On Terrible Tuesday, One Radio Station Provided a Voice to Reassure a City
The memories of April 10, 1979 are as fresh today as they ever were. I don't know a single person who was in Wichita Falls, Vernon or Seymour, Texas that day that cannot tell you exactly where.
We were at my grandmother's home, out of the damage path but still able to see the vicious, black storm bearing down on our city. The air felt thick but calm. My mom called me in from the back yard. We were preparing to head to my uncle's house just a couple of blocks away.
Bill Warren was the 'weather guy' at KFDX. I remember hearing him say that the sirens were about to sound in Wichita Falls. Seconds later, the power went out. We raced down the street and joined at least a dozen other people in my uncle's back yard, preparing to get into the cellar.
The tornado had severed power to all of Wichita Falls as it plowed into the city. The only broadcast station we could listen to during and after the storm was KTRN 1290 AM. The station, now known as News Talk 1290, broadcast updates and information to a crippled community.
KTRN had a backup generator and the late air personality James Bond gave listeners a live report just minutes after the mile-wide demon destroyed a quarter of the city, killing 42 and injuring hundreds.