1989 Pioneer of the Year
Bob Hicks, KWEL/KBAT Midland
(published October 1989)
Bob Hicks, owner-general manager of KWEL/KBA T in Midland, has made history in Texas broadcasting and over the past 40 years, helped many current-day broadcasters start their careers.
Hicks put KBAT on the air in 1973 as the first completely automated 100,000-watt station in Texas.
He got his start in radio working as a disc jockey for Jay Harpole at KVOU in Uvalde. He worked his way up to general manager and then began buying and running stations on his own.
He once owned KSOX Raymondville and KPSO Falfurrias.
Born in China Springs, Texas, Hicks grew up in Waco and attended Baylor University.
An inveterate jokester, Hicks once invited the president and scores of other dignitaries to a reception at the home of Clint Formby.
Long before the days of WKRP-Cincinnati, Hicks promoted his Falfurrias station's clients by dropping live turkeys from the top of the two-story Hobbs Clothing Store.
Hicks says what makes radio great is its ability to make a difference and help people. He practices what he preaches.
An active member of Kiwanis, Hicks holds the longest record for both perfect attendance and standing membership in the Midland Kiwanis at 39 years.
Hicks was a charter member of the Uvalde Kiwanis Club in 1950, served as president of the Falfurrias Club, as Kiwanian of the year and as the group's youngest lientenant governor.
In Midland, Hicks served on the Chamber of Commerce and organized funding and production of a public relations documentary, "Land of the High Sky."
As Chairman of the Midland Housing Authority, he helped coordinate a $4.1 million HUD project providing 300 low-cost homes. Hicks also serves on the Board of Directors of the High Sky Girls Ranch for orphaned and underprivileged girls.
Hicks, 62, has five children and seven grandchildren.