KSNT turns 50: Buffalo Bills owner helps start station

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – KSNT was the dream of Alan Bennett, a Detroit man in his late twenties. Bennett researched to find the largest television market with only one television station. He decided Topeka was the best place to start a station, but needed financial backing to get the station off the ground.

He would do that with the help of Buffalo Bills founder and owner Ralph Wilson.

“Bennett’s father was a physician in Detroit and he was Mr. Wilson’s personal physician, that’s what we’ve come to understand over the years,” said original KSNT employee Harry Strader. “They got to knowing each other…and (Wilson) gave (Bennett) the starter money, and here we sit 50 years later.”

It was Wilson’s first entry into the television business.

Despite owning the station, Jim Evers, who worked for Wilson for more than 30 years, said Wilson didn’t get involved much in the day-to-day operations of the station. Instead trusting the team that was in place. Evers said KSNT (then KTSB) only survived the challenges of the first years on the air thanks to Wilson’s support of the station.

“He was very supportive, but we didn’t hear from him often,” Evers said.

Wilson would lend his top talent for station promotions, including O.J. Simpson, who made several trips to Topeka in the early years of the station.

In 1982, Wilson sold the station and the called letters were changed from KTSB to KSNT.

 

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