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Jim Guidry Commentaries
The Early 1970s in Houston
by Jim Guidry
Monday, August 04, 2014

I have been digitizing old reel-to-reel tape recordings and cassettes collected throughout the years of my radio career.

In the 1970s I worked for KULF Radio in Houston, using the “air name” Jim Wilson.  

In a "week in review" program that was broadcast on December 17, 1972, we reported on the vote by Houston City Council to locate the Summit sports arena to house the Houston Rockets in Greenway Plaza, a Kenneth Schnitzer development; rather than on the east side of downtown, in the area being developed by George R. Brown.  Listen (3:47)

The program includes an interview with Council Member Judson Robinson, Jr., a part-owner of the Rockets, who stepped out of the room during the vote to avoid a conflict of interest; as well as an interview with Kenneth Schnitzer.  

Interestingly, the issue of the use of hotel occupancy taxes, which was considered for the project, was part of the debate.  In the end, HOT tax funds were not used for the Summit.

Of course, the Rockets have since moved to the area where George R. Brown first proposed, in the Toyota Center; and the Summit later became the Compaq Center and is now home to Lakewood Church.

Downtown has changed a lot since Brown launched his renaissance.  It now hosts the convention center, sports venues for baseball, soccer and basketball, hotels and restaurants, and apartments for downtown dwellers.

Not all who live downtown now have homes, however; and they can be seen on the streets at all hours.  In the early 1970s, during the time covered by this visit to the archives, I interviewed some people who were on the streets seeking handouts.  Listen (1:18)

Notice that in the report, I refer to those interviewed as “beggers”, not homeless people or vagrants.  They certainly were asking for money, but there was no hint of the aggressive panhandling that now plagues our cities.  This was before a federal judge turned thousands of inmates with mental instabilities in state institutions out onto the streets.

On a lighter note, there were some major celebrities who visited the studios of KULF during the 1970s, and the most exciting visitor by far was Morris the Cat, accompanied by his handler.  Listen  (1:18)

In true unaltered tomcat fashion, Morris left his “mark” on the radio station.

Remembering Jim Guidry Lest We Forget

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