The city of Bastrop has had several radio stations in its history, but the first one, KTRY was founded this week in 1948.
KTRY was a local station founded by Nathan Bolton and A. R. McCleary. It offered gospel, country, and news programming and served a 100 mile radius around Bastrop. It was first located on the second floor of the Morehouse Enterprise building.
KTRY held its opening on February 1, 1948, to the delight of many townspeople. Hundreds showed up for tours of the station and McCreary and Bolton spoke on the new station and its benefits. A man-on-the-street broadcast was held by Charles Blanchard, manager of station KWJC in Natchitoches.
The first broadcast was actually held in mid-January. At the time two local political candidates had spot announcements made: William B. Houston, candidate for Sheriff, and Hadley Leavell, candidate for Clerk of Court.
As the years passed the station grew featuring a mobile news and emergency unit by 1958.
In 1954 it boasted the youngest DJ, five year old Richard Livingston, who hosted Tunes for Tots every Saturday at 9:00. In 1955 it sponsored two live shows in Bastrop featuring several musicians including a young pre-fame Elvis Presley.
It ran daily from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and had several owners over the years. Shows over the years included The Story Lady hosted by Lucy Jane Harris and a rhythm and blues show hosted by Doug Risei. Several local gospel groups performed on Sundays.
KTRY was bought in 1962 by Mr. and Mrs. Mercer L. King who, along with reporting the news, rotated the station between different genres of Music.
The station was sold in 1976 to locals Norman Johnson Jr., Henry Reese, Charles Dickerson, and Henry Cotton. It then became the first minority owned station in the state. Under them the station played R&B, Jazz, and Gospel. They also broadcast talkshows such as Harambe. By this time it had moved to a new location on Shelton Road.
In 2001 it was burned down and later opened in a new location. The tower was destroyed in 2008 and broadcasts ceased.
The station may have closed but the memories still linger. Numerous locals remember the shows and hosts that made the station what it was.
It wasn't the only station located in Bastrop, but as the first it will always hold a special part in Bastrop history.