KBTX at 60: 1977-1980 - KBTX's signal grows

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - For many like Jeff McShan, a former sports director at KBTX, the eighties were a whirlwind.

"The eighties were a blur... We didn't have cellphones; we used to get on our two way radios."

The stories were significant. McShan was in the newsroom when the Challenger blew up in '86.

"I saw it happen on the television there in the newsroom and it was just frightening," he said.

Ron Crozier recalled big stories like the state bringing back the death penalty.

"The sports guys were in the corner thinking man that would be great to cover, but then you look at the significance of it and your like that's probably one of the hardest things to cover," said Crozier.

While the stories were getting bigger, the station was growing. As part of that growth, KBTX expanded its reach. In 1983, the station built its first off-site transmission tower in Carlos, Texas. That move expanded KBTX's signal to homes throughout the Brazos Valley.

"You're driving down highway six and you can see that tower off to the right. I know it's in Carlos and it's a long way away, but that's how big it was. It was just a humongous tower," said McShan.

"There was instant validation for what we were doing. We're not just a small town local TV station- we were actually big time now," said Crozier.

McShan says at first he didn't quite understand the gravity of the update.

"We just tripled our audience, if not quadrupled our audience. I mean, it was just crazy. The signal would come down to parts of Houston," said McShan.

For those at KBTX during that time, it meant, it was time to button up.

"The pressure was on KBTX back then. They really tightened the clamps on the product we were putting out there. We couldn't get by with the silly, everyday mistakes that we used to as an entry-level market," said Crozier.