Ozarks Public Television (OPT) will premiere a locally-produced documentary on the history of Springfield, Missouri radio station, KWTO.
“KWTO-Legendary Live Country Radio” will be broadcast on OPT at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 and will repeat at 3 p.m. Jan. 30.
The documentary presents the early days of a Midwest station that would become a broadcasting powerhouse.
Through the creative efforts of broadcast entertainment pioneers, such as Ralph Foster and Si Siman, the station discovered and showcased many performers who went on to become national successes.
The era is a since-unseen period of spontaneous, authentic, live radio entertainment performances before records filled the airways.
“It’s been a privilege for Ozark Public Television to help share this engaging story,” said Tom Carter, OPT programming and production manager. “Our program provides an opportunity to experience an unusual and exciting time in our local broadcast history—a time capsule of sorts.”
A tribute to local history
The documentary is presented through researched narration and insightful personal reflections. Archival audio examples and photos supplement the telling of KWTO history.
“Preservation of local history is central to OPT’s mission,” said Rachel Knight, OPT general manager. “Documenting the stories of our region – told by the individuals who lived them – is both an honor and a responsibility.”
The program is made possible through the gracious participation of many individuals and area archives, and the generous financial support of project funders.