KFYO Radio 1970-05-12

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These tapes consist of KFYO Radio’s coverage of the Lubbock tornado and its aftermath on May 11, 1970.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: KFYO Radio

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: May 12, 1970

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Radio Broadcast

Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Public Service messages (PSM), Area north of 31st and east of University Avenue, No one to enter areas unless specifically called, Fatality list (17 people), PSMs (again), Message from Civil Defense Service, 1 added to fatality list, Request of damage assessment from Washington, Reception difficulties, PSMs (again), Civil Defense Service (again), 3% disaster loans from Washington, Small Business Administration, Damages (estimates), Braniff fight out of Lubbock, PSMs (again).

Tape 1, Side 2: PSMs (again), Civil Defense Service (again), Congressman George Mahon is arranging for transportation to Lubbock, Accompanied by Senator John Tower and disaster officials, Bill Blackwell survey of damages, Damages estimated to multiple $ millions, Houses in Guadalupe area reduced to rubble, PSMs (again), Death toll (17 people), Estimated as high as 26, Combined search and rescue mission, Block by block, Lubbock Fire Department and Army Reserve, Lubbock City Manager Bill Blackwell, George Mahon (again), President advised, Office of Emergency, Preparedness, Declaration of major disaster, Lubbock City officials, Damage to City Hall, Emergency Operating Center, Tours of devastated areas, Meeting with representatives of Governor’s office, Department of Public Safety and Lieutenant, Governor to make recommendations to Governor’s office, Water supply, City Public Works Director, Sam Wall, Damages to water system, Potential for repair, Restoration of pump system, Wells in operation, Water availability, Bill Blackwell (again), George Mahon (again), Damages, Businesses, Residential areas, Assessment efforts, Search and rescue efforts, General problems, Debris cleanup efforts, Judge Rod Shaw, Convened Commissioners Court, Cleanup efforts, Courthouse (again), Death toll, Unofficial: 24, Official: 18, PSMs (again).

Tape 2, Side 1: PSMs (again), Message from Insurance Information Institute, Temporary repairs, Payment for damages, PSMs (again), Water conservation, Death toll, Estimated 26, Damages, Downtown area, Searches (again), PSMs (again), Death toll (again), Waco tornado (May 11, 1953), 114 killed, 597 injured, PSMs (again), Civil Defense, Small Business Administration opens office at Jackson cafeteria, Byron Shoemate, Disaster Loan head, Water situation critical, No water, Water trucks to hospitals and fire stations, Call for conservation, Larry Hibner: President of Lubbock Association of Insurance Agents, Storm aftermath, Instructions on dealing with damage, Mayor of Lubbock, Tour of damages, George Mahon (again), Ben Barnes to arrive at 9:30 with delegation, Small Business Administration, Fred Newman: Small Business Administration, Personnel at Jackson school cafeteria, Damage assessment, Worst damage from 19th Street north, Devastation north of 4th Street in Guadalupe area, Damage to airport, Buildings destroyed (listed), PSMs (again).

Tape 2, Side 2: PSMs (again), Bob Nash: Civil Defense/Emergency Operation Center (City Hall), Judge Rod Shaw makes request to Governor’s office, Emergency food and medical assistance, Confirmation of death toll, 18 dead, Sightseers a problem, Bill Blackwell (again), Search and rescue (again), 22 units, Sightseers (again), Tightened security, Early stages of aftermath, Coordination between units, Weather, PSMs (again), Fatalities listed, PSMs (again), Status report from EOC at City Hall, Volunteers, Avalanche-Journal, Search and rescue (again), Power restoration, PSMs (again), Recording by Insurance Information Institute (again), PSMs (again).

Tape 3, Side 1: PSMs (again), Message from John Tower to Mayor, Tower to be in Lubbock this afternoon, Mahon and General Lincoln, head office of Emergency Preparedness en route, Governor’s team, Damages (again), PSMs (again), Downtown activities, Judge Shaw on Lubbock’s disaster plan, City and County cooperation, Lieutenant Governor Barnes, Emergency food and medical supplies, J. T. Alley, Sightseers (again), Curfew, PSMs (again), Fatality list (again), PSMs (again), Bob Nash at City Hall, Water trucks to Guadalupe area, Red Cross at Municipal Coliseum, Governor’s commission has landed, John Tower (again), George Mahon (again), North Lubbock hard hit, Salvage attempts, Businesses destroyed, Process of disaster declaration, Fatality list (again), 18 dead, believed a complete list, Continental flights to and from Lubbock as scheduled, Airport status, Hospital Supplies, PSMs.

Tape 3, Side 2: Civil defense office: Bob Nash, Otis Greene, aide to Governor Preston Smith, Requests process be begun in preparation for Barnes’ request, Larry Keeler, aide to Governor Smith, Destruction from air, Governor enroute to Switzerland, Medical assistance, Senator Tower (again), George Mahon (again), Otis Greene (again), Machinery in place for disaster relief, Plans for tour, Emergency food and drugs, Broadcast in Spanish, Ben Barnes requests briefing, Tornado hit at 10:00 P. M., Sealing off of downtown Lubbock, Search and rescue operation, Water supply, Critical hospital situation, Potential airlift operation, Debris clearance operation, Barnes questions about situation, Need for additional cleanup crew, Hospital situation, Food availability, Housing critical, Water supply (again), Fact finding group from Washington, Search and rescue, 18 dead, 302 injured, PSMs (again), Water supply (again), Mayor to Senator John Tower, Guadalupe area, White House, declaration, Austin delegation (again), PSMs, Tour of devastation, Downtown, Along 4th Street, Lubbock Municipal Airport.

