KFVS Radio Tower

The old KFVS Radio tower on Highway 61 just as you’re coming down the hill toward Cape lets you know you are just about home. I’m always glad to see it still standing. I hope it’s designated some kind of landmark so it’ll be preserved.

Site of old KFVS-TV antenna

The last time I was home, I saw that the land where the original KFVS-TV tower was located was being cleared. I tried to see if the big concrete anchors for the guywires were around, but they must have been pulled out or buried.

What was KFVS’s sign-off song?

Trivia question that’s been bugging me for years. Every night, KFVS Radio would sign off with the same song. When you heard that come on, you knew it was time you’d better be getting your date home.

I think it might have been Wonderland by Night, but I’m not sure. Anybody want to hazard a guess? Better yet, does anybody KNOW what it was?

70 Replies to “KFVS Radio Tower”

  1. I still think it was “Harlem Nocturne”, the Less and Larry Elgart version.

    Usually, though, my radio was tuned to KXOK and Johnny Rabbit.

  2. Another landmark along old Hwy 61 gone. Newer generations will wonder why we “old-timers” call that hill-“KFVS Hill”.

  3. When I worked for KFVS radio in the early 70’s, the sign-off song was “Stranger On The Shore”. I can’t remember the artist’s name, just that he played the clarinet. Speaking of towers, when I worked for Mr. Hirsch performing maintenance, I rode the elevator up and down the 1600′ tower changing the light bulbs (yes, the tower had a two-person elevator, radio controlled). What a view! Too bad I was afraid of heights!

    1. John, You are a two-fer winner.

      After listening to it, I am almost positive that it was Stranger on the Shore by Acker Bilk. Thanks.

      I came sooooo close to taking that ride to the top of the KFVS tower.

      I asked KFVS for permission to take the ride when I was working for The Jackson Pioneer. By the time the OK came, I was working at The Missourian.

      The Missourian refused to acknowledge the compeition by name – they were known as “a local radio station” or a “local television station.” That nixed my ride.

      I wish I’d have gone up on my own, just for the experience of it.

  4. I really like the old tower as well. I used to live on Boulder Crest Drive in the 1970’s and have watched that area change through the years. There is one concrete anchor remaining at the site. It is to the west of the property in Cape County Park South. It is in a low area and is covered with small plants to keep it hidden from view.

  5. Didn’t realize that was a radio tower…just assumed it was some kind of TV gizmo, since I wasn’t around when KFVS was on radio. Didn’t know until this blog that they started on radio. What year did they switch from radio to tv? Did they drop the radio station when they went to tv? Learning so much from your blogs!

    1. Toni,

      Glad to be contributing to your education. KFVS Radio came into being in 1924 or 1925, depending on which account you read.

      There wasn’t anything like “easy listening” in those days. All of the broadcasts were in Morse Code, so you’d drive around having to translate dots and dashes into words.

      (OK, I was just kidding about that last part.)

      When most of my readers and I were growing up, we were listening to KFVS and KGMO locally or stations out of St. Louis or Chicago at night.

      See http://www.capecentralhigh.com/students/johnny-rabbitt-day-march-13-1966/ for more info.

      KFVS Radio became KZIM in 1985.

      KFVS-TV cranked up in 1954. Its transmitter was located on the hill I describe here. The KFVS tower near Oriole held the title of World’s Tallest Manmade Structure (with lots of asterisks) from 1960 to 1962.


  6. This brings back memories!
    The sign off song was”Manhattan Lullaby” and Murel Emery signed of. at 12:00 am

  7. My uncle Jim Haman was a television cameraman for KFVS up to the time he bought the old Kassel’s Studio down on Main Street. When KFVS was building the new broadcast tower “Towering 2000 feet above average terrain”, Uncle Jim took us all out to the construction site. What a view!
    The tower that remains at the old site on US 61 was not the television tower. The original tower stood approximately 600 yards farther west. Until this evening I never knew that KFVS got its call sign from the fact that their signal could be picked up in FiVe States.

