KCUL Cowtown Hoedown
Our research into this show began when one of its youngest members in the 1950's contacted us.
Don Lunn sent us a program from the show and it took off from there.
The earliest mention we have found of the show is from an article in January 1957 that indicated
a young singer (13 years old) by the name of Wanda Gann was appearing once a month on the show
We learned that quite a few folks were associated with the show. It appears to have had its own
record label - Cowtown Hoedown - as we found a record released by Dick Hart, "Everybody's Sweetheart,
Nobody's Fool" b/w "Time Out for the Blues".
The Texas Louisiana area was rife with many shows - the Big D Jamboree out of Dallas, the Louisiana Hayride
in Shreveport, the Red River Jamboree in Paris, Texas and we learned for the first time of a show called the Reilly Springs Jamboree out of Sulphur
Charlie Walker wrote in his "Southwest Reports" in 1957 that some of the acts on the show were Frankie Miller,
The Callahan Brothers and "Spoons" Hallam.
In May 1958, Cashbox told readers that Bill Smith and Bill Thompson of LeBill Music along with Jack Henderson with
the Cowtown show had formed their own label as well - Majestic Records named after the theater the show
was held in. The first release on the label was a tune dubbed "Sittin' Spittin' And A Whittlin'" b/w "Buttermilk Blues"
by J. B. Brinkley and written by Hal Smith, said to be a St. Louis Cardinal shortsop with his brother Ron Smith.
Speaking of the Majestic Theatre, there is a site that provides some background / postcard of the theater.
Horace Logan was program director for KCUL in mid 1958 and he told Cashbox and Billboard readers that two people
that had met on the show had decided to 'sign a lifetime contract' and were to get married on the May 31, 1958
broadcast. They were Joy Edwards, a member of the Melody Five Band and Lonnie Thompson, the vocalist with the
Troublesome Three. The show gave the couple a wedding gift of a trip to Las Vegas and staying at the Wilbur Clark's Desert
The show would attract the name stars as they passed through town and perhaps Horace Logan knew how to get that mentioned
in the trade publications. Faron Young was to play the July 5, 1958 show.
The Browns appeared on the show on June 14, 1958; Bobby Helms on June 21. Horace Logan thought the show was going
great with its two hour broadcast - they had sold 90 minutes of the show commercially.
In November 1958, Parker Wilson had joined the KCUL team and was sharing Cowtown Hoedown MC duties with Horace Logan
and Jack Henderson. Parker was the MC for the Lightcrust Doughboys for many years.
Jim Reeves appeared on the show on November 8 with his band. Horace told readers also on the show were
Dee and Patty; Lawton Williams; The Farrel Brothers; Wanda Louise; the McCoys; Carl Logan; Texas Trail Blazers;
the Melody Five; Sunset Starlighters, Braga Sisters; Joe Paul Nichols (a 1972 article that included a short
bio about Joe Paul indicated he had won a spot on the Cowtown Hoedown in 1956 and stayed with the show
for four years before going to the Big D Jamboree) and Joe Poovey.
The roster began to shake up a bit in the spring of 1959. Jack Henderson had turned over the reins
to the show to Uncle Hank Craig and Doyle McCoy. Easy Ed Hamilton had joined the staff and
was doing DJ work. Around that time Frankie Miller's "Black Land Farmer" was gaining traction.
In August of 1959, Jack Gordon presented Johnny Horton with a platinum record marking
2,000,000 in sales of "Battle of New Orleans".
The show continued to attract the headliners. The July 25, 1959 show say The Browns appear
as their "Three Bells" was showing signs of a hit. Margie Singleton and Johnny Sea were
also on the show. Justin Tubb did the August 1, 1959 show. June Carter appeared
on the August 8, 1959 show.
Bill Anderson was making the rounds and guested on the Jubilee USA show and did a Cowtown
Hoedown show with Roger Miller.
In late 1959, program director wrote to Cashbox telling them the show was still getting top talent every Saturday
night. Patsy Cline was appearing on October 10. Then Jim Reeves, Jimmy Newman, Carl Smith, the Carlisles
"...were tentatively scheduled." It appears that Doug Bragg may have been on the cast at this time. Mr. Hamilton
noted that KCUL was the only country station in the Ft. Worth-Dallas area. Their disc jockeys were
Ed Hamilton, Lawton Williams, Uncle Mac Mackrell and Pete Talmadge.
By November it looks like things were changing perhaps not for the better. While Lawton Williams,
Patsy Cline, Faron Young and Carl Smith had capacity crowds. And he indicated that Don Gibson,
Bob Gallion and Jimmy Newman were coming. But by this time only Ed and Lawton were doing DJ duties
at the station from six in the morning to eight at night. Ed was doing eight hours a day and Lawton
was doing five. But on the other hand the station was going from 10,000 watts to 50,000 watts in early 1960.
By February 1960, Lawton was doing five hours a day on the air and the Saturday night show.
No mentions of the show have been found from that date on. The station did go to 50,000 watts and
they made a big deal about the "First Lady" of Fort Worth (wife of the new mayor) admitting she
liked country music.
The on air staff in April 1963 consisted of Lawton Williams, Bill Mack, Horace Logan, Bill Reynolds, Morgan
Choates and Jerry Parks.
Morgan Choates came to KCUL (now KBUY) around 1954 or so. His original job at the station
was transmitter engineer. But his love for country music and sudden vacancies on the
announcing staff found him on the air. It was said his style was great for the casual
night time listening audience. In fact, he was one of the first to do a midnight to 6:00am
shift on the radio. He still kept up his radio engineer skill set. He helped install
the 50,000 watt transmitter as well as the 100,000 watt transmitter for the FM station.
Another legendary DJ on the station was Bill Mack. He started off at station KEVA in his hometown
of Shamrock, Texas making all of $12.00 a week. His big break came when he went to KWFT in Wichita Falls.
He became the emcee on the Hadacol Western Barn Dance on the Western network. He came to KCUL and became
their program director and did a three hour morning show. He also did the Cowtown Jamboree, which
was a one hour live television show from Panther Hall. He was also the producer and emcee of the Ray-O-Vac
All Star Country and Western Roadshow. He was also the emcee and producer of the syndicated Bob Wills Show.
If that was not enough, he served on the Country Music Association's Board of Directors.
At the end of 1966, Billboard was informing readers that KCUL had been sold and would have its call letters changed
to KUBY and KCUL reassigned to a station in Amarillo pending FCC approvals. The article also mentioned that KCUL
had 50,000 watts during the day, but dropped to 1,000 watts at night.
A 1972 article in Country Music Reporter provides a lengthy discussion of the radio station's history and changes.
The station was founded in 1945 as KCUL. The present day KBUY was purchased by Kurt Meer ten years later and was the only
country and western station in the Ft. Worth - Dallas Metro area. KBUY-FM was the first station to have all
Spanish language programming. In 1966, John B. Walton Jr. bought the station. It was known as Constant Country KBUY
at 1540 am. As the owner of John Walton Enterprises, he had acquired KDJW AM-FM in Amarillo, KikX in Tuscon, Arizona,
KAVE in Carlsbad, New Mexico, KELP-TV and Radio in El Paso, Texas, KIDD in Monterey, California and KFOX in Los Angeles,
California pending FCC approval.
The two main management people for KBUY radio were in Fort Worth - Jerry Wright was general manager and Jonathan E. Fricke
was the operations manager. Both were long time employees with the Walton company, each gaining experience
in other markets.