Television Legend: KTEN's Harold Walker
As the final date for the transition to digital nears, we here at KTEN are looking back on our past. Since the very beginning, over 50 years ago, one man has kept us on the air. KTEN's Jocelyn Lockwood introduces Texoma to our own Harold Walker.
"I said I always thought I had the best job in the whole company, all the fun and not a lot of the headaches."
He's a broadcasting legend, but you wouldn't know him: 84 year-old Harold Walker has been behind the scenes at KTEN for more than half a century.
"I think June 1st 1954 was the first official on air date, but I think prior to that time we had put it on the air for testing, equipment test, and we ran portions of a move, stagecoach is what the movie was."
Harold was with the company that started KTEN News, even before we were a television station.
"I was the chief engineer of KADA, the am station there in Ada, Oklahoma of course. And, the owners of KADA applied for and got the license to KTEN."
And like that, KTEN was born, and Harold went to work building both our first, and eventually, our second analog transmitter.
"Originally, of course, we built north of Ada and that was in 1954, down here at this site was 1984, and well it was nice, it was kind of drawn out over a long period of time, they had trouble building the tower."
With more radio experience - than television - Harold learned as he went along - eventually becoming a one of a kind, self-taught television expert.
"Well to a large degree, while I was in high school there were two amateur radio operators where I was going to school in Ardmore, and they had a course in radio and training so I went through that and learned quite a bit there and I had been going ot the Ardmore public library and been studying what books they had on radio, and I learned a little bit about it, I started working at KADA and I was still wet behind the ears, but I managed to keep it running anyhow."
Harold was only 18 when he started learning the ropes, right out of high school- and more than 60 years later - he says he's still no expert.
"No, not at all, not at all - well I know enough to get by, but as far as knowing all of it, I don't know if anybody knows all of it."
Others here, at KTEN, would fight Harold, at least on that point.
"He's right there, he's hands on, he knows the equipment here better than anyone, he's got 50 years experience on the very equipment that's in here right now, and there's probably no on earth that knows the equipment better than Harold, he's a great asset to this company, and he's just a joy, to me and everybody else that know him out here," says KTEN engineer Danny Allen.
But - at the end of a television era - Harold says - he wishes we could go back.
"I wished we stayed analog, digital is too complicated for me, at least the studio end of it, and fortunately, I don't have to worry about that."
And, even though, it's the end of an era... Harold is looking toward the future.
"Hopefully, we can keep it running until June 12th when we throw the big switch and turn it off, and in a way I'd kind of like to be the one to throw the switch and turn it off, after starting it originally. But, they may turn it off late at night.. So I probably won't do that."
And for someone who has seen KTEN through all the years... His only message for us now is, "Best of luck, best of wishes, keep trying." Harold chuckles.
At the KTEN transmitter in Wapanucka, Jocelyn Lockwood, KTEN News.