70th ANNIVERSARY: KSWO celebrates with look back at our history

As KSWO prepares for our 70th anniversary, we wanted to take a step back and look back on where it all started.
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 9:48 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2023 at 1:34 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - As KSWO prepares for our 70th anniversary, we wanted to take a step back and look back on where it all started.

On March 8th, 1953, KSWO signed on to the air waves for the first time. Since that first day we have always been the only station in the Lawton-Wichita Falls market to be based out of Oklahoma.

Most news stations have their own tower, but we’re lucky enough to have two. Our second tower was built in Grandfield in 1960. At over a thousand feet tall, it’s more than double the size of our station tower, and lets us transmit to a larger area, reaching more viewers with a clearer signal.

“Good Morning Texoma” started as just one 30-minute broadcast in 1989. It grew in ‘92, ‘99, and ‘09, eventually becoming the two hour-long shows you see today. We were the first in the market to launch a weekend newscast in ‘93, and have continued pioneering since.

But we couldn’t have done it without our audience. Lawton has always allowed us to continue exploring new horizons in technology and news-gathering. While our feedback has changed from letters to emails to Tweets, we remain committed to staying connected with our community and sharing local stories.

Our viewers stuck with us through the 90s— otherwise known as KSWO’s decade of change. Our signature colors of yellow and blue were exchanged for red and black as we rebranded from Action 7 News to 7News and adopted the familiar slogan, “You can count on us!”

We also saw a major remodel, unveiling a combined newsroom and studio set just before the turn of the millennium.

Through the change we stayed committed to our mission: getting Texoma the information it needs. Several severe thunderstorms caused an electrical outage to sweep through the Lawton area in ‘96. We were knocked off the air, but our morning show pulled through, using a live truck as a generator and makeshift transmitter to the Grandfield tower. They created a newscast with one camera, one tape deck, and one microphone passed between two anchors, and we’re still proud of that show today.

Though many great people have come and gone over the past seven decades, a few things have remained constant. We’ve been the only station in the area -- and one of the few in the country -- to keep our original call sign, channel number, and network affiliation. KSWO has always been on channel 7, and you can always count on us.