The name “Bill Buchanan” is synonymous with KSHN “Shine All Nine” radio in Liberty, Texas. He just celebrated his 78th birthday. I spoke with Bill Friday after he broadcast closing the sale of his radio station. He sold the transmitter at the top of the Devers tower, but not the building that has housed KSHN all these years at 2099 Sam Houston Avenue in Liberty.
KSHN sold to KSBJ of Humble, who will reroute the transmitter and change the format to Gospel at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 2.
Buchanan said KSBJ had contacted him many times since May and many times he turned them down. Initially, he was not ready to sell. They offered low. He countered high. There was no middle ground.
May 14, however, the radio station lost Eric Latz, a 24-year KSHN veteran who was one of the heartbeats of the station. Buchanan said, “We miss him. It would take five years to train someone to do all that Eric did here.”
With the passing of Latz and Buchanan’s birthday, he had a change of heart and called KSBJ back. They negotiated a deal that worked for both of them and had to keep the sale secret until Friday, as a condition of the sales agreement.
Buchanan said, “My biggest heartbreak is that there was not someone who wanted to buy it and keep it a local station.”
Buchanan said, “Selling a radio station and meeting requirements of the FCC can take 60 days, but we negotiated a temporary local management agreement that surrenders management to the buying party until the license acquisition moves into the hands of the buyer.”
He added KSBJ gave a nice severance package to all employees. One staff member, Tiffany York, will continue to operate the online component, streaming content at KSHN.com.
Buchanan has spent 54 years in broadcast radio and touched so many lives.
Named 2016 Pioneer of the Year by Texas Association of Broadcasters, he was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2011 and awarded the Broadcaster of the Year Award in 1995.
His first management broadcasting job was KGTN-AM Georgetown, Texas in 1969, after helping radio stations in Kentucky and Ohio. He spent some time at KBOP-AM Pleasanton and KCLT-AM Lockhart as well.
He moved his young family to Liberty in 1977 and bought KPXE-AM Liberty, with a little financial help from his brother John. Buchanan ran everything at the station. His children grew around radio and his wife, Jana, was ever present too. It was a family business.
What they did not realize at the time was that the listeners would become their family too.
Buchanan applied to the FCC in 1986 for an FM license and five years later, in 1991, his wish came true.
KSHN 99.9 FM “Shine All Nine” was born.
Sports coverage was one of Buchanan’s specialties at KPXE and later at KSHN. Buchanan pioneered split-channel sports broadcasting in November 1991, so listeners could keep up with two games, one on the left speaker and one on the right.
When he covered Dayton High School and Liberty High School on a Friday night, both games had equal and simultaneous broadcasts.
KSHN later added online broadcasts and covered even more games from KSHN.com.
Buchanan was known throughout Southeast Texas for his daily Party Line every morning from 8:30 a.m. until the show ended.
He interviewed mayors, governors, congressmen, senators, school superintendents and board members, county officials, TVE presidents and other people of interest.
Robert Schaadt, former director of the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center was on the Party Line for 27 years.
Schaadt said, “Bill loved Texas and Liberty County history. People from Orange to Galveston listened to KSHN because of the music mix.
“There will be a dead space in Liberty County without Bill Buchanan’s radio voice that promoted community service and awareness.”
At KSHN, the music did matter. The format had a unique mix of golden oldies, rock-n-roll and blues with just the right amount of news coverage. When major news happened, it took precedence and there was a little less music, but when the news calmed back down, the music returned to its place of prominence.
Buchanan always said he had done research to get the mix just right and he stuck with that story.
Listeners loved it and tuned in every day.
The “Early Bird News” began at 6:30 a.m. for a 15-minute brief on what one needed to know. News was updated throughout the day.
Buchanan understood that to make one’s business successful in a small town, or anywhere, one has to give back through service.
He is a long-time active member of the Rotary Club of Liberty that meets on Tuesdays, but every Thursday he can be found at the Rotary Club of Dayton as an honorary member. He has served in countless civic roles including the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.
KSHN’s radio auctions helped many organizations raise needed charity funds.
In the broadcasting world, Buchanan served his industry well, volunteering in many leadership positions for the Texas Association of Broadcasters, including board member and seminar host.
I asked Bill Buchanan since he has worked for so long, 24/7, and now he will have a little time, “What is on your bucket list, Bill?” He laughed and said, “Jana has been with me from the start. She hasn’t told me what is on her bucket list, but I think her bucket list is mine.”
KSHN 99.9 FM, a long-time, community voice on the airwaves will be silent and definitely missed by their family of listeners.
Best wishes to Bill Buchanan and everyone at KSHN 99.9 FM.