Alexandria Radio and TV Stations ... a Short History
KALB radio, originally owned by Walter Allen, came on the air on September 21, 1935, broadcasting on the 580-AM frequency.
Its first studios were in the O'Shea Building at the corner of Third and Jackson streets in downtown Alexandria (see photos to the right, and below).
Radio Station KSYL
Radio station KSYL 970-AM was founded by Sylvan Fox, with its callsign inspired by his first name.
Sylvan's father Milton Fox bought radio station KVOB from the Baptist Foundation in the late 1940s. Milton got his start with a company called Home Beverage Service, which delivered soft drinks door to door after the war. KVOB (Voice of the Baptist) became KSYL, and was located on Jackson Street near Bolton Avenue. In later years the old KVOB building was the site of the Jack and Jill's child shop.
The old KSYL Radio studios in the quonset building
KSYL was located for a time in the quonset building by the railroad overpass, just east of the North Traffic Circle. The building remains today, occupied by a body shop, near the corner of Odom Street and South Street.
The station later moved to studios on England Drive, and today operates from its offices at 1115 Texas Avenue in Alexandria.
The KDBS (Dixie Broadcasting Service) AM-1410 radio station was often called by its popular nickname K-Dixie-BS.
KDBS started on 4th Street next to where the back of the old Guaranty Bank parking lot is located. The country singer Roger Miller worked there for a short while. Bill Lynch (Papaw Syrus) was probably the most popular personality there. KDBS later moved to its building in the 1500 block of Jackson Street.
Broadcast Television Comes to Alexandria with KALB-TV
The old KDBS Radio studios on Jackson Street
Television came to Alexandria on September 29, 1954 when KALB-TV Channel 5 came on the air.
The call letters stood for "Know Alexandria Louisiana Better". The TV studios were on Washington Street, across from the Alexandria Bowling Center.
When the permit for KALB-TV became available, Walter Langford and Milton Fox both sought the license. Langford came out on top, with him owning 51% and Fox owning 49% till it was sold.
The TV station joined the other broadcast media in the area, radio stations KALB, KSYL, and KDBS.
The next televison station in Alexandria didn't air until 1983 when KLAX-TV Channel 31 was launched. Public television is provided in Alexandria by KLPA.
Broadcast Journalism Personalities
Several media personalities of that era would be remembered for those early years of broadcast journalism, such as Jack Frost, Dale Genius, Laverne Perry, Bill Lynch, Papaw Cyrus, and Ethma Odum.
Dale Genius began working at the KSYL studios in the old quonset building about 1960, and also was the first host of the popular, long-running "Jambalaya" show on KALB-TV. Also, at KALB-TV, the "Ethma Odum Show" was watched by many dedicated viewers.