    1. Keith,

      Yep, the structure with KFVS on it was the radio antenna.

      When the TV tower on that hill was built, I was told that some of the homes in the immediate area couldn’t get reception. If that was true, I’m assuming that they might have been so close that they were in the “shadow” of the tower and the signal went right over them.

  8. When I worked for KFVS-TV I had the dubious honor of taking a ride up the elevator to the top on the antenna platform. The actual antenna was 150 feet above the tower platform. I took still photos of the antenna tower before and after it was painted and documenting lightening strikes on the tower. You can imagine a structure that big being the largest lightening rod around would have some lightening “bites” on it. There was an out of town tower crew there the day I went up and while I rode inside the elevator (nothing more than a cage that was open on all sides that ran up the triangle structure) and the guy who was working on the tower rode on the outside of the cage. I asked him why and he said, “if it fails at least I will be outside of the cage and have a better chance of surviving the fall.” The ride up took 30 minutes. It was estimated that an average man could climb the tower ladder but it would take 3 hours to reach the antenna platform. When I reached the top I was amazed at how much room there was. The platform was triangular in shape but was the size of a backyard deck and the view was everything of “2,000 feet above average terrain” that the sign-off announcement boasted each night. While on top I asked the guy how long it would take to hit the bottom if let’s say a person did fall from the platform. “Funny you should ask” he said “we are stringing new guy wire and we had an empty wooden spool up here and instead of lowering it down we decided to drop it off. The spool weighed 150 pounds, average weight of man. It took thirty seconds to hit the ground below.” He then proceeded to tell me that it was not unusual for the tower to get hit by lightening on a clear day. I took photos of the flash burns on the steel where lightening had struck it in the past and how the repairs were being made. On the half hour ride down he said that the first trip up the tower they made they had to clear out a lot of large wasps nests before they could go on higher and a couple of large bird nests as well. Needless to say but fun to mention, the experience was great. Originally when the tower was first built (and that is a story in itself) visitors could go to the tower and take a ride up to the top. Once they returned to the bottom they were given a certificate that made them a member of the Tower Club.

  9. Never knew untill reading this that someonecold ride up the tower and become a member of the “Tower Club”.

  10. So the old tower is still up? I still remember seeing it when my dad would drive us down from Illinois to Cape to visit my grandmother. She lived on harmony across from what used to be a gas station at broadway.

    For a while in the sixties, dad would end up driving us to the new tower. I still remember our first trip there. I remember they used to give rides up there but I never got to go up.

    I heard a rumor that the new tower went down in the 70’s although I’m sure that’s probably wrong.

    Haven’t been to cape since we buried grandmother in ’87. Guess I’ll have to stop down!

    1. Tim,

      The tiny radio antenna just coming into town is still there.

      The TV tower that was located on the hill near it is gone.

      What was once the world’s tallest man-made structure is still pumping out a signal.

  11. One of the greatest adventures (1965) experienced. I was with a KFVS Cameraman Jerry ? and I don’t think the activity was sanctioned by the Station… but do remember it was a good 30 minute ride up in the open caged small elevator then step out on the deck for a beatiful but windy/scary 360 view. I elected not to climb the actual antenna which extended above the tower platform another 100′ or so but one would have to climb it to change the strobe lights if needed. I also remember the cage moved up in jerks as if being pulled-up by someone (beleive it was on battery power at the time) becaus no one was around. I left the Country shortly after that experience for another scary adventure as I received my draft notice from Uncle Sam and surrived that experience as well. Glad to know the KFVS Tower & me are still standing Tall.

