Radio 1940’s - 60’s

It was during the late 1940’s that Buddy began his radio work for Pueblo stations such as: KGHF, KDZA, and finally KCSJ.

Radio stations in the East began with the letter W, while those in the West began with the letter K. The station was founded by the Chieftain Star Journal newspaper company, therefore the call letters KCSJ. Dad met tons of Western recording artists during these early years on radio who were peddling their wares or playing town.

Here was Buddy in 1949 with some friends visiting town for a few days of concerts at Memorial Hall. Left to right: Hank Williams, a band member, an agent, Ernest Tubbs, two band members and Buddy.

This photograph was taken either at the studio of KGHF or KDZA, I think probably at KGHF.

A 1948 KGHF radio show listing just the 'Colorado Rangers'.

These are penny postcards from the late 1940’s. Listeners would send in postcards requesting Buddy and the Colorado Rangers play certain tunes on next week’s program! How communications have changed over the last seventy years!

For a short time it appears that Buddy and the Rangers were on two stations KGHF and KDZA at the same time. Here is a listing from 1949 for KDZA radio. Now he is often listed as just 'Buddy Johnson'.

Dad and his favorite mike and the ever present cigarette. I’m sure this was taken during this early radio period, probably in one of the Johnson houses on Idaho Street in 'the blocks' area of Pueblo. At one point the extended Johnson clan (Dad’s parents, and his two brothers and two sisters and Mom and Dad) occupied most of the houses on that street. He’s probably in his twenties here.

Missouri Day celebration in Fowler, Colorado July 25, 1956. Here Buddy is interviewed by his old friend Cliff Hendrix. Cliff was a good friend and in the early days of the ‘Colorado Hayride’ he MC’d the live music show of Buddy and The Colorado Rangers. Cliff was one of the very earliest DJ’s in Southern Colorado radio. An unknown musician is seen at left.

A March 1959 KSCJ radio schedule. Buddy and the band moved to KCSJ in the early 1950’s and would be on the radio there into the 1960’s. The KCSJ am radio signal was widely heard over Colorado, into Eastern Kansas and a good portion of New Mexico.

Even on the road Buddy and The Rangers represented KCSJ TV & Radio. This is from one of the gigs in New Mexico. Dad and the gang played a number of places there among them Raton, Espanola and Gallup, that I know of. I think this is when the band was in Gallup for a week in the late 1950’s at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial celebration. The crowd in the large center there was among the largest interior crowds Buddy and the Colorado Rangers ever played for estimated at over 5,000. Notice the characteristic Cadillac and trailer. This was one of his many early Cads.

On KCSJ radio Buddy had a noon radio show with visiting performers in town often stopping by for talk and sometimes to play a song or two. It was during the radio days that Buddy came to know and become friends with many of the Western music idols of the day. When he later moved into television they would make an appearance there too.

Many of the men in this 1958 ad also moved over when the TV station was established. It was the era of using local talent for the bulk of a station’s broadcasting day. KCSJ radio and later KCSJ TV was created by the owners of the Pueblo Chieftain and Star Journal newspapers, they thought it was a natural evolution in media which they wanted to be a part of. A number of these men were life long friends of ours, years later Martin Mendine was my insurance man.

A recent radio article from the 1990’s about KCSJ radio and its much vaunted history. It was separated from KCSJ TV when the TV station was purchased by an investment group including Bob Hope in the early 1960’s. At that point KCSJ TV became KOAA TV after the other TV station they owned in Colorado which was KOA TV Denver.

Here’s a 1962 radio and TV schedule which shows both the KCSJ radio schedule and the change of KCSJ TV to KOAA TV, with Buddy listed on both.

If anyone has any photographs of Buddy in a radio studio with or without the Rangers, please contact me.           © John Johnson 2019       All rights reserved.