KRBA AM radio was the first licensed commercial radio station in the Angelina - Nacogdoches county area. The station was constructed under the direction of Darrell E. Yates and went on the air May 3, 1938 under license granted by the Federal Communications Commission to the Redland Broadcasting Association.
KRBA marked the introduction of electronic media to the deep East Texas area. Certainly, it was a good indication that the region was becoming more economically progressive. For the first time local businesses, churches, and other groups had the opportunity to take advantage of local airwaves to communicate their products, services and sermons. Citizens of the region were given their first exposure to locally broadcast news, entertainment, and local high school football received broadcast priority. KRBA exemplified the independent mentality identifying Texas and Texans, showing a great spirit of innovation in the youth of broadcast media.
KRBA began broadcasting May 3, 1938 with 100 watts of daytime only power at 1310 kilocycles on the AM radio band. The station increased it's power to 250 watts daytime and nighttime power on July 13, 1939. During an industry wide frequency reallocation procedure on March 28, 1941, the station signal was moved by the FCC to 1340 kilocycles. On February 15, 1966, KRBA's daytime power was increased 1 kilowatt. The broadcast studios have been in three location in KRBA history all in the downtown Lufkin. The original site was in the second floor above then Cash Drug Store which was later part of the Perry Building in downtown Lufkin. Cash Drug Store burned in 1941 causing Mr. Yates to move the studio to the location of the old Rogers Drug Store. In January, 1956, the studios moved to it's present location on Cotton Square. The transmitting site and antenna has been located on the "Old Nacogdoches Highway", which is now Spence Street in Lufkin, since the construction of the station in 1938.
The KRBA programming format attempted to present something on the air for most everyone with an AM radio on a daily basis. From 1938 through the early 1940's, the station regularly broadcast news, dramatic programming, musical transcriptions of all varieties, and live preachers of various denominations. The 1950's and 1960's would continue a very varied format though dramatic programming would begin to fade, but more programs would be directed to housewives, farmers, and a direct request musical program "Song and Dance Parade" would lead the format in the direction of making rock-n-roll a major part of the station's legacy. KRBA's "Tunes and Tempos" played rhythm and blues and would introduce African America radio announcers to the local audiences in the 1950's and 60's. Spanish musical programming would be introduced for the first time in East Texas in 1968.
The 1970's saw KRBA move to a more consistent format. The programming became predominantly country and western with a continuation of the traditional gospel programs which had become a station trademark since 1938. The variety of programming would be continued and enhanced by Mr. Yates with the introduction of KUEZ-FM, the sister station to KRBA AM, on May 1, 1978.
The 1980's and 90's, even up to century end, KRBA AM is still alive and well offering the community a varied range of entertainment. Even with the immense popularity of FM radio, KRBA has remained a viable market force offering programming much of what other stations in the area will not. KRBA always strived to see radio entertained and informed all tastes and segments of the local community.