  12. Yesiree, that monster is almost right in our backyard. We have a little ol farm, about 2 miles away from it so we see it every day. Been there a few times and it’s a very beautiful spot.Noisey though. Whats really wierd is, when you stand under it and look up (Breaking your neck), it’s so tall, the you get disey and want to fall backwards. An interesting story from one of my friends,that lives at the bottom of the road told me. He was having a few beers one cold winter day, on his horse up there. As he proceeded to grab another beer, from his pouch on the saddle,he kept hearing these strange noises. As he sat there having a cold one, he happened to glance at an icesicle, right next to him sticking in the ground. He then looked up and a mass of them were falling off the approx. 2″ dia. cables, to hold it down. Needless to say, he went on his way. The icesicle’s were around 6″ in dia. and approx. 3′-5′ long. Talk about a dangerous day at the tower. When the winds blow hard, you should hear the noisey thing. It makes all kinds of tunes and strange noises. Also when the breeze is coming in from the southeast in the summer, you can hear the massive cooling fans running to keep the transformers cool up there. I often wondered, if she ever fell our way, would it land in the backyard? LOL And talk about heart palpatations!!

  13. Oh and I forgot to tell y’all. Someone asked if they still let people up there and the answer is NO! Everything is gated, fenced in with No tresspassing sighns. I reckon there were too many kids having beer parties goin on up there. And with all the lawsuits these days, that ruined it for everything.

  14. Doug:

    You say you were up there though? How long ago? Any way you could post some pictures?

    I have an old super8 movie that I shot in the very early 70’s. A shot of the tower from the top of the hill is in there. I had that movie transferred to VHS a number of years ago. If i can find it, I’ll see about converting it and uploading it…

    and yes, when I was shooting the video, i remember leaning way back!

    My grandmother was with us. She found some underwear on teh ground…and commented that it must’ve scared the pants of someone!

  15. Hey Tim,
    The last time I was up there was early this fall, on my four wheeler (only way) and I didn’t bring my phone with me. I won’t be goin up there until this spring, when it gets warmer, as my back won’t take the ride in the cold.
    The next time I’m there, I’ll definately bring the phone and also make sure it’s a clear day. I took my son there back in 07 and it was overcast, so we couldn’t see the whole height of it. For years now I’ve been try to get a pic of a lightning strike, from our backyard but the luck of that is like hitting the lottery.
    Can’t wait to see your video of that.Oh and I’ll be sure not to wear any underware when I go back LOL.

  16. Doug: I see…you “cheat” and get around the fence on your four wheeler? Don’t blame you!

    I’ll look around for the video later today. I hope I can find it. Not sure I marked it!

  17. Tim, That’s definately it, but not from the very top of it tough. Looks like around half way up. It also appears to be when it was under construction, as you can see the excavation work below. So that had to be around 1962. Also the color has changed. It’s all aluminum in color now. However I think they installed a new tip on it, in the last 6-8 mos. The new tip now is bright orange. I just noticed it this past summer, when we were in the pool. If and when we get a nice day, I’ll check it out more and take pics. My phone will store around 600 pics, so there’s no problem there.

  18. You bet there Ken. Well y’all know where I’m at, where y’alls at by the way. Might as well keep this here blog a goin I reckon.

  19. I used to have a postcard that we picked up at the transmitter building…it was a picture of the whole tower.

    I *wish* I could find it!

  20. HI. Love this site. The KFVS Radio sign-off instrumental which played on a worn out audio cart for many years just before the “Local News Final” at 11:55pm then followed by Sam Swan’s recorded sign-off and National Anthem was called “Lost In The Night”. I have that 45 SOMEWHERE and actually used it for the sign-off of one of our radio stations in Memphis. It had a blue label. If I am not mistaken, I believe it was actually supplied by SESAC which used to release instrumental recording to radio stations. The original KFVS radio tower (the original TV tower built in ’54 was located about 500ft NW from the radio tower) now standing on 61 N was the twin to the tower still located behind the original KFVS Radio/TV building in downtown Cape. When the radio station’s transmission site was constructed on N Kingshighway, the KFVS 1210AM radio wave was created by connecting a wire between the two towers. Later, one of the two radio towers was moved to accomodate the early Ch 12 microwave antenna which, again, is still standing at 310 Broadway. KFVS operated at 1210, 1370, 1400 and in 1948, changed frequencies for the final time and began operating from the three tower array in E. Cape, IL to 960khz at 1kw. In 1960, 960’s power was increased to 5kw and continues to operate at those same parameters today. If you want to know about KFVS, I am your guy! Hope you all have a great week. By the way, the KFVS call letters never stood for anything. They were issued by Herbert Hoover prior to the formation of the FCC.


