KBTX at 60: 1967-1977: KBTX transitions to color

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - By 1967, the world was changing. Things were certainly evolving at KBTX in the Brazos Valley as well, especially at Texas A&M University.

James L. Courtney became one of the first two African-American undergraduates at A&M in 1968. Women were allowed to integrate in the Corps of Cadets in 1974.

Back on East 29th Street, life was starting to expand outside the station walls. The way news and commercials were shown evolved from black and white to color. Slides and photographs turned into film.

Another change was the addition of a complete local newscast done in-studio. Now, news, sports and weather were all broadcast from Bryan, Texas. Before, weather and national news came from Waco.

Owen Rachal, better known as Martin Sebastian on-air, recalls the significance.

"I thought it was remarkable to be able to fill that much time with local stuff," said Rachal, "because at the time we had just slowly built up 'til we did it and it was a good feeling that we had done that much work to make that kind of newscast."

For Susan Deatherage, her time at KBTX may have spanned a couple of years, but she remembers the biggest interview of her career; Nancy Reagan.

"I was pretty nervous," recalled Deatherage. "I had time to memorize those questions. It was the first time I had held a microphone in my hands and my first interview."

In our second decade, the seeds of community service started to grow.

"I think that there's a shared experience that everyone had that was intense and intimate that kept us close," said Deatherage.

"We got a lot of recognition. We used to get the best tables, but the meals cost the same," recalled Rachal, laughing.

The 60's and 70's saw accelerated growth, but no one was prepared for how fast television would change in the next ten years.