Thursday, March 30, 2006

Governor James Albert Noe

James Noe is one of the few people for whom two radio stations are named. He was however a political genius who saw mass media for the tool that it could be.

There was a general moratorium on new licenses during WWI. many licenses were revoked, to clear the AM band for military use. Very few new licenses were issued by the FCC in this era simply because the band was already as crowded as could be. But governor Noe was a man with mojo, he had the juice and he could pull the strings. I cant tell you how exactly he did it. Nobody knows for sure, at least nobody living.

KNOE was one of the few new radio stations allowed to start-up during WWI. It began broadcasting from downtown Monroe. Begun by former Governor James Albert Noe, the station's call letters incorporate the politician's last name. Mr. Noe later started WNOE in New Orleans, allowing Governor Noe to own two stations in the same state with virtually the same name. In an election year this was a mighty useful thing to have. Noe was an ally of the infamous criminal/legislator Gov. Huey P. Long. It was said that Long could make rivers run backwards with a dirty look. It may have been one of these looks that killed Jame Noe in 1976.

These days its still legal although widely considered morally sketchy to own media outlets as the holder of political office. His son carried on in that tradition inheriting the stations and the office as well strangely. Its a legal quirk existing only inside the city limits of NOLA. James A. "Jimmie" Noe Jr. was the only son of the former Louisiana governor. He managed his radio cluster like a family business for another 40 years. Noe Enterprises grew to include 2 AMs 2 FMs and even KNOE-TV in Monroe, LA. He died that the age of 77 last year.

Some WNOE memories here. Mere weeks after his death the FCC lost their long time fear of the Noe family and began to fine them vigorously for their misdeeds of the recent past. More here.

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