  21. Just noticed that Google Earth has updated the photo of the tower. Much clearer. Do I see an observation deck of sorts up there? Looks like a platform with railing…

  22. I’m going to repost something because I asked a question and don’t see it here now…

    The satellite photos at Google Earth have been updated and the tower is much more visible. It looks like there is an observation platform near the top. I believe I see some railing. Is this right?

  23. Something is wrong with how I view this thread…I’ve gotten email for three or four new comments but when I come here to see them, the last comment is from William Pollack on January 13th of this year.

    I can read the new comments in email but can’t see them here! Wonder what’s up?

    Found Jim Patton’s comment from Oct 31st and reread it. Yes, that is an observation platform. I guess that point didn’t register with me when I first read it!

    I’ll trust this gets posted. I can’t see anything past the jan 31st post by William Pollack…

  24. Ok I can see the thread correctly now. Ken told me about Ctrl F5. I wasn’t seeing all the posts!

    Thanks Ken!

  25. On June 9th, 2010, John Hoffman said “When I worked for KFVS radio in the early 70′s, the sign-off song was “Stranger On The Shore”. I can’t remember the artist’s name, just that he played the clarinet. ”

    In case someone else didn’t answer already, Acker Bilk was the name of the clarinetist, unless there was another one. The song is at iTunes. I bought it. Or just hear it at Youtube.

  26. Seeing that new photo at Google Earth reminds me of how queezy I’d get just getting near that thing when we were there. Butterflys. Not sure why except you are overwhelmed with how big it is!

    I never could get myself to walk up all the way to the fence around that tower!

  27. The tower featured on this page is one of the two original KFVS radio towers when located on Highway 61 North. They were used until 1947 when KFVS switched from 1400AM to 960AM with towers and transmitters located in East Cape. The original TV tower (’54-’60) was located directly north and across the street from the radio tower pictured. There was also a twin tower to the radio which was later moved and still stands behind the TV studio station location at 310-325 Broadway.

  28. Well, I’ve been flying over the KFVS Mast over the past few days…and the KEZS tower. Of course, this is only Flight Simulator I’m doing it in…!

    Kinda bad because they have both masts the same height or close. Best I can tell, Flight Sim has the KFVS tower at about 1100 or 1200 feet which is about 500 short. But at least it’s there.

    I got the coordinates from Google and “flew” right there!

  29. Lost in the Night…
    The slow instrumental played on KFVS Radio for decades prior to their Midnight sign-off was “Lost In the Night”. I believe I am attaching it to this note. If not, someone please tell me how to attach a song I have saved on my computer!

    [Editor’s note: I fixed the spelling typo you requested. I don’t think you can attach a file and I’m afraid that posting the song might run into copyright issues. I’ll look around to see if there is some way to link to the song legally. I’m on the road right now, so it might take a while. Thanks for the info, though.]

  30. Does anyone know what years KAPE AM 1550 and KGIR AM 1220 first signed on and have a call letter history for these two stations? I have a background in broadcasting and I always like doing research on various radio stations in my home state of Missouri.

  31. Steve – 1220AM was originally allocated for KGMO-AM. It signed on the air in 1951. The original 1220 tower was later re-engineered along with the addition of a short co-located tower in order to create a slight directional pattern to accomodate the station’s move to 1550AM. It is still utilized at the studios on S. Kingshighway. The original 1220 250 watt transmitter is also still housed in the current KGMO studio building. In the early 60’s (I will have to research to verify), KGMO-AM on 1220 switched frequencies to 1550 in order to achieve a power increase from 250 to 5000 watts. On June 10th, 1966 KZYM signed on the air operating on the abandoned 1220 frequency. Its transmitter and tower are located in E. Cape Girardeau, IL along the same road as the 960AM three tower array. As I recall, the KGMO-AM call letters were changed by its current owner in the 1980’s.

