Rex Howell was a pioneer in the field of Colorado radio and television in its earliest years. When he retired in 1966, he operated KREX AM and FM radio in Grand Junction and was president of the XYZ Television Network, which included stations KREX (previously KFXJ) in Grand Junction, KREY in Montrose, and KREZ in Durango.
Howell was born in Kansas in 1907 and moved with his family to Longmont, Colorado in 1920. There, Howell met a boy who had built a wireless station (as radio was called then) and the two began to learn all they could about radio technologies and broadcasting. Howell had his first radio license at the age of 14 and began to work at one of Denver’s first radio stations, KFEL, while still in high school. He entered the field professionally in 1926, starting his own station, KFXJ-AM, in Edgewater.
He moved KFXJ to Grand Junction in 1931, where it became the first radio station there. A one-person operation in the early days, Howell traveled around Mesa County, reporting on everything from peach harvests to presidential visits. When television broadcasting emerged, Howell launched KFXJ-TV (now Channel Five) in 1954, making it the first television station in Grand Junction. In 1960, Howell added an FM channel, and changed the name of the AM and television stations, bringing all of them together under the banner of KREX.
This collection encompasses a full complement of broadcast materials from radio station KREX, recorded between 1952 and 1974, including advertisements, commentaries and “radiatorials,” interviews, Christmas and 4th of July programs, local choirs and popular music, and political coverage of local (Lions Club), state (Governor Ed Johnson), national (Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon), and international (Queen Elizabeth’s coronation) events and political issues (water rights, Palisade Tunnel, Yucca Flats Atomic Test).