KPET radio station off air after more than 70 years in Lamesa
LAMESA, Texas (KCBD) - KPET, a small-town radio station, is off the air after more than 70 years in Lamesa. The station went dark about a week ago, following the unexpected death of owner and operator David Stewart.
Since 1947, KPET has provided Lamesa and the surrounding area with music, news, entertainment and sports. For Gregg Moreland, athletic director and head boys basketball coach at Lamesa ISD, the station has been “everything.”
“It’s a tight-knit community, you know. You get all your information, your news from our local newspaper and our local radio stations, and it’s just been a really important part of the community,” Moreland said.
“The Voice of Lamesa,” radio legend Don Sitton worked at the station for nearly 30 years.
“Don was a guy, he was a, he was a blind man, and he did the greatest job I’ve ever seen. It was just so neat to go into that studio to see everything that he would do. He was an ambassador for the community,” Moreland said.
Along with all kinds of music, Moreland says the studio south of town aired unique segments, including Tell and Sell.
“People would call in and say, ‘hey, we have this for sale,’ and someone else would call in and they would buy it. It was one of the neatest things, I mean, tons of people in our community, they listen to that program every single day,” he said.
KPET carried Texas Tech games, Texas Rangers baseball and, for many years, live play-by-play for the Lamesa Tornadoes.
“Coach Follis, who was the first basketball coach here and won state championships, he’s a legend that our gym was named after him. I know that when he was bedridden my first year, he was listening to the games and we would have conversations. It was really a cool deal, but it was really important to him,” Moreland said.
After Sitton died in 2018, David Stewart took over, trying to keep the station going alongside news director Danny Moffat.
The Lamesa Press-Reporter published a message from Moffat last week, where he explained Stewart suffered a stroke and died. Moffat says Stewart’s family made the decision to take KPET off the air.
“To my many friends in Lamesa and Dawson County. Last Friday KPET’s owner, David Stewart suffered a massive stroke. He was rushed to the hospital in Lubbock. On Saturday, the family made the decision to discontinue life support. They also made the decision to take KPET off the air and make it dark. That happened Saturday evening. This may be for just a while, or permanently. Either way, myself and fellow KPET employees find ourselves without a job quite unexpectedly. It’s daunting on many levels to find myself without an anchor or rudder. That includes the long-standing commitment from KPET to local listeners. For the past 5 years, it’s been my pleasure and privilege to know and work with each of you. I wish the best for each of you and for the community!”
“I think there’s many people in the community that would love to see KPET continue on. I think it’s been really heartbreaking to see the things that’s happened and then we certainly don’t want to lose this radio station because it’s so important to the community,” Moreland said.
It seems the future of the station is unclear. In his message in the Lamesa Press-Reporter, Moffat writes, “this may be for just a while, or permanently.”
Copyright 2023 KCBD. All rights reserved.