Thursday, February 17, 2005

Happy 50th Anniversary, KRCG

It was on February 13, 1955 that KRCG-TV, channel 13, in Jefferson City, Missouri, first started broadcasting. Since that time KRCG has been the CBS affiliate for mid-Missouri. Unlike its two fellow stations, KOMU or KMIZ, it never has switched networks.

Indeed, perhaps because it was a CBS affiliate, KRCG is the TV station I remember watching the most growing up. From the Fifties (before I was born) into the Seventies, CBS was the number one network. A number of classic shows then aired on KRCG: The Ed Sullivan Show, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Wild Wild West, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, and WKRP in Cincinatti among them. In fact, for much of my early life, our TV was tuned to KRCG on most Monday nights.

Of course, KRCG also had the other channels beat when it came to local programming as well. They were the last station in Missouri, perhaps in the nation, to air a locally produced children's show. Showtime featured cartoons and often interviews of interest to children (I remember Burt Ward, Robin from the Sixties Batman TV show, was on one time). Dick Preston, who still anchors KRCG's News at Noon and previously served as an evening anchor, hosted it for some time. Unfortunately, Showtime went off the air the same year that I graduated from high school--replaced by reruns of Dallas. I also remember in the Seventies KRCG would show old horror movies under the title Tales of Terror late Saturday nights. I can't remember too much about Tales of Terror, but I remember the host's sidekick was called Igor.

Unfortunately, like Showtime, Tales of Terror went off the air. Fortunately, it was replaced by reruns of Star Trek. That brings me to another point--for most of its history KRCG has always gotten the best shows in syndication. KRCG aired Star Trek for literally years, as well as Star Trek: the Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. They also aired reruns of Thriller, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The X-Files, and various other shows over the years. Even in the afternoon KRCG had the other stations beat before all those talk shows arrived and swept everything else off the air. Over the years they aired reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, M*A*S*H, and The Jeffersons. I remember for a time in the Nineties they would show movies late on Sunday night.

Here I feel I should speak in defence of KOMU and KMIZ. They are both fine stations in their own right and I have fond memories of watching both of them as a child (let's face it, Star Trek and The Monkees' first runs were on NBC...). That having been said, it is KRCG that I enjoyed the most as a child. While I don't think their programming is nearly as good as it once was (I would be very happy if they replaced Montel Williams with reruns of The Addams Family and Get Smart of an afternoon...), they are still one of the best stations anywhere.

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