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Buchanan shares memories of Marti

Bill Buchanan, President and General Manager of KSHN Liberty shares some of his memories about George Marti, 1991 TAB Pioneer of the Year and founder of Marti Electronics.

I am a big admirer of George Marti, a lifelong broadcaster and inventor of one our great radio tools, the Marti Remote Pickup. Before I came to Texas, in 1969, I was introduced to the Marti RPU in Ohio. I remember well all of the trouble it saved us and the exceptional on-air quality it provided.  Since then I have never been without a Marti at any station at which I have worked.  We have three Marti's in use in Liberty.

A few years after coming to Texas I learned the Marti inventor was a strong member of TAB. I said, “this man I have to meet".   In the years since he has become, what I consider, a valued friend. My admiration comes from what he has meant to broadcasting and what his Marti Foundation means to so many others. He has changed lives for the better. 

At each TAB convention I make it a point to see him - now in his 90's - and his wonderful wife. We talk for a while and I learn something important each time. 

Not sure exactly how his foundation works. I do know many High School seniors in Cleburne and Johnson County have gone to college on a Marti Scholarship.

On KSHN I do a daily interview program called the Party Line. So far some 11,000 thirty-minute programs have aired.   Soon after getting home from TAB, a few years back, I mentioned, on The Party Line, about my admiration for George Marti and what he has meant to broadcasting and to high school students of Johnson County, through his foundation.

I think, in essence, every high school student in that county who can do college work and has a proven financial need, has been awarded a Marti Scholarship if they maintain passing grades.  That’s not exactly it, but it is close.  After he sold Marti Electronics, the foundation became funded adequately to make sure it continues. 

I told that story about Mr. Marti's generosity and what he has done in the Cleburne area that confirms his generosity and spirit of public service. That includes serving as Cleburne mayor and in so many other ways.  A few days after that broadcast a letter arrived from a prisoner in one of the state prisons located in nearby Beaumont. He got my attention immediately when he referred to George Marti. He was a frequent repeat offender and, by his own admission, he had many "second" chances. 

Eventually he got a very long sentence. 

Now, as the years have passed, he views life quite differently. He had two children, back home, in Cleburne who never had a father because he was either in prison or running from the law. Their lives were badly affected by his conduct but because of a strong mother they had stayed in school. A few years back each had earned a Marti Foundation Scholarship. Now both are college graduates. 

The prisoner heard me talking about one of my personal heroes, George Marti, a man who has meant much to this inmate’s life, but never meant him. He did not know where George's considerable wealth came from but that foundation had changed the life of his children whose circumstances were dictated by this offenders conduct and through no fault of their own.

I saved that letter until the next TAB convention to deliver it to him - it was his letter.

We have a lot of greats in the Texas Broadcasting community. George Marti of Cleburne is clearly one of them.

Bill BuchananBuchanan is a former member of the TAB Board of Directors. 

His prior station affiliations include WEKY Richmond, Ky., WMST Mt. Sterling, Ky., WDLR Delaware, Ohio, KGTN Georgetown, KCLT Lockhart, and KBOP Pleasanton.

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