ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION

MAIN ENTRY:                                          Buckel, Walter

DATE OF INTERVIEW:                           April 6, 2000

LOCATION OF INTERVIEW:                  Lamesa, Texas

INTERVIEWER:                                         David Marshall

NUMBER OF REELS/TAPES:                   2

TAPE FORMAT:                                       Cassette

LENGTH OF INTERVIEW:                      1 hour, 15 minutes

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE:             Walter Buckel talks about his career as a minor league baseball player, his military career, his life in the newspaper business, the Roberts Publishing Company, and the changes in technology in the newspaper business.  He also discusses the challenges facing small towns and farming in Dawson County, Texas

ABSTRACT:                                               The Life of Walter Buckel

TAPE ONE             SIDE ONE

Buckel, Walter

            Move to Lamesa, TX from California in 1941 to play baseball

            Born:  1921

Amateur leagues

            Sid Durst (?) recommended Walter play in the amateur leagues

St. Louis try-out camp

            Return to California and high school

            Sporting News – the “Bible of Baseball”

Baseball leagues

Signing with the Lamesa, TX baseball team

Effects of World War II on baseball

Military career

            Army Airways Communications System (AACS)

            Duties and responsibilities in Army communications

            Kelly AFB

Joining the Sherman Field Flyers in the spring of 1945

            Army Air Corp baseball team

Minor league baseball career after discharge from the Army

            Spring 1946 played baseball in Montgomery, AL

            Playing baseball in Dallas, TX – 1947

Classification of players

Minor league baseball career (again)

            Returned to Lamesa, TX in 1947

            In 1949 became business manager of the team in Lamesa

            Fellow players

West Texas – New Mexico League

            Teams

            Players

Wife

            Ruby (Mitchell) Buckel from Montgomery, AL

            Married in 1947

Lamesa, TX hometown support for baseball

Support from parents for playing baseball

Rivalry between Lubbock, TX and Lamesa, TX teams

Players (again)

Baseball contracts

Baseball training

Game schedules, travel and length of the season

Travel Opportunities through the military and playing baseball

Baseball as the national pass-time

            Effects of television and air-conditioning on minor league baseball

TAPE ONE             SIDE TWO

Career as the Lamesa, TX baseball team business manager

            1949 and 1950

Going to work for the public school system – 1951

Lamesa, TX baseball club records

Current status of the Lamesa, TX old ball club playing field

Work for the public schools (again)

Elected to County Clerk office in 1953

            Resigned in 1957

Insurance business for three years

Elected to School Board

Broadcasting sports events for local radio station

            Manager of the radio station – 1960 or 1961

Dawson County Free Press newspaper

            Purchased this paper in 1967

Lamesa’s competing newspaper

            Lamesa Reporter

            Owned by the Woodson family out of Brownwood, TX

Dawson County Free Press newspaper (again)

            Family operated newspaper

Mr. Roberts

            Accomplishments

            Partnership between Walter Buckel and Mr. Roberts

Roberts Publishing merger – 1968

Mr. Roberts (again)

            Business philosophy

South Plains Printing Company

Roberts Publishing (again)

            Hand-picked employees

            Employee ownership opportunities and other incentives

            Working atmosphere

            Locations of the quarterly Board meetings

            Annual meetings

History of newspapers in Dawson County

Roberts Publishing (again)

Reasons for not expanding into other area of Texas

            Publishers’ purchasing options

            Corporate structures

The Dawson County Free Press newspaper (again)

            Family business until March 1, 1968

Roberts Publishing (again)

            Mr. Roberts opinion regarding competing newspapers

            Buying out competitors

            Reporting strictly local news coverage

            Loss of advertisers

            Business challenges facing Roberts Publishing

Challenges facing small town business in general

Changes in typesetting technology

            Impact on shop environment

TAPE TWO – SIDE ONE

Changes in typesetting technology (again)

            Impact on shop environment (again)

Expansion of the Lamesa, TX newspaper in 1975

Roberts Publishing (again)

            Ownership of property

            Strength of corporation

Changes in typesetting technology (again)

            Description of hot-type press operation

            “Tramp printers” or temporary, traveling printers

            Adjust-o-writers and perforating tape

            Copugraphic typesetting process

            Computer typesetting began in 1988 or 1989

             Cost of keeping up with technology

            Replacement of wet processor with a dry processor

            Technology’s impact on staff size

Current status of Walter Buckel’s business involvement

            Lamesa newspaper

            Roberts Publishing

Roberts Publishing’s Board of Directors

            Names of the “old timers”

            Backgrounds of the board members

Buckel, Walter (again)

            Retired at age 70 in 1991

            Office hours today

            Personal time: gardening and family

            Awards for pecan growing

Farming in Dawson County

            Crops

            Irrigation

            Underground water district

            Dependency on rainfall

            Pecan growers

            Davis’ (?) pralines

Buckel, Walter (again)

            Start in the newspaper business

            Coming from more of a business orientation

            Strength as a fundraiser

            Fundraising projects

Changes in the need for fundraising

RANGE DATES:                                               1921 - 2000

BULK DATES:                                                   1940 - 1991

AGE OF INFORMANT:                                    78

GENDER OF INFORMANT:                             Male

ETHNICITY OF INFORMANT:                        Anglo