KCOH, Houston's Last AM Bastion of Old-School R&B, Is Sold

This post also appeared on our sister blog Hair Balls -- ed.

Radio is generally in a constant state of upheaval. Witness the lineup changes throughout sports radio and the rise of News92 FM from the ashes of formerly all-news KTRH. There are two FM music stations playing the exact same stuff every day because one was sold and not reformatted.

The plug was pulled on an FM adult contemporary station after a short "experiment." KTRU was sold to KUHF and turned into the classical arm of the NPR affiliate.

But, for more than half a century, one stalwart of the Houston radio scene has remained, that is until now. KCOH (1530 AM) has been providing programming predominantly to the African-American community in Houston since 1953, a decade before the heart of the civil rights movement.

This week, it was announced KCOH had been sold to the Guadalupe Radio Network, a Catholic station which states as part of its mission on its Web site to, "serve the Church and we endeavor to lead souls back to Jesus Christ through His holy Catholic Church, through the use of the powerful medium of radio."

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, the station will be shuttered as is, all of its employees fired and relaunched next year with all-Catholic programming from the network owned by The La Promesa Foundation.

KCOH's programming, while barely heard and probably little known to many in Houston, had a wide variety of talk, music and sports programming aimed at the African American community, traditionally underserved on talk radio.

Although it was rightfully noted for programs such as Ralph Cooper's "Sports Rap" and the often bawdy afternoon "Confessions," the station's musical programming is particularly unlikely to be duplicated anywhere else on the FM dial. KCOH offered early-morning gospel, through Don Samuel's lively afternoon program that mingled R&B and zydeco -- including the Friday afternoon "Battles" pitting artist vs. artist that often made gripping radio -- and the late-night show appropriately titled "This Is for Grown Folks."

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