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Augie Hiebert, 90; broadcaster built first Alaska TV station

September 17, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Augie Hiebert, 90, a tireless broadcast pioneer who built Alaska's first television station, died Thursday at an Anchorage hospital. He had recently been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Hiebert was born Dec. 4, 1916, in Trinidad, Wash. Fascinated by electronics, he built and licensed his first ham radio in Bend, Ore., at age 15.

He landed his first radio job in Wenatchee, Wash., after graduating from high school, quickly moving on to a job as an announcer and engineer for a radio station in Bend. That job led him to Alaska when he followed a colleague who left in 1939 to build KFAR radio in Fairbanks.

Hiebert built Alaska's first TV station -- KTVA in Anchorage -- in 1953, offering local news as well as popular entertainment programs and feature films. He brought television to Fairbanks two years later.

Hiebert also brought the first live satellite broadcast, the 1969 Apollo moon landing, to Alaska.

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