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23ABC Celebrates 65 Years: Larry Edwards, the man behind the set

Posted: 1:03 PM, Sep 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-25 00:28:03Z

The KERO studios have undergone many changes over the past 65 years.

 

When you think of 23ABC you probably think of the people that you’ve seen on television.

 

Legendary broadcasters like Burleigh Smith, known to many as the father of Bakersfield news. Or it could be veteran anchor, Mike Hart that you think of.

 

Or maybe Jackie Parks and her husband, Todd Karli, who come to mind.  

 

But it’s time we introduce you to Larry Edwards. You see, Edwards was there from the start, back in 1953. 

 

“It was an incredible amount of fun in the old days,” said Edwards. “Completely different from now. I can remember when we were at the hotel where the Bank of America building is now.”

 

When KERO moved to its current location on 21st Street a few years later, Edwards moved right along with it. 

 

He began his nearly 30-year career with KERO as a camera operator, then became production manager and built the 23ABC set from scratch. 

 

“We used to have curtains hung all the around,” said Edwards.

 

There was also an anchor desk that sat on 7-Up crates. 

 

The sets he built were not only used to deliver the news, but were also graced by Bakersfield legends like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

 

“Buck would come and play for $7.15 a show and Merle Haggard would come and play for free just to be on TV,” said Edwards.

 

The country music icons who would go on to birth the Bakersfield Sound were regular guests on Cousin Herb’s Trading Post, one of the most notable shows that aired on 23ABC during its first decade on television.

 

Then there’s The Uncle Woody Show, a wildly popular variety show in the 1960s and 1970s. 

And we can’t forget about Shebang.

 

“Dick Clark wanted to do a west coast version of American Bandstand so they came here, because ironically, we had the biggest available studio in the west coast,” said Edwards. “So we did this kids dance show, it was called Shebang.”

 

But it’s his good friend, Don Rodewald, who hosted Edwards’ favorite show. Rodewald hosted The Afternoon Show, a two-hour show that made its way inside the homes of local residents from the mid 50s to the mid 70s. 

 

Larry has watched his friends make history. He’s been a big part of 23ABC’s history too. 

He was there in 1967 when the station becoming the first in Kern County to broadcast in color. 

 

From black and white images, to the crisp colorful ones you see today, though the look has changed, 23ABC’s mission has stayed the same. We are committed to telling your stories, connecting you to the community, and delivering news when you need it most and have enjoyed doing so for the past 65 years.