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Home News-Telegram News Bill Bradford's impact felt beyond boundaries of Hopkins County

Bill Bradford's impact felt beyond boundaries of Hopkins County

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News-Telegram Staff Writer
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    For more than 65 years, the gravelly voice of Bill Bradford has chronicled the life and lives of Sulphur Springs. Today that voice is silent.
    Bill Bradford, know to most as Brad, came to Sulphur Springs and KSST in 1948 and, in the years that followed, had a profound impact on Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County.
    His effect and impact on the broadcasting industry spread well beyond the boundaries of Hopkins County and the state.

    In November, 2005, Brad was recognized for his more than a half century as an announcer, newscaster, weatherman, sportscaster and radio station owner at the annual awards dinner of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame Council of Advisors, where he was installed in that organization's Hall of Honor.
    The Hall of Honor recognizes those who have made significant and notable contributions to radio, something the said was humbling.
    "I think maybe the highlights don't count toward this very significant honor," Bradford said in an interview just before the awards presentation. "I am most proud of this and almost humbled by it."
    At KSST, Bradford was an innovator and pioneer. Using a converted surplus World War II aircraft radar set, he was one of the first broadcasters in the world to use the technology to bring listeners in-depth, accurate information on severe weather threatening Hopkins County.
       When he came to Sulphur Springs in 1948 (at the urging of his mother, who said she wanted grandkids before he got himself killed in some far-off land), nobody was using radar. He saw an ad for a complete radar system from a B-29 bomber for $400, and purchased it.
    “We recognized its potential for weather,” he said modestly.
    He was among the first to have a mobile unit in a car and to combine his radio station with cable TV to maximize his service to his market.
    In the days of the Cold War, Bradford and Pete Teddlie of WRR radio in New York organized the original CONELRAD Emergency Broadcasting Network. Bradford continued as state chairman as the emergency notification system became the Emergency Broadcast System.
    Bradford was a member of the Texas CONELRAD Committee and was instrumental in getting EGS converted from just being a nuclear attack warning system to provide weather and other disaster alerts. He toured the state with federal officials at his own expense to promote development of the emergency broadcast system into a disaster warning device.
    In 1995, he was the subject of a Texas Senate/House Concurrent Resolution, citing, among other things, his CONELRAD and Emergency Broadcasting activities.
    While serving as chairman of the Associated Press Broadcasters Association, he negotiated an agreement with the non-profit Texas Election Bureau to carry Texas election returns over the teletype news service for the first time.
    Bradford has received two U.S. Air Force commendations for building a broadcast station for Borinquen Air Force Base in Puerto Rico from spare parts. In 1992, he was named Texas Pioneer Broadcaster of the Year.
    Additionally, he has received two awards from the Texas Association of Broadcasters for serving as Texas Emergency Broadcast System Chairman, along with commendations from the Federal Communications Commission, National Weather Service and the Defense Preparedness Agency for reorganizing the Emergency Broadcast System in Texas.
    Bradford is also credited with the phrase that continues to be used in the Emergency Broadcasting System: "This is a test.This is only a test."
    Bill Bradford and his wife, Patsy, built KSST radio into one of Texas' outstanding small market radio stations. And, in doing so, touched the lives of countless people, helped more causes and people than can be counted, and worked to shape Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County into a thriving community.
         He was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2005 and was named Broadcaster of the Year in 2012 by the Texas Association of Broadcast Educators.




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