Audio of the meeting: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
The History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation held it’s first meeting of 2009 on Friday January 30th from 12:30-2:30 P.M. in the KBCI-TV “on-air” studios at 16th and Main Streets in Boise. The occasion was to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of KBOI-TV (now KBCI) which signed on Thanksgiving Day of 1953.
Host of the event was Corporate Member KBCI-TV, headed by Vice President and General Manager Larry Roberts. The meeting was held at 12:30 because the on-air TV studio was busy doing Channel 2’s live “Noon News” and then recording some news “promos” for later playback.
Members gathered in KBCI Conference Room from 12:30-12:45 while the studio was prepared for the luncheon, and at 12:45, we all filed in to the studio being personally greeted by G.M. Larry Roberts himself! A delicious box lunch from Heavenly Ham was provided to all who attended, which was a record 45-50 people counting the KBCI staffers who joined us for the meeting.
Officers attending the meeting included President Art Gregory, Vice President Frank Aden Jr., and Webmaster Rockwell Smith and his assistant Harold Homeier. Newly appointed Membership Director Carmen Gonzales (a former KBCI employee herself) was also in attendance, and helped us contact a number of the guests.
Other Foundation Members attending included Larry Chase, Judy Fisher, Tom Scott, Lucas Babin, Cindee Scholfield, Andy Johntz, Jimmy Johntz, Vee Cederstrom, Jeff Bishop, Ray Litrell,Larry Smith, Mike Pullin, Gil Rose Jr., Marty Holtman, Jon Adamson, Pete Furno, Gary Dean Moser, Bob Ahmann, Bill Hatch, Rick Hogue, Al Hale, Tip Goss, and R.W. Egelston.
Guests attending included Don Cederstrom, Sharon Clark, Marie Atwell, Danny Jenson, Francisco Santiago, Katlin Cauffman, Melva Moser, Steve Davidson, Bill Frahm, Randall from KBOI, Paul LeBlanc, Tim Hogue, Walt Baker, Doug Raper, and Mrs. Jeff Bishop.
After a delicious lunch (provided by KBCI), General Manager Larry Roberts introduced himself and had the many former KBOI/KBCI employees in attendance stand and be recognized for their past service. They included former Engineering Vice President and General Manager Jim Johntz, and his son Andy who also worked at Channel 2 for many years. Four former news, sports, and weather anchors were also there, including Marty Holtman, Larry Chase, Tom Scott, and Bill Hatch.
Later in the introduction, all 4 posed for the cameras at the current Eyewitness News Set for a “photo-opp” showing the “past” meeting the “present.” Other KBCI employees who were introduced included Vee Cederstrom who was KBOI-TV’s first traffic manager, her husband Don who worked for Channel 2 as an engineer for a time, Marie Murray-Atwell who worked for KBOI-TV in the 1960s, Larry Smith who was Chief Engineer at Channel 2 for many years, and Doug Raper who worked for KBOI radio both before and after the split of radio and television. Bill Frahm was also introduced as a former Chief Engineer for KBOI radio.
Larry then introduced a special tribute to Jeff Bishop, longtime KBOI/KBCI Employee who recently retired after 39 years of service…all at Channel 2! The special video tribute was produced by KBCI’s Eric Holbrook and was set to Elton John’s song “Friends.” The video showed old pictures of Jeff over the past 40 years, including some at KLIX radio in 1969. Jeff Bishop started at KBOI-TV in August as a “switcher” and an announcer and eventually became Operations Director of Channel 2. Jeff out-lasted 4 different owners, 7 different GMs and countless News Directors and air talent! Congratulations Jeff, we are proud to honor you as both a Member of our organization since 2006, and as a pioneer broadcaster who worked for one television station for 39 years! That is an Idaho record as far as we know!
After the video Jeff stood up and said a word or two and introduced his lovely wife Toni. He thanked everyone for 39 great years and said he loved getting up and coming to work each day, so he felt there was no need to go anywhere else. We will miss you at KBCI Jeff, but hope to see you for many years to come at Foundation meetings and events. We’d also like to thank Jeff for supplying us with the many pictures used in his video tribute. We plan to post them on the KBCI exhibit on our website under “pictures.” We also hope to have Jeff’s video tribute available for you to view.
Larry Roberts then turned the program over to President Art Gregory who introduced Jim Johntz. We then played actual 16 mm color footage of the KBOI-TV transmitter site being constructed in the summer and fall of 1953. Jimmy skillfully, and I might add lovingly, narrated the video, providing priceless commentary of this very significant and historical event. Channel 2 pioneered the transmitter site on Deer Point and was the first commercial broadcaster to transmit from there, using state of the art equipment including a microwave link to KBOI’s downtown studios. The audience sat spell bound as we listened to Jimmy explain what was happening on the screen and why certain things were built the they way there were. Thank you Jimmy Johntz! If you were not there, you missed a great program. However, we do have Jimmy’s narration available on tape, so when it is posted please click on “meeting audio” to hear it for yourself!
Next was 40th Anniversary Program KBCI produced in 1993. Art mistakenly said it was from 1983, but the show actually aired in November of 1993. Hosted by then KBCI reporter Scott Davis, the video takes you through the entire history of Channel 2 starting with the transmitter construction footage in 1953, and showing the “current” facilities 15 years ago. The audience roared when they saw Marty Holtman as “Claude Gloom” and marveled at the old news footage showing Presidents, and movie stars being interviewed on KBOI-TV. Sports Director Dick Eardley was seen interviewing Coach Lyle Smith of Boise Junior College Football fame, and Paul J. Schneider was sporting some “70;s” side burns when he appeared doing a Channel 2 sports story from the 1970s. Everyone loved the program!
Finally, we wrapped up the program by viewing the current KBCI-TV “55th Anniversary” IDs and Promos which they crowd also loved. Larry Roberts then gave some closing remarks about the present owners of KBCI, Fisher Broadcasting, and explained KBCI’s current operation, plans for the future, and shed some light on the upcoming switch to digital, which may or may not take place in February.
We then adjourned the meeting and several dozen people stayed for the
optional “tour” of the KBCI facilities, which was hosted by Larry Roberts himself and Channel 2’s Chief Engineer. We saw the newsroom. editing bays, master control, and the automated news directing system. It was fascinating!
By the way KBCI’s News Director was there and filmed portions of the meeting and a story was run on the 10:00 P.M News that night showing the 4 former anchors at the News Set!
Thank You Larry Roberts, Cheryl French, Chris is Master Control, Bob, Joe, and all at KBCI for their gracious hospitality! We are all impressed beyond words and were stuck by your kindness and courtesy to our members. This meeting itself was “history” and was captured on video by Francisco Santiago, whom we wish to thank for his excellent service.
Stay tuned for details about our next meeting .
(Photo credit: The KBCI exterior and photos of the news and control room were taken by Harold Homeier. All other photos by Rockwell Smith)