately 50 per cent of the television receivers in Tulsa are equipped to pick up the UHF signal. Powell pointed out that those receivers which are not equipped can easily be converted for approximately $15.00, including installation. Powell and his group feel that the experience they have gained in the operation of KTOW-AM and KLPR-TV will be invaluable in their Tulsa television venture.

The Oklahomans are competing with a New York businessman. Victor Muscat, a multi-millionaire businessman, applied for the allocation three weeks after the KTOW group in August, 1966. Muscat, in his proposal, stated that he would not advertise or seek commercial revenues for the yet-to-be-named station. Muscat plans to operate the facility with his extensive personal funds and resources.3

Further information on Muscat is not available. Because of his demanding business schedule, he could not spare the time to reply to the author's questionnaire.4

At this writing, both groups are awaiting a hearing date from the Federal Communications Commission to determine who will be granted the Channel Twenty-Nine allocation.5


1 Tulsa World, November 20, 1966.

2 Interview with Buddy Powell on March 9, 1967.

3 Tulsa World, November 20, 1966.

4 Letter from Elsie Jordan, Secretary to Victor Muscat, March 2, 1967.

5Letter from Ben F. Waple, Secretary of the FCC, April 4, 1967.



In the spring of 1966, Elfred Beck received word from the FCC regarding KCEB. Beck was advised either to activate the long-dormant channel by April 11, 1966, or surrender his Construction Permit.1

Accordingly, Beck cast about the Tulsa area in an attempt to secure a buyer or buyers for his station. A group led by David Wagenvord and Cal Tinney appeared the most likely successors. Wagenvord was already established in Tulsa broadcasting by virtue of his ownership of radio station KOME. Unfortunately, Wagenvord and Tinney could not arrange the necessary financing in the time allotted by the FCC.

When Wagenvord first began negotiation with Beck, Gordon Lund, general manager of KOME, acted as intermediary. Lund was hopeful of managing the UHF station. When the necessary financing could not be arranged, Lund left the employment of Wagenvord and aided Beck in an attempt to get station KCEB back on the air.

Subsequently, Lund approached Ernest Moody, a Tulsa jeweler, regarding Moody's interest in owning a UHF station. Moody then asked Claude Hill, owner of FM radio station KOCW and a qualified engineer, to join him in the acquisition of KCEB. Hill agreed, and talks began.2

In the ensuing negotiation, it was agreed that Elfred Beck would continue to maintain an interest in Channel Twenty-Three. The final agreement called for Beck to retain a 10 per cent share of station KCEB, while Moody accepted 65 per cent of the stock and Hill held the remaining 25 per cent.

With the FCC demanding that something be done prior to 1968, the group decided upon an air-date of mid-September, 1967. A contract was recently signed to place the tower on top of the newly completed Fourth National Bank Building. Studio space is slated for the 29th floor.3

Early plans call for a staff of 12. Additional personnel will be added as needs demand. Ernest Moody is optimistic about future success. He notes that several advertisers are already signed for the fall programs. The first program will be a live studio dedication with appearances by the major principals.

The program day, according to Moody, will last between six and seven hours. Moody, who will be general manager or KCEB, plans to transmit movies and syndicated films in color.4

While Moody anticipates many of his programs to originate locally, they will not be colorcasts. The costly color cameras will not be installed until after the first year of operation. There will also be editorializing and forum type programs on a regular basis, according to Moody.

In order to get a head start on capturing the "movie" audience each night, KCEB will schedule the late news at 9 P.M. each evening. After the news a moving picture will begin at 9:30 P.M. for those who wish to retire early. In keeping with this concept of programming for the minority, KCEB also plans to air programs in affiliation with the fledgling United Network. Details of this arrangement remain to be worked out.

Beck, who will be something of a silent partner in the venture, feels that conditions are more conducive to success in the UHF field now than 13 years ago. He will leave all decisions on programming and personnel to Moody and Hill. Beck believes that by the time the station goes on the air in September, it will be in a position to compete actively for a sizable portion of the Tulsa audience.5

While the group is aware of the increasing amount of competition in Tulsa, it feels that the market is quite ready for UHF, and sound programming will assure them of a creditable share of the audience.


1 Interview with Elfred Beck, March 22, 1967.

2 Interview with Claude Hill, March 28, 1967.

3 Tulsa World, April 14 1967.

4 Interview with Ernest Moody, March 29, 1967.

5 Interview with Elfred Beck, op. cit.

On to the future (as seen from 1967)    Chapter 6 (ETV)    Chapter 5 (KTUL)

Chapter 4 (KVOO)    Chapter 3 (KCEB)    Chapter 2 (KOTV)

Chapter 1    Table of Contents    Main page