Betty Goshorn Weldon was born on February 22, 1922, to Robert C. and Lenore Rhino Goshorn in Eagle Grove, Iowa. When she was five years old, the Goshorns moved to Jefferson City, Missouri, and Robert became owner of the Jefferson City News Tribune, California Democrat, and Fulton Sun. Betty Goshorn grew up in the capital city, then attended Mount Holyoke College.
After her graduation in 1943, Goshorn moved back to Jefferson City and opened Calloway Hills Stables, a place where she could indulge her love of horses. Goshorn eventually built a reputation in the horse breeding community, and trained Will Shriver, a five-gaited World Champion stallion. Calloway Hills Stables was the largest privately owned American Saddlebred horse operation in the nation.
In 1953, Goshorn’s career took a dramatic turn after the death of her father. She took over Robert’s two businesses, KWOS-Radio and the News Tribune. Goshorn decided to buy a TV station, and traveled to New York to seek the million dollars in advertising fees needed to make her dream a reality.
She met with a representative from Blair Advertising, and was not taken seriously. The man with whom she met disregarded her request and sexually harassed her. Furious at his disrespect, Goshorn demanded to speak with the vice president of the agency, Bill Weldon. At the end of her meeting with Weldon, she had a million dollars and a future husband to bring home. In the same year, she became Betty Weldon and the first woman to own and operate a television station.
Although all stations west of the Mississippi River had to use the call letters “KR” in their name, the owner could decide the last two. Weldon named her station KRCG, after her father. She was incredibly successful, and the executive director of the Missouri Press Association said that people interested in running for statewide office sought Weldon’s blessing before beginning their campaigns. In 1966, the Federal Communications Commission prohibited any person from owning both print and broadcast operations, so Weldon sold her television and radio stations in order to remain with her father’s original newspaper business.
Weldon loved all animals, not just horses, and in the 1980s she established an animal shelter in Calloway Hills that did not euthanize stray cats and dogs. She was also very charitable in the human community. She mailed Christmas presents to the children of men and women who were incarcerated in local jails. Weldon also donated the building space for the Goshorn Handicapped Center, to be used for the education of handicapped children. It later merged with other schools, and is today known as the Special Learning Center. She co-founded and co-chaired many social service agencies, including the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, and organized the first cancer fundraising drive in Missouri.
She had one son, Frank Gifford Weldon, and two daughters, Lenore “Tony” Weldon and Sally Proctor.← Baker, Sam A. Hough, Arthur →