It is with a sad heart that I report the passing of Ernesto F. Barton.

Mr. Barton passed away on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at the age of 88.

Barton was born in 1930 in Laredo and proudly served in both the National Guard and the US Air Force.

He also started the first Spanish language radio station, KLFB, in 1968.

From Latino Lubbock Magazine:

In 1970, after the Lubbock tornado the true value of the all-Spanish radio station was recognized when the F-5 tornado demolished the northern neighborhoods occupied by many Mexican American families.

The Guadalupe neighborhood north of 4th Street between Avenues Q and Ave. A, experienced the worst residential damage, as well as fatalities.

Barton and his staff quickly recognized a language obstacle and without hesitance responded to the needs of the Hispanic residents by assisting and serving as a link to emergency personnel and agencies who responded to the crisis. Because the KLFB radio station had been knocked off the air, they worked on a remote basis broadcasting from the basement of city hall int the emergency center next to KFYO, who was the official emergency radio station in Lubbock.

The staff of the radio station stayed on the air day and night informing Spanish-speaking citizens about the disaster.

“We worked collectively with KFYO to provide up-to-the-minute information in Spanish about what was going on and where they could get help,” shared Mr. Barton in a previous interview.

Barton and his wife Manuela, owned and operated the West Texas Hispanic news for 41 years and was also the host of Si Se Puede on KAMC Television for another 40 years.

In 1992, Mr. Barton put Power 106 KEJS FM on the air. (Now known as Power 104.3.)

He was commended by President Richard Nixon for his work on the coverage of the 1970 tornado and received the first Adelante Award from Los Hermanos Familia.

On behalf of myself and the entire staff of Townsquare Media Lubbock, 102.5 KISS FM, and Newstalk KFYO we offer Manuela and the entire Barton family our sincerest condolences.

Authors Note:

I worked for Mr. Barton at KEJS FM from Mid 2015 until September of 2016. It was an honor and a privilege to work with such an outstanding leader in our community. He was the type of man who would give you the shirt off his back. He could be serious at times, and quite funny at others. But at the end of the day, he was a good man, and I for one will miss him greatly.

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