KDET AM radio will be celebrating 65-years of broadcasting tomorrow. It was Feb. 22, 1949, the station officially signed on the air from its original studios on Austin Street in Center.
Under the ownership of Tom Foster, the station originally began its broadcast day around 4 and 5 a.m. and signed off at sun down. Seven days a week, 365 days a year.
KDET has programmed a variety of music, entertainment, news, information, sports and weather for this part of the world. One of the original voices of KDET AM was the late Jack Bell, who retired in 2001 after more than 55 years in the radio industry. From announcer, to program director, station manager and eventual part-owner, Jack Bell was the familiar voice and face of KDET and Center Broadcasting for a majority of those 65 years.
There's been dozens and dozens of announcers and "live" entertainers come and go over the past six-and-a-half decades, many going on to big careers in the radio and music industry, and some that have stayed close to home to do what they love best.
Tom Foster chose the call letters KDET for his new station, due of course to it's location in Deep East Texas. KDET has catered to generations of farmers, ranchers, sportsmen and small town residents of the Pineywoods Region over the years. The station played a popular music format, which then was big bands, and of course gospel music has always been a part of its history, with programs like the Sunday Singing, which was one of the longest running gospel music radio shows in the country. However, still to this day, the longest running continuous program on KDET has been Payne's Community News. The Payne family, now in its third-generation and working on fourth, has been a source of local events and community news & happenings day in, day out for all of those 65 years.
Center Broadcasting added a FM station in 1976, and one in San Augustine in 1992.
We invite you to call during today's General Store to share any remembrances of when KDET AM signed on the air, or growing up with the station. I'm sure KDET has been a part of your past in some way.
Happy Birthday KDET AM, a continuous voice on the airwaves Knee Deep in East Texas for 65 years!