KLRN/KLRU Production Photographs
An Inventory of the Collection
KLRN is the public television station in San Antonio, Texas, but originally served both San Antonio and Austin markets until a separate station, KLRU, was created for Austin.
The idea of a local public television station for Central Texas was formed in the 1950s by Dr. W.W. Jackson, an educator in San Antonio. His aim was to provide educational programming that could be used in schools. In 1953 he signed a charter to form a non-profit and in 1958 he teamed up with the University of Texas to make it a 2-city project. The organization subsisted on private contributions, donations from the Ford Foundation, and funds from subscribing schools. The first broadcasts went on the air in September 1962 after the Southwest Texas Educational Television Council had licensed KLRN-TV Channel 9. The UT-Austin Radio/Television/Film department supervised programming and operations of the organization and Professor R. F. Schenkkan served as station manager. The station's transmitter was located in New Braunfels so that it could reach both Austin and San Antonio. While primary operations were in Austin at UT, there were also studios in San Antonio at Cambridge Elementary School until 1968 when they moved to rented space at the Institute of Texas Cultures at the HemisFair.
In 1979 the Southwest Texas Public Television Council in Austin licensed a second transmitter and began KLRU-TV Channel 18 to serve the Austin area. In 1980, each station created its own governing board, organized under Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council. In 1984 the original transmitter in New Braunfels was shut down and a new one was opened in San Antonio, giving each station its own. By 1987 governance of KLRN and KLRU had officially split and the Southwest Texas Public Television Council dissolved. KLRU operated under the Capital of Texas Public Broadcasting Council and leadership of KLRN transferred to Alamo Public Telecommunications Council. KLRU continued to operate out of UT, and KRLN ran from their HemisFair studio until 1994 when they moved to a downtown San Antonio location.
In the beginning, the educational and instructional programming primarily focused on elementary school students with Spanish and science being popular subjects. 43 school districts subscribed to the programming by 1966, serving 206,000 students. Educational programming also encompassed productions of UT classes shown on closed-circuit networks. Art and chemistry demonstrations, which could show close-up views to large groups of students, were popular choices for this service.
By the 1970s, KLRN was producing many locally-focused programs. News and current events programs included "Capitol Report" and "Capitol Gallery" which debated state legislation; "Men and Ideas," which held political discussions hosted by Beulah Hodge; "Forum," which was produced by Charles Vaughn and explored the workings of local government; and "Face to Face" which was produced by Liz Kaderli. Magazine format and talk shows included "The Way People Live" which spotlighted interesting people, and "Nigh Noon," which was a morning interview show hosted by Beulah Hodge. "Austin Profile," hosted by Donna Tish, interviewed local people and "Texas Magazine," presented with KERA-TV Dallas, explored interests around the state. "Panorama 90" was another local magazine format show.
At one point in the 1970s, KLRN and KUT, Austin's public radio station, joined forces to create a joint office of black affairs. The two organizations shared a common objective to provide the local black community with relevant and beneficial programming. "In Black America" was weekly public affairs radio program hosted by Pete Williams with interviews with local, state and national leaders. It was distributed to 19 Texas radio stations and 69 other stations throughout the U.S. (This program continues to air and is one of KUT's most popular podcasts.) "Black Images" was a wide-ranging weekly television series. The radio program "Soul on Ice" was the only program for black music on Austin radio at the time.
Special interest programming for Mexican Americans included "Periodico" and "La Hora Mexicana." "Carrascolendas" was an award-winning bilingual children's series with goals of teaching Spanish and inspiring pride in Mexican American heritage. "Sonrisas" was another bilingual, bicultural series aimed at 7-12 year olds, produced by KLRN and distributed nationally.
Educational programming covered many topics other topics besides Spanish. "Khan Du!" was a four-part series aimed at children with disabilities and taught career education. It was shot in Austin and aired nationwide. It won the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Best Local Children's Program Award for 1980. Other educational programs aired in the 1970s included "Western Civilization: Majesty and Madness," "Animals and Such," "Community of Living Things," "American Heritage," "United Nations Report," "Nobody but Yourself," and "Current Issues."
