KBTX Turns 60: Community Service

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - It's a big week for KBTX Media.
We are celebrating 60 years of service to the Brazos Valley.


Beyond just bringing you the day's headlines, we've spent those six decades giving back.

"I think it's important for us to get involved, because we can and we should," said Mike Wright, KBTX General Manager.

There's something about living in the Brazos Valley that makes you want to help others.

Whether it's reading to local school children, or emceeing events that raise funds for numerous causes, it's an honor to lend a hand.

"Our calling is to give back. I think it's to make life better for our friends and neighbors at whatever level we can do that," said Wright.

Until the yearly event ended in 2010, KBTX hosted the MDA telethon. It was a labor of love, every Labor Day weekend, that called for a team effort, on and off camera.

Former KBTX anchor, Jeff Braun was one of the hosts. In 1989 he said, "It's almost as if we're on a mission, because we were pumped up. Because we were aware of the breakthroughs that they'd made in the past year and aware of the services that we're providing to the local patients and we're extremely committed to this."

Beyond the record-breaking fundraising, the telethon helped raise awareness.

"I think the MDA telethon highlighted a lot of families locally that had stories to tell that no one knew anything about," said Wright.

In the mid 90s, KBTX began partnering with the Brazos Valley Food Bank for what's become our signature project, the Food for Families Food Drive.

The food bank's executive director, Theresa Mangapora, says the partnership helped them build trust and better serve areas outside Bryan College Station.

"KBTX said, 'We want to help fight hunger in this community. We want the food to stay in this community. We want to support the network that's there.' People started to understand we also, the food bank, support that network. We're all doing this together, and now we can do backpack programs, and mobile pantries out there, and people are welcoming us because we're not strangers. I can say KBTX opened the door for us to be able to serve the hungry better in the Brazos Valley," said Mangapora.

Sometimes it's a tragedy that calls us to action.

"The biggest thing probably was Bonfire morning when we put out the call for a need for blood. It's bittersweet. It's not a favorite memory, but if you wanted to define the heart of a community and a partnership between a tv station and the community, you put out a call for a need and word spreads and they go," said Wright.

No matter what we're doing, supporting events that raise money for scholarships, or walking with you in the annual Christmas parade, we do it with the same pride you feel. Our smiles are genuine and a reminder that we enjoy the privilege of being not only your local news leader, but your neighbor and friend.

"Giving back and being a blessing to those we may never see the faces of is probably the number one thing this station has focused on, and hopefully has performed admirably in giving back to the community year after year," said Wright.