From ‘singing cowboy’ to breaking news: KAUT celebrates 35 years on the air

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OKLAHOMA CITY –  On September 24, 1980, history was made in Oklahoma City.

On that date, KAUT launched, becoming known as channel 43. Today, it is now known as KAUT Freedom 43 TV.

The local television station was founded by film and television legend Gene Autry, also known as the singing cowboy.

To celebrate 35 years on the air, KAUT will air segments about the station, its history and new programming.

When it launched in 1980, KAUT was a public all-news format for the first part of the day and a subscription-based service station at night. Soon the station began airing Westerns featuring Gene Autry himself.

Over time, the station carried country music shows, a local dance program featuring well-known local DJ Ronnie Kaye, and Oklahoma City’s favorite vampire, Count Gregore, hosted horror movies.

“I can’t believe how time has just flown by.  Hosting Count Gregore Horror Theater was fun. But I was also the sales manager at KAUT. I recall we also did a great job producing live television promotions and commercials,” said John Ferguson (aka Count Gregore).

“It is amazing to be celebrating the 35th anniversary of KAUT. The station has changed immensely over the years. We have a committed news staff that contributes to our successful morning newscast Rise & Shine as well as our early/late newscast at 9:00 pm.  MASH remains a late night staple at 10:00 and 10:30 p.m. and comedies like The Middle and Everybody Loves Raymond are very popular,” said Wes Milbourn, president and general manager of KFOR NewsChannel 4 and KAUT FREEDOM 43 TV.

The station also launched a new fall line-up this month with two new judge shows on weekday mornings, America’s Court with Judge Ross and Justice for Judge MableanCrime Watch Daily, which can be seen weekdays at 4 p.m., features compelling crime related stories. Popular dramas such as Elementary, Person of Interest and Rookie Blue have joined Blue Bloods for a Sunday night drama block from 7 p.m. to midnight.

KAUT Freedom 43 is a strong, independent TV station previously affiliated with the United Paramount Network, Fox Network, My Network TV and PBS.  In December of 2013, Tribune Media purchased KFOR NewsChannel 4 and KAUT Freedom 43 TV from Local TV LLC.