  32. I remember going out to the tower on a sunday with my Mother and Father shortly after it opened the gate was open and there were alot of people there I wanted to ride to the top but Mother said that was too high. I remember going in the transmitter room with all the knobs and the vaccum tubes . There was a picture of the kfvs tower comparing it to the empire state building, the last time I was up there a few years ago i look in the window of the door and that empire state picture was still ther.

  33. Follow this link to a web page that I have put up regarding the tall television tower.


    You will see an in depth article that was published in December 1961 by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). the publication was directed specifically to customers that buy Radio/Television Broadcast Equipment. Unless you owned a Radio or Television Station, you probably never got to see these pictures.

    RCA sold the tower to KVFS and acted as General Contractor for its’ construction.

  34. Doug Brace, the aluminum tower with the orange antenna you’re talking about belongs to the region’s Fox affiliate, KBSI-TV 23. That tower is home to KBSI’s analog and digital signals. Additionally, KEZS-FM (102.9) broadcasts from an antenna mounted about 900′ up the tower. That’s the tower with white strobe lights that is visible from Interstate 55 between the Cape airport and exit 105 at Fruitland. I actually worked as a master control operator at KBSI in 2001 & 2002. It’s studio is in southern Cape. As the overnight guy, I was the one who got the false alarms that the tower lights were out. So I was always sticking my head out the door to look for the flashing white strobe on top.

    The KFVS tower is located about two miles east of KBSI’s tower. KFVS is still painted in red and white bands and is the taller of the two towers by about 200 feet. It is just west of Trail of Tears State Park, on the west side of Missouri Highway 177. Like KBSI, the KFVS tower is clearly visible from all lanes of I-55.

  35. Hello again:

    My wife and I went down to Arkansas for a wedding this past friday. We made a swing through Cape two days ago (Monday June 23). Tried to go up to the tower but there is a gate at blackfoot. I knew it was a long shot, the gate was there last time around, 27 years ago.

    Doug, did you ever get more pictures?

  36. I was an electrical pre engineering student when the tower was built and I was a DJ on KFVS radio 960 every week day from 6pm-midnight signoff, Saturdays noon to signoff, Sundays were the fun days signed on at 6am and off at midnight. Shack and tower across river in IL used to kick off air in storms and had to run down the hall to dial the phone codes to turn filament and plate voltages back on for the transmitter quite often. I did it all: answer phone, pick records, get news off AP and UP teletypes, cue tapes etc. for ads, type up the official minute to minute FCC logs, take care of the emergency network and was paid huge sum of $1 per hour. After midnight walked to my basement apartment across from Broadway Street movie theatre and had fun opening the stoplights changing them to blinking before the cops got there to do it. Ralph Hirsch was radio manager, Oscar Hirsch owned it all plus I think 5 more radio stations and 2000 ft. TV tower built while I was there to cover 5 states with 316,000 watts r.f. power. Studio building on Broadway was declared a fire hazard by the city. I loved the job. Later worked at Western Electric Co. in K.C., MO, got my FCC First Class Radiotelephone license and taught at Grantham School of Electronics. Was chief eng. for WLEM Emporium, PA; KCGM Columbia, MO (where graduated BSEE from MSU), WEOK Poughkeepsiem NY, worked many jobs since with last one building HV cable&wire 700 employee factories from ground up in Bangkok & Rayong Thailand and Yantai China plus consulting worldwide.. Got my ham license K9EDI when in grade school in Mounds, IL-afterward W9MKI, W0BLG, W3EPW, W1FJT. Visited KFVS studio recently and sad to learn Hildagard Bader
    now deceased. She was so great greeting everyone in those days, prepared the radio logs. Most of the time though at night only 2 people in the building: radio DJ and guy down the hall that changed slides etc. on TV (you never saw him). TV programs mostly came of course through the phone company service. News guys were there for evening TV news though. I recall everyone was friendly. Oscar’s picture is now on the wall as founder. Newspaper said he got $25 million when sold. When in KC, MO I was surprised one day when putting money in a parking meter and was stopped by someone who recognized my voice when I was talking. Small world.

