Sunday, July 16, 2006

Radio station KILE-AM sold for $9 million

I haven't listened to radio station KILE, 1560 on your AM dial, for more than 20 years.

Back then, it was located on Galveston Island (which oddly, for the last 25 years, has been referred to in the Houston daily as an "island resort," which evokes images of Bebe Rebozo, Elizabeth Hurley, Toots Shor and others who've never ever been to Galveston.)

Galveston is where I happened to be living then. I listened to them (as well as KGBC-AM, which still is located on the isle but taken over in recent years by the Catholic Church for sermonizing and such) mainly because of their reporter Moss Thornton, who covered the goings on at City Hall and the cop shop and anywhere else "news happened."

I did the same for the Houston Post, so I wanted to know what I might be missing, which turned out to be not much, most of the time.

It all seems quaint now. Two radio stations located in a smallish town (population 60,000) actually employed reporters to cover the local news. At the regular city council meetings, as well as the "workshops" a day or so before the official meeting, there'd be two radio reporters and three newspaper reporters present, waiting for news to break. City council crap? Did anyone read it? I have no idea. But looking back, I think it was a huge waste of everyone's time!

Anyway, back to KILE. (Get it? K-ISLE?)

At some point, it moved off the island to relocate in Bellaire, the semi-police state that's often described as an "enclave" of Houston where teen-agers are actually ticketed and summoned to court for illegally smoking ciggies.

After that I forgot all about KILE. Moss Thornton, KILE's radio reporter in Galveston, got a radio reporting job for KPRC radio, known fondly by those in the news biz as K-Prick. Not sure where Moss is now, but hollah if you read this, girl.

Oh, yeah, back to the point.

KILE in recent years has been a brokered station that rented its airtime to whomever fancied themselves self-styled radio programmers. (Hence, the station doesn't even appear in the local Arbitron ratings, yet doesn't mind calling itself "HOUSTON'S FINEST INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE RADIO STATION"....right now, via their Internet link, they're playing Mexican music; It's 2:04 in the a.m. Sunday morning...)

Even so, don't let that fool you. With a strong signal in a growing market, it's still worth a nice chunk o' change, it seems.

On July 7, it was sold for $9 million, reports
Radio & Records.

The seller was listed as Hereford Agri-Fuels Inc., headed by President Jerome Friemel.

The buyer is listed as Gow Communications LLC, headed by President David Gow. The company owns no other radio stations.

Bold Prediction: if the new programming on KILE-AM is in English, it'll be a miracle.

16 comments:

nycoil said...

the KILE of Moss Thorton's day was 1400 am - that frequency is now owned by the folks over at KHCB - it is their Spanish Ministry station. This station (1560 AM) just adopted the call sign/letters of KILE several years ago.

Banjo Jones said...

thanks for the clarification, nycoil. i thought the dial position sounded wrong when i looked up KILE on the web, but, like i said, it's been so long ago since i listened to the old pop station.

nycoil said...

no prob - I spent some time there working weekends in the middle 80's.

Banjo Jones said...

mid-80s, that's about the time i was in Galveston.

Anonymous said...

well of all you "old timers", who remembers Joey Jay the DJ? That was mid '60s. Probably before your time.

Anonymous said...

"Joey Jay (Joe Koleng) the DJ" (Ball High School '63) died many years ago. I used to listen to him (try to) play the piano in his garage on 53rd St. in Galveston.

The gang and I were at the Boulevard Drive-In. Joe played "Come Go With Me" by the Del Vikings. I talked my friend into calling in to Joe and asking him to play it again. Joe said he absolutely couldn't do that, but before we finished our shrimp burgers (and beers from the ice chest we always had in the backseat), Joe played "Come Go With Me" again.

Joe and Pookie Arena used to frequently rock-out before 8th-grade homeroom period began at Lovenberg Jr. High. The teacher didn't appreciate that at all.

I have a tape of Joe dedicating "Guilty" (of loving you) to Mickey Garcia (BHS '63).

Joe: you done good!

Anonymous said...

I listened to Kile & enjoyed the format.Larry Sanville was a reporter that I can recall.Do you remember on sunday nights that show For Lovers Only?The station also brocasted the high school games also.My transistor radio was always tuned to that station Kile 1400. your friend Sam

Anonymous said...

