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  Texas : Feature : Columns : Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories :

George Roy Clough
Invents Call-in Radio

by Bill Cherry
By the time the Federal Communications Act was established in 1938, radio broadcasting was already a big business in Galveston.

The Moody family was broadcasting over its station in the Buccaneer hotel, and George Roy Clough was operating his first station, KFLX out of make shift studios in the living room of his home on Avenue P.

After a while, the Moodys gave up their station, but Clough continued to build his.
George Roy Clough
George Roy Clough
Photo courtesy Galveston Rosenberg Library

When the FCC was finally established, he changed the call letters from KFLX to KLUF. Pronouncing that acronym made you say his last name. Clough.

Local dance bands had regular programs on his station. And school choirs and orchestras would frequently perform.

In fact the reason Gulf Coast TV legend Utah Carl Beach first moved to Galveston from Las Vegas was to have a radio show on KLUF.

And Raymond Haak, the owner of Haaks Vineyard and Winery in Santa Fe's mother had a show there, too. She called it "Boots Darr and Her Guitar."

Soon Clough needed more space than his living room could provide, so he moved the studios downtown to the Marine Building, and his transmitter was set up in a building near the antenna on 61st and Broadway.

But the main reason George Roy Clough went into the radio business was to have a public forum for his strong political views. Trying to figure out how to infuse them into people's homes by radio wave was his challenge.

He came up with the idea of an announcer like Win McMullen who would introduce a political topic that Clough thought was timely and important, and then listeners could call by phone, be put on the air and then they'd debate the subject with the announcer.

And most authorities feel this was the invention of call-in radio, the format that has made Rush Limbaugh, Larry King and Michael Savage rich.

George Roy Clough had one more distinction. He was elected mayor of Galveston in the mid-'50s. Within moments of his election, he challenged Texas Attorney General Will Wilson. Clough said he wouldn't let Wilson clear out the Island's illegal but very profitable ventures - soft vices like gambling, prostitution and other vice.

Within a couple of years, the inventor of call-in radio, George Roy Clough, had lost the challenge he had made to the attorney general. And while we wish it weren't true, Galveston has never been the same since.

Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories
August 15 , 2007 column
Copyright William S. Cherry
All rights reserved


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Bill Cherry, a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime columnist for "The Galveston County Daily News." His book, Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories, has sold thousands, and is still available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other bookstores.
 
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