My Time with KUHF-FM/KUHF-TV in Houston

St. Thomas Eagle St. Thomas High School December 1955

St. Thomas Eagle
St. Thomas High School
December 1955

 

It didn’t last long, only three semesters at UH, from the Fall of 1956 through the Fall of 1957, but those were the days of my early college educational career as a radio and television broadcasting major. In retrospect, it was the most fun-filled time in my academic career, even though I really didn’t “get” the journalistic potentials of those media at the time, nor did UH and the field itself seem to have a clearer perspective in the 1950s on what made television far more than “radio with pictures” – but a whole new media for engaging, entertaining, and educating the public.

As a result, I found myself among those who got caught up in the Sputnik hysteria of October 4, 1957. When the USSR beat the USA into space, the word got out to all of us: America needs pure scientists and engineers, If that’s not a broad area that both appeals to your interests and fits your aptitudes, at least, chose a career that contributes to holding this culture together.

Sadly misguided by own lack of vision, I cashed in something that I felt an organic attraction to, radio and tv, even if no one seemed to differentially understand them at the time – for psychology – on the delusional basis that I could grow to become like the Lee J. Cobb psychiatrist movie character in “Three Faces of Eve” and then help America save itself from itself while our pure scientists where boosting America into first place in the “race for space.”

Innocence. Naiveté. Delusions of Grandeur. All three were qualities that ran through the cultural character of our up-and-coming “New Frontier” generation of the late 1950s. We were a little bit Sinatra at our base, but we also had been baptized into the first generation of rock and roll by Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry by late 1957. We were ready. ready, ready to rock and roll America into the kinds of changes it needed to make to finally win the Cold War on the last great “new frontier” of outer space. One of the 1960 candidates for President in 1960 would soon enough pick up our  scent for service and ride our support all the way into the White House.

Time, experience, and reality would soon enough temper our grandiosity and re-channel us variously  through the wisdom of personal experience into whatever we actually did with our lives from there. I consider myself one of the lucky ones from the 1950s generation. I found a life of service that I engaged passionately, and humbly, as one who truly enjoyed working with people who wanted to unshackle the chains on their creative passions and search for peace and integrity in life.

The things that never changed within me were my passions for baseball, self discovery, humor, and writing. Those attractions never left me, even if I did change my major from radio/tv to psychology. Writing was the oldest acorn among them all. I had wanted to write since the first grade, at least, and maybe I was even born with it.

Meanwhile, over this same lifetime, television obviously finding its own complex horizons as a window to the world, and, as we see daily in 2015, television is far more than “radio with pictures.” With the mix of TV now with the home computer, telephones, and other Internet-connected inventions and opportunities, who knows where it goes from here? Wherever that endlessly mutates into new understanding, TV will seemingly always have its own outer space as some ubiquitous, always newly shaping creature of communication.

Preparing a UH news presentation at Channel 8 in the early 1950s.

Preparing a UH news presentation at Channel
8 in the early 1950s.

When KUHT-TV signed on as Channel 8 for the first time in 1953, it became the first public television station in the country. It maintains that distinction today. That much has not changed.

Have a great Wednesday, everybody!

____________________

NAVY-UH-112715-14

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2 Responses to “My Time with KUHF-FM/KUHF-TV in Houston”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill: When I first saw your picture from St. Thomas, I thought you resembled a young Robert Stack, aka Eliot Ness of The Untouchables. If I remember correctly, The Hal Lahar Show (the Cougars head football coach, 1956- ’61) appeared on KUHT.

  2. Mike Mulvihill Says:

    When I saw that picture of you taken at St.Thomas, said to myself, i know that guy.St.Thomas had good photographers that’s for sure. Mine must have been taken by same expert back when we were freshmen. Both featured lot’s of hair of a different color and less fed faces.
    Those were the days.
    Mike

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