Buckel, Walter 2000-04-06

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Walter Buckel talks about his career as a minor league baseball player, his military career, his life in the newspaper business, Roberts Publishing Company, and the changes in technology in the newspaper business. He also discusses the challenges facing small towns and farming in Dawson County, Texas.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Walter Buckel

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: April 6, 2000

Location: Lamesa, Texas

Interviewer: David Marshall

Length: 1 hour, 15 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Buckel, Walter, Move to Lamesa, TX from California in 1941 to play baseball, Born: 1921, Amateur leagues, Sid Durst (?) recommended Walter play in the amateur leagues, St. Louis try-out camp, Return to California and high school, Sporting News – the “Bible of Baseball”, Baseball leagues, Signing with the Lamesa, TX baseball team, Effects of World War II on baseball, Military career, Army Airways Communications System (AACS), Duties and responsibilities in Army communications, Kelly AFB, Joining the Sherman Field Flyers in the spring of 1945, Army Air Corp baseball team, Minor league baseball career after discharge from the Army, Spring 1946 played baseball in Montgomery, AL, Playing baseball in Dallas, TX – 1947, Classification of players, Minor league baseball career (again), Returned to Lamesa, TX in 1947, In 1949 became business manager of the team in Lamesa, Fellow players, West Texas – New Mexico League, Teams, Players, Wife, Ruby (Mitchell) Buckel from Montgomery, AL, Married in 1947, Lamesa, TX hometown support for baseball, Support from parents for playing baseball, Rivalry between Lubbock, TX and Lamesa, TX teams, Players (again), Baseball contracts, Baseball training, Game schedules, travel and length of the season, Travel Opportunities through the military and playing baseball, Baseball as the national pass-time, Effects of television and air-conditioning on minor league baseball

Tape 1, Side 2: Career as the Lamesa, TX baseball team business manager, 1949 and 1950, Going to work for the public school system – 1951, Lamesa, TX baseball club records, Current status of the Lamesa, TX old ball club playing field, Work for the public schools (again), Elected to County Clerk office in 1953, Resigned in 1957, Insurance business for three years, Elected to School Board, Broadcasting sports events for local radio station, Manager of the radio station – 1960 or 1961, Dawson County Free Press newspaper, Purchased this paper in 1967, Lamesa’s competing newspaper, Lamesa Reporter, Owned by the Woodson family out of Brownwood, TX, Dawson County Free Press newspaper (again), Family operated newspaper, Mr. Roberts, Accomplishments, Partnership between Walter Buckel and Mr. Roberts, Roberts Publishing merger – 1968, Mr. Roberts (again), Business philosophy, South Plains Printing Company, Roberts Publishing (again), Hand-picked employees, Employee ownership opportunities and other incentives, Working atmosphere, Locations of the quarterly Board meetings, Annual meetings, History of newspapers in Dawson County, Roberts Publishing (again), Reasons for not expanding into other area of Texas, Publishers’ purchasing options, Corporate structures, The Dawson County Free Press newspaper (again), Family business until March 1, 1968, Roberts Publishing (again), Mr. Roberts opinion regarding competing newspapers, Buying out competitors, Reporting strictly local news coverage, Loss of advertisers, Business challenges facing Roberts Publishing, Challenges facing small town business in general, Changes in typesetting technology, Impact on shop environment

Tape 2, Side 1: Changes in typesetting technology (again), Impact on shop environment (again), Expansion of the Lamesa, TX newspaper in 1975, Roberts Publishing (again), Ownership of property, Strength of corporation, Changes in typesetting technology (again), Description of hot-type press operation, “Tramp printers” or temporary, traveling printers, Adjust-o-writers and perforating tape, Copugraphic typesetting process, Computer typesetting began in 1988 or 1989, Cost of keeping up with technology, Replacement of wet processor with a dry processor, Technology’s impact on staff size, Current status of Walter Buckel’s business involvement, Lamesa newspaper, Roberts Publishing, Roberts Publishing’s Board of Directors, Names of the “old timers”, Backgrounds of the board members, Buckel, Walter (again), Retired at age 70 in 1991, Office hours today, Personal time: gardening and family, Awards for pecan growing, Farming in Dawson County, Crops, Irrigation, Underground water district, Dependency on rainfall, Pecan growers, Davis’ (?) pralines, Buckel, Walter (again), Start in the newspaper business, Coming from more of a business orientation, Strength as a fundraiser, Fundraising projects, Changes in the need for fundraising

Tape 2, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1921-2000

Bulk Dates: 1940-1991

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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