Where Were You When The Lights Went Out—35th Anniversary

I was in the KCOR Newsroom developing news stories for the next day’s morning newscasts.  We were then on the first floor of the KWEX-TV building.

Suddenly everything went dark.

Normally, through the glass doors I could see the streetlights on West Durango (now César Chávez) Blvd. from the news desk.  Everything looked dark, so I decided to check through the rear entrance.  Once outside, I was completely surprised to not only find no streetlights, but also no lights glowing in the night anywhere in sight.

I returned to the newsroom.  The Hotline was ringing.  It was General Manager Sam Murray.  I was to go to the transmitter site in Northwest San Antonio near the intersection of Babcock and Huebner Road…Abe Lincoln and Whitby Road to be exact, as soon as possible.

It took a while to travel the 15 miles from downtown to the transmitter; a normal drive of about 20 minutes.  Without functioning traffic lights each intersection was both an exciting and dangerous adventure.

When I arrived, the engineers were already there.  If you know engineers they’re to the point.  They had the generator fired up and asked what took me so long.  Everything was ready to go.

I went on the air, but I struggled, because other than the lights being out and traffic jams everywhere, I had no idea what was going on since all power was out everywhere.

After about an hour of very, very bad adlibbing, News Director Ramiro Sanchez Cordoba (currently the 10 pm news producer at Channel 41) finally arrived and took over.  I was relieved.

The next day, Sam called me to his office and handed me a left-handed compliment.  He thanked me for my efforts the night before and all the other stuff that goes with being a stand up and trooper.  Then, in no uncertain terms, he told me that my Spanish sucked!  It was Tex-Mex.  They sent me to the University of Mexico at HemisFair for a course in Conversational Spanish.

The rest as they say is history.

Joe Sandoval

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