Gordon McLendon is considered the creator of format radio and one
of the most innovative programmers in the mediums history.
McLendon was born on June 8, 1921, in Paris, Texas and purchased
station KNET/Palestine in 1946. The following year, McLendon moved
to Dallas and launched KLIF. Unable to afford live baseball broadcasts,
McLendon adopted an on-air personality known as The Old Scotchman
and aired re-creations of games with the help of sound effects and
wire service reports. These re-creations were later heard on over
400 stations via the short-lived Liberty Broadcasting System.
In the early 1950s, McLendon made KLIF one of Americas first
Top 40 stations. The polished format, along with fast-paced
news and personality disc jockeys, quickly made KLIF
Dallas top-rated station. McLendon maintained KLIFs
high profile by spending thousands of dollars every month on headline-grabbing
stunts and contests.
KLIFs success led McLendon to explore other radio formats.
In 1959, he created the beautiful music format for KABL/San
Francisco. In the early 1960s, he started the first all-news
radio station at WNUS/Chicago. One of WNUS reporters was future
CNN anchor Bernard Shaw.
Gordon McLendon died on September 14, 1986.
Gordon McLendon was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
courtesy of the Library of American Broadcasting.
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