Colorado broadcasting pioneer, Rex Howell brought his self-taught engineering skills and KFXJ radio (AM 920) to an eager audience. He secured a $1,000 check to set up operations, which was no small thing to wrangle from a lone investor during the Great Depression. Back in the day before television came out, news reporting came from our roving reporter who reported the new with a van, scouring the area in search of news to report on the radio. From peach harvests in Palisade to presidential visits, Channel 5’s staff reported on the area’s news for more than half a century.
Howell used the seed money to put KFXJ on the air, and introduced the first television broadcast to Grand Junction on May 22, 1954, which is now known as Channel Five News.
In the spring of 1956 Channel 5 was launched, carrying programs from all major networks: ABC and NBC, with CBS as a primary affiliate.
Owner Rex Howell soon changed the name to KREX-TV. He extended the CBS station’s reach to Montrose as KREY-TV, then to Durango as KREZ-TV in 1965.
Channel 5 became KREX-AM-TV (corresponding to the letters in Howell’s first name). The station’s current owner, Hoak Media Corporation of Dallas, Texas, was established in August 2003, this television station is owned by Hoak Media Corporation.
Hoak owns eighteen television stations (including satellites), all in medium and small-markets, mostly in the Great Plains states and Colorado.
KREX-TV has survived a historic fire, the transition from analog to digital, and ownership changes in its 60 years of broadcasting on the western slope.
Here’s to Rex Howell for having a vision, in making channel five news what it is today!
Written and Designed by JD Mitchell