Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The War Years

1941 was a busy year. At Rex Caliber's studio an electric guitar was used for the first time on a country music record. According to the story, juke box operators complained to Rex that Ernest Tubb's records could not be heard over the den of their noisy honky tonks. Rex proceeded to employ Fay (Smitty) Smith, staff guitarist working for KDCD, to play electric guitar on one of his recording sessions.

Also, the studio was utilizing live performance and interviews of upcoming talents, playing store bought and studio records, and buying a mobile transmission truck to do on location broadcasts. So they would broadcast Saturday night dances and other local events. It proved very successful, and they would make twice the money: getting paid to broadcast the event, and getting paid from sponsors. Things couldn't be better.

December 7, 1941. The engineers always monitored other stations and shortwave to form the news on the hour. When they got wind of the events happening, they immediately got on the air to be the first to broadcast in all of the delta belt. With 5000 watts of power, KDCB reached a 7 state area, very impressive for it's day.

Every boy rushed to enlist, every adult volunteered in some way or manner, and KDCB did their part in working with the USO, having a dedicated hour every day to discuss the war effort, promoting war bonds, and having patriotic music on record and live. It proved important to keep the patriotism alive, to still fears of family members, and to energize morale.

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