50 Stories for 50 Years: The Thoroughbred Hour

Jan 6, 2020


Dr. Tom Morgan with students in 1967
Credit Murray State University Shield

WKMS is celebrating 50 years on the air this year, and we’re remembering with 50 stories of the station’s history. 


Dr. Tom Morgan and his wife, Karen, in 2019 front of the celebrity board he created 5 decades before
Credit Asia Burnett

Today we go back to the infancy of WKMS and hear from one of the founding directors of the station, Dr. Tom Morgan who came to Murray in 1965 which was just a few years before WKMS went on the air.

Morgan’s father worked in the broadcasting industry, and despite Tom's hiring to work in the english department he was co-opted in working with students to create radio programming. He'd eventually go on to help design the studios that radio and television programs at Murray State still use today.


The Thoroughbred Hour in full swing in 1958.
Credit Murray State University Shield

Dr. Tom Morgan served as one of the first directors of WKMS under Dr. Ray Mofield who was chairman of Communications in the School of Arts and Science at Murray State.

Radio production (often in the form of theThoroughbred Hour) got its start in 1949 and continued through 1969 before WKMS officially went on the air.

In 1967, Dr. Tom Morgan and his students created something new, Melange - a program that was another step into the direction of what WKMS would ultimately become when it signed on in 1970.





From the 1967 Murray State Shield:

The dawn of the spring semester, 1967, saw the Radio Center’s Thoroughbred Hour put out to a well-earned pasture. In it’s place, the Radio Center staff under the supervision of “The Bluegrass Schoolmaster of the Air,” initiated the production of an entirely new sound: Melange… Whereas the old Thoroughbred Hour had concentrated primarily on music, news and sports, Melange took the radioites and their listeners to new and greener pastures, featuring weekly presentations such as documentaries (on everything from UFOs to Murray State itself), quiz shows, and weekly student and faculty panel discussion programs…  

We’ll continue our series of 50 stories for 50 years next week, you can share your memories of WKMS by filling out this form or just call us and leave a message at 270-809-2070.