    1. I worked those same shifts at KFVS radio while in high school (College High) and college (SEMO), approximately 1957-1963. Went on to a long career in radio, several years in major markets. I worked every night and Saturdays and Sundays, as Terry mentioned. Great memories. Ralph Hirsch was manager and I remember Hildegard, too. I was technically inclined also. Went on to be Chief Engineer at KOMA, Oklahoma City and WQAM Miami, both Storz stations. Moved family to Decatur, IL in 1971 and was Chief at WDZ and built WDZQ-FM Decatur, Taught Electronics at Richland Community College.

        1. Hey Fred…. I remember you. I worked at WDZ/WDZQ in the late 70’s. My dad Charlie worked there too. It would be fun to hear from you if you have a chance. markmuck@charter.net

          Mark Muckensturm
          Edwardsville, IL

  37. After graduating from the Mizzou J-School in 1975, Dean Speidel offered me a job at KFMP-FM. I was desperate for work so I did the newscasts there for about a year and a half before moving on to WHO in Des Moines. I know both Dean and the station are long gone. Does anybody there remember the street or address of the house where the station was located?

  38. I also worked at KFMP when I was a teen. Learned quite a bit from Mr. Speidel. I believe KFMP’s location was in what was known as the Linden Bld. just up the street from Howard’s Athletic Goods.

    1. William, I’m not sure when KFMP would have been located there. I worked there when it was being run out of a house in a residential area. The automation was on the first floor in what would have probably been a living room area. The newsroom was upstairs, more or less in the attic. I think the house was somewhere in the vicinity of Sunset.

      1. Jack!

        You are right, that is the second house they were located in. I think it was on Sunset. You and I used to hang out there. I remember that your morning news scooped everyone.

        All the best,
        Thom Price/Thom Bishop KGMO

      2. I worked for Mr. Speidel as a teen at KFMP. It was in a house as described by Mr. Kuenzle. The automation system was pretty amazing for it’s day.

  39. Does anyone have any recollection or records regarding a completion date for the TV mast? I have a link to online versions of the S.E. Missourian…given to me by a cousin some years ago due to some coverage regarding my biological grandfather.

    I hear conflicting reports that the tower was completed in 1960. Others say 1962. I’d like to research articles about this by the Cape newspaper.

    Earlier in this post, I had commented that I had taken an old Super8 movie of the tower during a visit to Cape…and had it converted to VHS. Still don’t know where it is!



    1. Tim – The KFVS-TV tower was completed in 1960. For about two years, it was the world’s tallest man made structure.

  40. Jack – Yes, KFMP was located at the corner of Sunset and Independence in a residential area. Prior to that location, it was just up the street from Howard’s Athletic Goods in two story Victorian green home. I remember it was called the Linden House. The automation and offices were on the second floor.

