KVAL-TV celebrates 60 years on the air

KVAL-TV celebrates 60 years on the air »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- On April 15, 1954, KVAL went on the air from Blanton Heights in South Eugene.

Even with a total broadcasting staff of 15 members, the biggest challenge in the early days was growing an audience. Not too many people in Eugene had television sets in the mid-1950s.

When KVAL-TV first started, all of the local programs and commercials were done live.

The line-up featured mostly local programming, with such shows as Chef Gino, Cooking Capers, Let's Go Fishing and Guest Book, which was later hosted by Mary Krenk.

“Charles Schultz was one of my most fun interviews,” said Mary Krenk. “Mr. Schultz is the creator of the wonderful Peanuts cartoons."

KVAL was also home to the region’s first local afternoon kids show - Red Reynolds and his Big Roundup.

Ask any kid who grew up in this area during the 60's, they will tell you the king of the afternoon was Captain Shipwreck, starring Gordon Bussey as “Captain”.

“I made a beard and eyebrows and started out Monday going, ‘Ahoy there mates, and welcome to shipwreck island for an afternoon of fun and good times!’ and that was all I had,” said Bussey.

When KVAL News first started, a typical newscast was less than 15 minutes long.
One person left a permanent mark on the role of KVAL’s local TV news, from black & white to the latest technology.

For more than 40 years, John Doyle was an icon in local TV News.

“I had an opportunity to talk to some national figures at times. I got to visit with Nixon, I got to visit with Kennedy before he was president,” said Doyle.

With new technology, the television business will continue to evolve and at KVAL. We're celebrating our first 60 years, and are excited about the changes still to come.