NOTE: This text was amended several times following discovery of additional information relating to both the time schedule and events that are covered.
When Mutual dropped Jepko on May 29, 1977, it had the effect of reversing the 'upward and onward' story of the 'Nite Stand' show. Now it was downward and backward in terms of description for any appraisal of Jepko's financial health. Because although Jepko began putting together a tiny new network of his own, that was still centered around his flagship station in Salt Lake City, when KSL pulled the plug on February 9, 1979, Jepko was in big trouble. He began to liquidate his own assets in order to stay afloat, and consequently Jepko headed for bankruptcy.
On September 13, 1979, Hagger called Don Pierson in Eastland and discussed the possibility of coming to Jepko's rescue with a new broadcasting plan. On October 22, 1979, after receiving positive feedback from Pierson, Hagger called Jepko and proposed a meeting with Don Pierson in Dallas, after Hagger explained to Jepko who Don Pierson is, and what he had created in the United Kingdom back in the Nineteen Sixties.
Jepko agreed and so Hagger and a business colleague, (who was not a member of 'The Trio'), sent Jepko a round trip plane ticket to fly from Salt Lake City, Utah to DFW airport which is located more-or-less halfway between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas. Meanwhile, Hagger and colleague would fly from Houston to DFW where they would meet Jepko, and then the three of them would meet Pierson who had driven from Eastland to DFW. Their destination after a short drive, was to be an exploratory business discussion over lunch atop the landmark Reunion Tower. This structure in the heart of Dallas, was made visually world famous by its inclusion in the opening sequence of the television soap opera called 'Dallas'.
But this meeting did not go ahead as planned. Instead it began to immediately reveal the somewhat bizarre but kind nature of quiet spoken Don Pierson. When the three of them stepped outside of the airport to where Don Pierson was waiting in his Cadillac, all three of them entered the back seat because the front passenger seat was already occupied by a young boy of Primary School age.
During the introductions that immediately followed, Don Pierson explained to a somewhat annoyed Herb Jepko who had come to Dallas to discuss business, that his front seat passenger had been staying as the guest of Don and his wife at their property in Eastland. Don elaborated that he had first met this boy with his mother while travelling on a plane, and that the boy's mother who was seated next to him, explained to Don that her husband and boy's father, had been killed in Vietnam during that war. So Don invited the boy for a holiday in Eastland where he could learn to ride a horse, and now Don was taking the boy back to his home.
Don had made good on his offer. It had been extended to the boy long before the potential life and death business offer had been extended to Herb Jepko. Naturally, Jepko had flown a great distance to meet Don, and so he was not exactly pleased to hear this news. It also changed the schedule. Because Don was doing the driving, the three adults were now captives in the back seat of Don's Cadillac and they would be accompanying the young boy back to his home in a remote part of East Texas where his mother was waiting for him.
Attempts were made by Jepko to discuss the reason why he had come to Dallas, but he was frequently interrupted during his extended and unexpected to who-knows-where, by comments regarding horses and the holiday experiences of a young boy. Prior to this event Hagger did not realise that this was normal behavior for Don Pierson. Needless to say, Herb Jepko was not impressed and he continued to mumble words to that effect while sitting on the back seat of Don's car. It was a poor start to a discussion regarding a new broadcasting plan. However, Don was not seeking anything, it was his companions on the back seat of his car who were the ones attempting to become deal makers.
Eventually the delivery was made and then the return journey to Dallas began. When they finally reached Reunion Tower for a delayed lunch, Jepko's current situation was explained in depth to Don Pierson. Don's immediate reaction was that a relocation of the network to a new flagship station in Dallas had possibilities, if he got involved.
Don then began to think out loud about how he would go about finding that new flagship station to act as a new originating broadcast studio for the 'Nite Cap Show'. Herb Jepko then remarked that the cost of commuting would be too high, to which Don Pierson responded that he was not talking about Jepko commuting from Salt Lake City to Dallas, but about Jepko moving his home to Dallas.
Although Herb Jepko was broke and travelling free on a plane ticket which had been sent to him, Herb Jepko was not inclined to even remotely consider a geographical move almost half-way across the USA. Voicing his displeasure at the entire proposal, Herb Jepko rapidly brought the meal and the discussion to a close. By this time Herb was drinking heavily, and in not too many years hence it was suggested that alcoholic consumption had helped to terminate his life at a relatively young age.
When this introductory meeting reached its conclusion, Pierson drove Jepko, Hagger and colleague back to DFW, and that is where Jepko left them to board his plane. Also departing were any plans for Jepko to go into business with Don Pierson.
However, this second meeting with Don Pierson did not immediately end, because Pierson then drove Hagger and his colleague to Abilene, and during the journey Pierson unveiled a different plan: Pierson wanted to start a newspaper that would compete with the existing daily publication.
Hagger responded that Pierson's new paper would be competing with a huge operation that Hagger had already come up against when a German lawyer and newspaper proprietor asked Hagger to take over a failing weekly newspaper which the attorney had inherited from an Estate settlement of his legal bill. Hagger explained to Pierson the lengths to which this competitive chain of newspapers was likely to go to in order to defeat a new rival, and Hagger was speaking from experience. Pierson was not too happy with that answer which he regarded as words of defeatism. In response he cited his own battle with the UK General Post Office when he started 'Radio London'. Now another side of Don Pierson began to emerge: one in which he would not take "no" for an answer, even when the facts in play showed that he should.
However, it was from the initial meeting arranged by Hagger with Jepko, which then morphed into a business discussion initiated by Pierson about starting a newspaper, and which then moved on to yet another proposal to start a franchised monthly magazine.
Hagger's colleague at that time was a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a member of a small Jewish fraternity. Two of his friends were in the business of selling original fine art for an Austrian who had an exclusive fine arts gallery in the heart of New Orleans. The owner of the gallery sought out his buyers for art as an investment by buying full page advertising in 'Architectural Digest' magazine. This lavish publication for the wealthy attracted professional people in Texas with investable income.
The Austrian owner of the New Orleans gallery had a curious linkage to the fine art works primarily confiscated by Hermann Goering's National Socialists from Jews during World War II. Apocryphal tales emerged that some of Goering's full length wall paintings depicting scenes from Wagner's libretto of 'Tannhäuser ' which had once hung on the walls of Nazi headquarters in Munich, were now on display in New Orleans. Known (in English) as the Brown House, the Nazi building containing those art works was destroyed by Allied bombing during the War, so how those art works got from Munich to New Orleans is unclear, and it is not proven that this is what happened. What is known is that works of a similar description did go on display in New Orleans to be offered for sale.
The factor that made this story even more strange is that if the Austrian really did hold National Socialist beliefs, his main salesman was really a "self-hating Jew" who in turn had Jewish friends with more conventionally neutral and even mundane interpretations of their own faith. They equated with many English people of the Nineteen Fifties, who, when asked to describe their belief, would simply answer "C of E" (Church of England), and show little, if any, outward linkage to that institution.
The latter description also describes Hagger's business companion from Houston. He was extremely funny and could have easily become a successful stand-up comedian like Jerry Seinfeld, but he was also full of self-doubt, and that was a pity, because it undermined his own belief in himself and thus it turned him into a poor salesman.
This is how the story of 'The Trio' began. It was quite by accident, or rather a series of 'accidents', because each time that their interest began to fade away from the topic of offshore radio broadcasting during the Nineteen Sixties, someone or something would ramp-up their attention once again.
Tomorrow: The beginnings of our Precursory Index ....
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