KLRN/KLRU has had success with musical programming. "Sounds of Our Times" was a music series hosted by Barbara DeLaney. "Austin Symphony Backstage," produced by Eleanor Page, held discussions of music. "Austin City Limits," which taped its pilot episode with Willie Nelson in 1974, has become one of KLRU's longest running shows. Originally it featured Texas musicians, but it now showcases performers in a wide range of musical styles. Besides these locally-produced shows, KLRN also broadcast performances by various local and international performing arts organizations including the Austin Ballet Society, Trinity University Choir, the Billboard Theater in San Antonio, the Boston Pops, and the Royal Ballet Company, among others.
KLRN and KLRU both continue to operate and serve their respective communities, presenting both locally-produced shows and PBS programs. KRLU has added the additional channels KLRU-Q, KLRU-VM, and KLRU Create, and KLRN has added KLRN World, KRLN-VM, and KLRN Create. In the 2000s KLRU was continuing to produce local-interest shows, such as "Austin Now," "Central Texas Gardener," "In Context," and "Texas Monthly Talks" among other shows.
Approximately 1,200 black-and-white photographic prints, 18,000 black-and-white negatives, and 1,700 color slides and transparencies document the operations of KLRN (now KLRU), including their productions and station staff, from 1968 to 1984. Photographic prints primarily consist of contact sheets, but there are some finished 5x7" and 8x10" prints and some test prints. Negatives are black-and-white 35mm and 120 format film. Most sets of negatives have matching contact sheets, although there are some negatives without prints and some prints without negatives. Transparencies are primarily 35mm, both mounted and unmounted, with some 120 format. There are a few color prints. The bulk of the collection is photographic material, but some notes and manuscript items are scattered throughout.
The bulk of the photographs document the television shows produced by KLRN in the 1970s. Images are primarily shots of the programs in progress, including show hosts, actors, and guests on set. Images also depict camera operators, technical crew, equipment, and other behind-the-scenes views. There are some images of people having their makeup done before the shows and a few shots of studio audiences. "Carrascolendas" is the most well documented program. Photographs of this program include audition photographs of children, portraits of adult actors, production stills, views of sets, and behind the scenes shots of crew members, all for multiple years of production.
In addition to the photographs of the regular programs, Series I also contains documentation of special events and special programs. For example, there are photos of the Tokyo String Quartet in the studio, a program covering the 1972 Texas elections, and a special program with Barbara Conrad. There is a folder of images of William F. Buckley, host of the nation-wide program "Firing Line," presumably taken during the filming of an episode at KLRN studios in 1973. There are also a few folders of images of the televised auctions the station used to hold to raise money. It should be noted that the documentation of programs such as "Austin Desegregation Special" or election coverage only includes photos of the show hosts and guests; they do not include other photos of the subject matter itself.
Beyond the production photographs there are also images documenting staff and general operations. A few folders are dedicated to specific staff members and departments, but the bulk of the staff photos are unidentified portraits. The files related to general operations include photos taken for Schedule, the station's member magazine, various shots of Austin and San Antonio, and some slides used for title sequences. The folders "Archival Pics" and "Untitled - Misc." contain a variety of photographs including additional unidentified production photos, staff photos, and behind-the-scenes shots. The folder "Instructional" contains images of students and adults in classrooms, presumably related to early educational-focused programming, including scenes at Holy Spirit School in San Antonio and students from Fulmore Junior High School in Austin. The folder "Charles Umlauf" consists of portraits of the sculptor at work, possibly taken for a special program although this is speculative.
Most photographs do not have identifications beyond the folder title. Photographs were primarily taken by Anna Belle Kritser and David A. Eberhard, but other KLRN staff or contract photographers whose work appears in the collection include Dennis Hart, Tom Holt, Tim Hurst, Lance Moreland, Russell Phegan, Bob Selby, Jim Seymour, Bill Williams, Frank Wolfe, and others with only partial identifications.
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Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
KLRN/KLRU Production Photographs (AR.2012.005). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1997/095
Donation Date: 9 July 2003, unknown
Finding aid created and encoded by Nicole Davis/September 2015.
Detailed Description of the Collection