Kile was originally KLUF. It was owned by the Mayor George Roy Clough and located in a little wood building about 60th aand Broadway. Thats getting back there. In the 60's when I graduated from Ball High, it competed with KILT 610 in Houston, and KTHT about 740 in Houston.All were light rock back then. Lou Muller, Joe Koleng, and a few other from BHS were DJ's there. Bo Dollar did urban blues at night. KILE was ahead of its time in Galveston and a far better station than a small population would usually rate. One of the DJ from the sixties named JIM, can't remember his last name, later became half of Hudson and Harrigan in the 70's at KILT. Surely, Galveston had a great station.

Banjo Jones said...

i knew Muller when he was on the city council back in the early-mid 80s.

Meyerland Tom said...

I was down in Galveston this weekend and I remember catching KILE back in the late '70s when I was growing up in the Meyerland area of Houston. Position 14, KILE. My mother hated to travel and that meant even to some place seemingly as exotic as Galveston. I'm glad I take more of an opportunity to go down there. Ike really raked Galveston over the coals but Gaido's is still alive and kickin'.

Anonymous said...

Update May, 2011:Moss Thornton is still in Houston, although she left radio for a more "stable" career. Lou Muller is in Galveston, recently retiring from the Park Board. I was a DJ at KILE in 1977-78 before moving to Dallas and continuing in radio until 2009 when I too had to find a more "stable" career. Unfortunately, the radio industry has changed...I miss the fun days at KILE.

Anonymous said...

there was also sunnyoshea ron foster rod tompkins james layer pam ivey and rusty draper also john downey that worked as djs in the early 70s what agas!!

Anonymous said...

Draper opened a Christian coffee house on the Islans
D and left broadcasting for the Ministry. I also remember Tom Nathan Tyler who was Program Director. Even Tony Cavendar so many good people passed through KILE! It gave me my start into a career I loved.

Scott O'Neal said...

Lot of names from the past, I was full-time in Lake Jackson and driving to KILE for weekends. It had moved from the Galvez to a white building a couple blocks or so from the seawall. Did the Disco program (one of my least favorite formats ever)on Sunday nights around 1979. Retired from Radio after 30 years and also into another career now. By the way, John Downey, who I later knew while working at KILT, was on a clear channel San Antonio AM station doing traffic in the mornings, a few months ago. I'm sure he's doing more than that...

James Layer said...

I worked as a DJ for K-ILE from '69-'74, worked mainly Saturday nights as I ran Island TV full time. Program director at the time was a guy named Rex Russel and the music director was Rusty Draper. The owner of the station was Tom Wiseheart and Lou Muller was into sales. My cousin was Joey Jay and he sparked my interest in radio. When we were young, we would get out the "record player" and play and practice being a DJ. Once, when the station was still at 60th and Broadway, he locked himself in the building and played "The Stripper" over and over again for the duration of his entire show. When the station moved from 60th and Broadway, they moved to 25th and Broadway before moving to the basement of the Galvez Hotel. Pat Fant, from KLOL fame, worked there at the 25th and Broadway location along with Joey Jay and a guy named Tom Nathan Tyler. It was the most enjoyable job I have ever had. Working now at UTMB Galveston and would love to get back into radio part time as I will retire in January 2013 but not thrilled about the possibility of having to drive to Houston to do that. I also worked at KGBC along with Steve-O the Nightrider and worked for a time at KTLW playing country music in Texas City on top of the Showboat Theater. Love the history of Galveston radio.

James Layer

jwlayer said...

Working at K-ILE was a real blast. I started working there in the summer of 1969 working weekends and doing the Lone Star Beach Buggy Report, interviewing tourists 6 times in an afternoon, riding in a Volkswagen Dune Buggy. I also had a full time business on the Island so I worked Saturday nights from 7pm-1am for about 6 years. Rusty Draper was the music director and then became program director. My cousin was Joey Jay and he sparked my interest into becoming a DJ. We used to practice on our "record players" playing out being a DJ. One night, when the station was located at 60th and Broadway, he locked himself in the studio and played "The Stripper" over and over and over again during his entire shift. After Carla, the station moved to 25th and Broadway and was there before moving to the basement of the Galvez Hotel which is where they were when I worked there. I worked with Ron Foster, Dan Gallo, Lou Muler, Larry Sanville, Rex Russel, and others. Tom Wisehart was the General Manager and probably the owner. I can still hear the jingle, "Fun 14, K-ILE!!! Those were some great days that I will always remember...
James Layer