Fort Worth radio station WBAP 820 was established in 1922 as an AM news and talk show. The station expanded to include the television program WBAP-TV in 1948, and an FM radio station the following year. WBAP shared frequencies on AM radio with the station WFAA until 1970, when they paid WFAA for sole occupancy of 820 kHz. Upon receiving sole occupancy, WBAP 820 became a full-time country music station named “Country Gold.”

Black and white photo of a long van with a bullhorn and antenna on top. On the side is an illustration of a person holding a pick and a gold mining pan, with the words Country Gold.

Country Gold van parked at the Fort Worth Zoo, 1974.

WBAP’s Country Gold anniversary event was an annual music festival held at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas that commemorated WBAP’s switch to country programming.

The following footage is from a WBAP-TV news clip of WBAP’s Country Gold third anniversary event in August, 1973. The video has no sound.

The most notable performance was that of Dolly Parton at WBAP’s Country Gold fourth anniversary event on August 26, 1974.

Photograph of Dolly Parton on stage holding an acoustic guitar and wearing a green bedazzled jumpsuit.

Dolly Parton performing a Country Gold, 1974.

Below, Parton can be seen posing next to WBAP 820 DJ Don Thomson.

Photograph of Don Thomson with his arm around Dolly Parton's shoulders. He wears a light blue leisure suit, and she wears a green and bedazzled jumpsuit. Other people surround them.

Don Thomson and Dolly Parton at Country Gold, 1974.

Hank Williams Jr. played at both the third and fourth anniversary events. The following photograph shows him performing at WBAP’s Country Gold third anniversary event in 1973.

Black and white photo of Hank Williams Jr. performing on stage. He holds a guitar and wears a cowboy hat. Other musicians are behind him.

Hank Williams Jr. performing at Country Gold, 1973.

Other notable performances include Bill Monroe, Leona Williams, Charlie Walker, Joe Stampley, George Lindsey, Johnny Duncan, Wynn Stewart, Red Steagall, Ronnie Milsap, Jeanne Pruett, and Chubby Wise.

Below, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys can be seen standing with Leona Williams at the third anniversary event.

Black and white photo of Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys standing on a field in a stadium. Two men stand with guitars.

Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys at Country Gold, 1973.

WBAP also released a compilation album called WBAP’s Country Gold Hits in May of 1973, along with a record book by the same name containing lyrics, chords, and sheet music for various country songs. The cover page of the record book can be viewed below.

Black and white photograph of Country Gold Hits record book, with list of songs and artists. An illustration of a man with guitar and cowboy hat is in the lower right corner.

Country Gold record book, 1973.

WBAP-FM became KCSC in 1973 when it switched over to all-country programming; at the time, it was the only country station on FM radio. WBAP 820 is still broadcasting on AM radio.

More photographs of WBAP’s Country Gold third and fourth anniversary events can be found in the KXAS-NBC 5 News Collection on The Portal to Texas History.

Check out Mike Shannon’s Dallas-Fort Worth AM Station History site to learn more about local radio history.

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