60 Years: KASU's Early Programs

May 17, 2017

Today, we have a wide range of choices when it comes to programming.  No matter whether it is TV, radio or other forms of media, there are lots of choices.  KASU gets a lot of its programming from NPR, which comes to the station through satellite feeds.  Which made me wonder...what was it like during the early days of KASU?  How did KASU fill those hours of programming?  Professor in the Department of Media Dr. Mary Jackson-Pitts says in the 1950s, many newly formed FM stations had a hard time finding programming.

 "FM stations didn't really want to simulcast what was playing on the AM stations.  Trying to find those programs was a real challenge at that time." As you may remember from the last story, KASU didn't broadcast 24 hours a day.  It started off at 8 hours a day on weekdays and a couple of hours on Saturdays...football and basketball games were also broadcast, which will be discussed later.  By 1970, KASU broadcasted six days a week from noon to ten and that increased a year later to broadcasting from seven am to ten pm.  In the 1980's, KASU broadcasted 24 hours a day.  But I was curious about those early days and how the hours of noon to eight p.m. were filled.  As I learned, the students produced programs under the watchful eye of Charles Rasberry.  He was the Director of Broadcast Operations at KASU and was a former station manager.   "We would air a lot of concerts from Arkanas State, there was a lot of local and regional news, we also aired sports broadcasts.  The students would produce and air the programs for KASU." One important part of programming that was a priority for then-Arkansas State President Dr. Carl R. Reng was for football and men's basketball games to be originated for air on KASU through what was then known as the Indian Sports Network.  He says students helped in the broadcast of those games. The Indian Sports Network prospered in the 1960s.  Nine stations were part of the network in 1961, but it grew to 20 stations by 1967.  One of the stations that carried the Indian Sports Network was KTHS, a 50,000 watt AM station from Little Rock.  The call letters for that station today is KAAY.  On the next show, the many broadcasting "firsts" of KASU will be examined.