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Broadcasters Mourn Loss of Dick Pickens

Dick Pickens, TAB’s 2013 Associate of the Year, and one of the original inspectors for TAB’s Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP), passed away Monday.

Pickens, 85, owned and operated TAB Associate Member Microcom Systems, Inc.

Dick Sherrill Pickens began his life in broadcasting at the age of 10 in East Texas.

“Dickie” and nine-year-old Ben Laurie launched the “Keebie Kids” Saturday morning live children’s radio program on KEBE-AM Jacksonville in 1946.

He met his future wife Nancy when she performed a piano piece on the program.

The couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2021.

In addition to his wife Nancy, he is survived by three children, 14 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 5, at 1:30 pm, at One Chapel Lake Travis, 22800 State Hwy 71 W, in Spicewood.

Pickens began his DJ career in the 1950’s under the on-air name Dick Laine, eventually joining the Gordon McLendon group of stations working in several Texas markets.

He interviewed many of rock n’ roll’s early greats on his shows during that time.

Later he became program director and DJ for the original KOKE-AM Austin and eventually moved to KNOW-AM Austin when it became a Top 40 station.

The Texas Radio Hall of Fame inducted Dick Laine in 2012.

Throughout his on-air years, he expanded his knowledge of the engineering side of broadcasting eventually earning his Amateur Radio license and in 1964, his FCC First Class commercial radio operator license.

He worked up to an Amateur Radio Extra Class License in 1975 with the call sign K5UD.

He founded his broadcast engineering consulting firm in the 1980s, but the learning did not stop with broadcast technical operations.

Pickens earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966.

In the 1980’s, he was a lecturer and instructor in the UT College of Communication.

After getting his UT degree, Dick entered the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity, then a Master of Divinity degree.

Dick and Nancy were very active in religious life helping to spread the Gospel in many ways over the decades.

He was a man of great Christian faith who also would use his broadcast experience to assist several Texas religious broadcasters over the years.

Pickens kept his hand in the on-air world by hosting a weekday morning news/talk show program in the 1990s, “Morning Magazine,” on KIXL-FM Austin, as well as “Sunday Song,” a Christian music program.

In 1997, he became one of the four original TAB ABIP inspectors.

For the next 25 years, Dick and Nancy traveled throughout Texas, inspecting hundreds of radio and television stations throughout the state, helping stations achieve compliance with FCC regulations.

Nancy served as the team’s Public Inspection File specialist.

Pickens thoroughly enjoyed using his decades of broadcast expertise to help educate and inform stations through his ABIP work.

He often said it was a privilege to assist stations to be their best in serving their communities.

Pickens was truly one of a kind.

He will be missed by his TAB family, as well as by the Texas broadcast and Christian communities he so ably served through many decades.

View full obituary

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