  41. Wonderful posts! I have been watching now since 1960, when our T.V. tech came and installed our first antennae and television. He put in a single tuned channel 12 antenna and a single tuned channel 6 antenna and I was the happiest 13 year old in Ripley county Missouri. The tv was a Curtis Mathis 23″ console, Black and white of course no color sets in those days that I had ever seen. Channel 12 was pretty much rock solid except for some daytime snow and some atmospheric problems with the ionosphere. Channel 6 was pretty much a night time station unless it was cloudy. I found an old brochure for KFVS in one of my mothers kitchen drawers and I wish I could attach it with this post. “See the worlds tallest structure! One of the wonders of the modern world. The KFVS-TV tower located near Cape Girardeau.”
    Facts about the tower:
    Over 2,250,000 pounds of concrete and steel were used in building the tower base and the six guy cable anchors. That’s about 500 cubic yards of concrete.
    The television tower is 204 feet higher than the Empire State Bldg. and 692 feet higher than the Eiffel tower.
    The tower stands exactly 1676.55 feet tall when measured at 100 degrees fahrenheit. It will shrink as much as six inches when the temperature drops to zero.
    The hill which the tower stands on is 810 feet above sea level and is the highest point in Cape Girardeau County. This puts the top of the tower 2486.55 feet above sea level.
    Each 30-foot section, some of the heavier ones weighing over 14,000 pounds, was raised as a unit and set in place at the top of the structure.
    18 guy cables support the worlds tallest structure. They are about 1 3/4 inches in diameter and total five miles in length.
    Weight of the tower and the downward pull of the guy cables exert a pressure of over 2,000,000 pounds on the base.
    Minimum yield point of the Manten Steel used in the tower is 45,000 pound per square inch.
    The antenna at the top is connected to the transmitter by a 6 1/2 inch copper coaxial transmission line. This copper tube is filled with nitrogen gas under pressure.
    The traveling wave antenna , 92 feet long and weighing 6 1/2 tons, was raise into place in just 45 minutes.
    A two man elevator is located at the center of the tower. It takes over 20 minutes to reach the observation platform near the top…. the longest elevator ride in the world.
    The tower was erected in 2 1/2 months without serious injury to any of the workmen.
    The tower was designed and build by Dresser-Ideco Company of Columbus , Ohio and erected by the Seago Construction Company of Dallas Texas.
    A team of Missouri Mules was used to drag the guy cables down the steep hillside.
    2,718,335 people live within the 100 microvolt circle of KFVS-TV’s signal. They live in Missouri, Illinois , Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Indiana.
    The area covered is 30,700 square miles , comprising 76 counties in SIX states.

    1. “A team of Missouri Mules”…those were led by my Grandpa.

      My memory at 67 years old is not so good anymore, but perhaps 20 or 25 years ago, on a little hill in Oriole looking out at the KFVS tower, I learned this after we buried my maternal Grandmother, Freda Trickey. She was buried beside my Grandfather, Claude Trickey.

      As we looked out at the tower towering above us, I learned this that day from my Uncle Jerry Trickey, also now departed.

      First, irrelevant to this story, I learned that my Grandpa Trickey was also a moonshiner, as was his father, and that my father, Don Blankenship (also departed), drove delivery routes for them across the Mississippi Bridge. That was shocking.

      Second, more shocking, I heard the story about Grandpa using a team of mules to help raise the tower. I have no idea whether Jerry was there to watch it, and I don’t recall his mention of guy cables (dragging the guy cables down the steep hillside may have been the extent of the work for my Grandpa’s mule team), but I’d bet this effort lasted a few days.

      I also don’t know how many mules were used or whether he borrowed mules from other farmers to get the job done. That said, I’ll try to recall what I heard Uncle Jerry say.

      I think he said it had been raining a fair amount, whether before or during the raise, which caused complications and delays. I believe he said those in charge of erecting the tower began their attempt to do everything with tractors only, but due to the steep terrain and mud, the tractors could not get the traction they needed to raise it. I can imagine it became quite an engineering problem.

      How my Grandpa got introduced into the problem I’ll never know, but he and his team of mules were apparently called on and got the job done. What a relief that must have been for all.

      As a postscript, Grandpa Trickey had a series of small farms around Cape which we rarely visited as my mom (also departed) hated the farm life. However, I do remember a few times seeing some massive mules which he used for plowing.

      Today, in light of these postings, I sure wish Grandpa Trickey was still around so I could ask him about the challenges.


      I’ve included a 2022 news item about KFVS founder Oscar Hirch below which has some excellent history on KFVS Radio and Television.


      Thanks, everyone, for your postings!

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