Ulman McMullen: Brazos Valley Media Pioneer

By: Sylvia Villarreal Email
By: Sylvia Villarreal Email

Ulman McMullen came to the Brazos Valley in the sixties and watched the television industry change right before his eyes.

More than 40 years ago, Ulman McMullen accepted a job at KBTX-TV and that job forever changed the station and put him on the ground floor of success that at the time, was only a dream. Mac, as everyone he worked with called him, is a media pioneer whose hard work has literally impacted everyone in the Brazos Valley.

On McMullen's first day on the job, a little building sitting off a dirt road on East 29th Street in Bryan greeted him, but it was the people inside that gave him so much more back.

"The station was really just sort of a little box building, very small. Had a little front office and studio and then the control room," remembers McMullen.

When McMullen came onboard at KBTX-TV in 1965, that little box building he describes is where he worked until he retired.

McMullen says, "I came here to be Operations Manager. Harry Gillam was station manager at the time and it was a very, very small operation to say the least."

At that time there were only two newscasts, one at six the other at ten and by today's standards, Ulman kindly calls the operation primitive.

"Our weather boards, we took chalk to write the things on the chalkboard, compared to today's digital stuff. The changes since even I left here in 91 and retired, the changes have just been so dramatic. I always considered myself a little like Lou Gehrig to have been in this industry and certainly to have been in it when I was, today I'm not sure I'd make it," McMullen says.

Even though this humble Brazos Valley media pioneer doesn't believe he'd survive in today's fast pace television world, his ability to adjust back then is what allowed KBTX to become what it is today, a state of the art television station and along the way, he had fun too.

McMullen says, "My best memories of course are memories here from Channel 3 because it was such a close knit group. We really had such a good time together. What the people see on the screen, on their TV sets at home is still the product. Ultimately that's what it's about and that has not changed. Now the delivery system has changed tremendously, but what the people see at home, get on their screens is still what it's all about and what it's always been about."

Ulman McMullen is a wonderful and carrying man who loved working at KBTX-TV because he was among family. Throughout the years, Bob French and Darryl Bruffett have became a part of families all around the Brazos Valley all because of McMullen who proudly points out, he's the one who hired them both.

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
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