In 1935, the Evangeline Broadcasting Company was issued a license from the FCC for the creation of a radio station in Lafayette under the call sign KVOL (Voice of Lafayette). In late 1935, the station officially began broadcasting from the Evangeline Hotel on 300 Jefferson Street.
The years during World War II, when KVOL was located at the Evangeline Hotel, were a crucial time for the young station. KVOL’s coverage of the war began when Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. One month later, a “series of citizenship talks” began by Southwestern Louisiana Institute faculty; promoting American values and an anti-fascist stance (1). Some of the topics for the talks were “Capitalism and Americanism,” “The Fascist System,” “Spiritual Side of Education for the Common Defense,” and “The Democratic Thought" (2). After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, KVOL broadcasted President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chat on December 9, which announced the United States’ entrance into World War II. From that point on, KVOL aired a variety of programs that reflected Lafayette’s wartime efforts.
KVOL broadcasted “Red Cross Roll Call Drive” programs beginning in November 1939. Throughout the war, the station aired war bond drives and a program for United China Relief. In 1942, KVOL assisted in “notifying persons to turn out lights” and remained in contact with an observation plane during a test blackout across Lafayette Parish (3). After the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1943, KVOL had battle veteran Captain Reid Taylor speak to promote the war bond salesmen group the Lafayette Parish Commandos. After the war, KVOL returned to normal operations, continuing to air its standard music and news hours.
KVOL during World War II was one of many radio stations to support the national war effort in the local communities they serviced. From educational talks to war bond advertising, KVOL mobilized its airwaves to support its country in a time of global crisis.
1. “Dr. Ashburn to Speak Tonight in Legion Talks,” Daily Advertiser, Oct. 16, 1939, Newspapers.com.
2. “Dr. Ashburn,” Daily Advertiser, Oct. 16, 1939; “KVOL” Call Number: O 05 C, University Archives and Acadiana Manuscripts Collection, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA, accessed February 15, 2022.
3. “Blackout Over Parish Declared Big Success by Defense Heads,” Daily Advertiser, May 12, 1942, Newspapers.com.