A Texoma radio personality is going into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. Newschannel 6 got a chance to sit down with a man whose voice has filled the air in Wichita Falls for more than 5 decades.
Joe Tom White started his radio career while he was still in college at Midwestern State. He got a "Farm Show on KWFT 620am, at night.
"Keep in mind, the farmers about noon is the latest you're going to get the markets. Early morning and noon that's it. So, they gave me one at 6:15 in the evening. It was okay. At least I had my own show," says White.
That all happened in 1959. As they say, since then it's has all been broadcasting history. Joe Tom has worked for three different radio stations and had a five year stint in the mornings on Newschannel Six. For the last 23 years he has been the first local voice heard on Newstalk 1290 during the week. A lot has changed since those early days of broadcasting.
"We had old reel to reel tapes" said White. "We thought we had it made when we got those little cassettes, and eight track cassettes. Then all of a sudden everything now is on the computer. You can pull up everything you want. Stories, things you've saved, commercials, everything is all done by computer now."
Joe Tom got some early advice from the man who hired him. He has carried it with him for almost six decades.
"When you get on radio you do your thing. Be your thing. If listeners like you on the radio, and don't like you when you're in person or meet you, then you're never going to make it. Be the same. Be good, bad or ugly. Whatever you are out in public that's the way you have to be on the air," White says.
We asked Joe Tom what the secret was to a 50-plus career, and his answer was very Joe Tom White.
"Work cheap and get up early," White laughed as he said. "I will be honest with you Chris Horgen, every morning my alarm goes off at 4:00 a.m. Lots of mornings I have to argue with myself, do I jerk that thing out of the wall and just hang it up right here? Is this the last morning? Or, do I really get up and get dressed and go? So, I still have to argue with myself about that."
The Hall of Fame induction is not until November. To get in, you have to be nominated, then voted in by your peers. As far as we could find, Joe Tom White will be the first ever Wichita Falls broadcaster to make it into the hall. Congratulations Joe Tom.