SAN ANTONIO RADIO HALL OF FAME
Mona Parker was a reserved and studious child, but her quiet exterior masked a personality adept at organizational skills and a mind attuned to math and engineering. During the 1930s, she and her family along with their friend, Ben Parker, moved to Pecos, Texas, where Mona began studying to obtain a First-Class Radiotelephone Operators License from the FCC.
In 1937, Ben and Mona traveled to Dallas, where Mona passed the exam for her First-Class ticket on March 10th — the first woman in the United States to do so. The following day, she and Ben were married and returned to Pecos as the operations team for KIUN Radio—Ben the station manager, Mona the station’s chief engineer.
In 1943, the couple moved to San Antonio where Mona took an engineering job at KABC Radio. The station was small, compared to its major competitors, but its owners had big ambitions…to make it as powerful as 50,000-watt WOAI. They purchased the 50,000-watt transmitter and towers of XENT Radio in Nuevo Laredo, disassembled the equipment, and shipped it to San Antonio.
Mona Parker and other members of the station’s engineering team reassembled the transmitter and configured new signal patterns at the transmitter site 10½ miles northwest of San Antonio. The FCC approved the upgraded broadcasting plant in May 1946 and KABC signed on at 680 kHz with a daytime power of 50,000 watts and a nighttime power of 10,000 watts.
The lower position on the AM dial, combined with the higher power, enabled KABC to cover 105 of Texas’ 254 counties during the day, giving it one of the largest daytime coverage areas in the U.S. Eventually the station would become KKYX, still using the transmitter that Mona helped to install.
After the KABC project, Mona began helping with the engineering necessary to put a new station on the air—KCOR, which would become the nation’s first full-time Spanish-language radio station.
In 1949, the Parkers began the process to open and operate legendary KBOP Radio in Pleasanton… where drawing from her experiences in the KABC upgrade and KCOR construction, Mona “single handedly” built the new station’s transmitter. Mona Parker passed away in 2005.