Tape 4, Side 1: Damage estimates, PSMs, Housing for displaced people, Recounting of previous night, Emergency Operations Center (again), Coordination function, Structural engineers, Displaced people (again), Mass shelters, Department of Public Safety cooperation, Offers from cities, PSMs (again), Damages, PSMs (again), List of missing children, Telephone service (again), Death toll (again), List of dead, PSMs (again), Sightseers (again), Help from neighboring communities, Damages.

Tape 4, Side 2: Barnes (again), Assessment, Planned assistance, Looting, Fact finding tour, Red Cross efforts and locations, Coach J. T. King, Jones Stadium, Damages to Lubbock Public Schools, PSMs (again), Fatality list, 19 dead, Recap of tornado, PSMs (again), Fatality list (again), 20 confirmed and identified, PSMs (again),

Tape 5, Side 1: PSMs (again), Water situation (again), General destruction and danger to sightseers, PSMs (again), Water situation (again), Direction for making chemical toilet, PSMs (again), Fatalities (again), 20 confirmed dead, Listed, Traffic control, Captain Stewart, Appeal to sightseers (again), Law enforcement volunteers, Councilman Rigsby, Curfew, PSMs (again), FHA loans, PSMs (again), Emergency Operation Center (again), Description of operations.

Tape 5, Side 2: Damage estimates (again), Lt. Governor Barnes, Attempts to contact President Nixon, Emergency federal funds, PSMs (again), Barnes at EOC (again), National Guard troops, Damage estimates expected to increase, Search and rescue (again), Downtown sealed off, Sightseers (again), Displaced persons (again), Municipal Coliseum, Senator John Tower (again), Congressman George Mahon (again), Senator Ralph Yarborough, Emergency preparedness, PSMs (again), Lt. Governor Barnes calls meeting, Talked to White House, General Lincoln will speak for President, Designation of Red Cross as coordinating agency, Rooms available at Texas Tech, FHA: 400 homes for use as soon as declaration is made, 400 Guardsmen for 24 hour operation, 50 additional DPS officers, 1,000 beds and food at Coliseum, Supplies trucked in, Red Cross disaster team, Rumors of unsafe water supply dispelled, State Civil Defense Chief, Senator Doc Blanchard, Commends efforts, Mayor Jim Granberry, Commends efforts.

"Tape 6, Side 1: KLBK News special, "Killer Tornado", Description of damages throughout city, Death toll, 18 confirmed, Damage estimates at $100 million, Lt. Governor Barnes, Planned meeting, Overpasses on Loop 289, Small Business Administration disaster office, Senator John Tower, Representative George Mahon, Barnes in Lubbock at moment, Damage to local school, Water and electricity situation, Search and rescue, 18 confirmed dead (again), Sightseers, Weather forecast, Commendation, City officials, National Guard, Civil Defense Service, Lubbock Police Department, Department of Public Safety, Lubbock Fire Department.

Tape 6, Side 2: KFYO Radio (again), Barnes’ meeting continued from Tape 5, Side 2, 1,800 phones out, Estimated 10 days to repair, (Lost line to meeting), Station identification, 1: 13 P. M., Recap, (Contact re-established), Barnes (continued), Damages, 20 fatalities, 300-plus injuries, Public health problems, Red Cross coordination, Broadway Church of Christ, Coliseum (again), General Lincoln (again), Appeal to people, Recap (again), Federal Emergency Relief Program, Purpose of funds.

Tape 7, Side 1: Weather watch, PSMs (again), KLBK Channel 13, Damages, 20 confirmed dead, 350-500 injured, 4,800 homeless, Route of tornadoes, Films (discussed), Early rescue efforts, List of fatalities, Damages (again), Films (again), Governor’s commission (again), National disaster declared, Texas Tech buildings, Country Club area, Tornado watch announced, Tornado routes, Damages (again), Films of industrial area discussed, Weather report (again), Public schools report, Sightseers (again), Ross Perot, Deliver supplies, PSMs, Civil Defense plan, Significance, Operation, Progress report (cleanup), Volunteers, Poles.

Tape 7, Side 2: Spanish broadcast, English report, Severe thunderstorm warnings, Spanish broadcast (continued), Tornado warning, DPS weather report, 7: 11 P. M., PSMs (again), Weather report (again), Instructions for protection in case of tornado, Report to Governor, Damages, Governor’s response, Discussion of aerial survey with Otis Greene, Barnes' intentions, Comparison to Plainview, Damages (again), 7: 24 P. M., Weather reports (again), 2 funnels sighted, Sirens activated, Communications problem, Weather (continued).

Tape 8, Side 1: Federal funds, Telegram from Mayor Granberry to Senator Yarborough, Yarborough to Granberry, Governor’s response to emergency, General Lincoln, Funding in motion, No official declaration, General status, Barnes about to leave, Governor Smith, Water (again), Telephone service (again), Radio broadcasting, 4: 03 P. M., Forecast, PSMs (again), General group discussion amongst radio personnel, Waco (May 11, 1953), Cleanup (progress report), Power restoration, Downed power lines, PSMs (again), Weather (again), Station identification, 5: 30 P. M., Recap of damages, Downtown area, Business district, DPS efforts, Texas Tech, Recap (again), Path of tornado, Looting, National Guard, Damage estimates, Death toll, Downtown, Airport, Homeless.

Tape 8, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: May 12, 1970

Bulk Dates: May 12, 1970

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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