Ken Shepherd

Ken Shepherd was the youngest of three sons born to Velva and Dale Brobst. His father was employed by AT&T Long Lines Division and his mother was a manager for Sears. He grew up in Queensborough graduating from Fair Park High School in 1971. Ken says he was a bit of a troublemaker as a child and was drawn to soul music. His first radio experience was with KOKA, a black station, and most of his friends were black. He had a passion for politics and at age fifteen worked in the Presidential campaign for Hubert Humphrey. He was also very involved in the civil rights movement in Shreveport and because he had so many black friends, most of the clubs he went to were black owned, like Club 51 on Cooper Road, the Flamingo Club in Bossier City, Brown's Cafe on Allen Avenue and Hollywood Palace on Hollywood Avenue. Ken participated in some of the marches and protests in Shreveport and became very involved in politics in the black community. In 1972, he went to work as one of Hubert Humphrey's national youth coordinators spending the year leading up to the Democratic convention traveling with Senator Humphrey on his campaign plane. After the campaign was over, Ken returned to Shreveport and began working part time at a couple of radio stations and then full time at the black gospel station, KCIJ, as program director. At KCIJ he met Pastor B. L. Blade, Sr. and they became very close friends. Later he moved to KROC FM and became the program director there. At this time he married Pam Shepherd and changed his last name from Brobst to Shepherd because it was easier to understand on the air. In 1977, SPAR (Shreveport Parks and Recreation) built the Veterans Park Outdoor Theater on Clyde Fant Parkway and Ken, now working at radio station KROC, hosted the first concert there called KROC Ninety-four hour Non-stop Better Boogie Birthday Party. The area could hold up to 3200 people and they had 11,000 people show up for the show and A-Train, Southpaw and Danny Johnson and The Bandits played. He and KROC held two or three shows a year there for several years, partnering with 7-Eleven stores. He also emceed the Annual Jerry Lewis Telethon on Channel 3 for a number of years. Ken brought in national acts to the Louisiana Music Festival. The year that his son, seven year old Kenny, saw Stevie Ray Vaughan was a turning point in Kenny's life. Stevie Ray Vaughan had him sitting on an amp on the stage for two hours watching him play. Ken gave him his first guitar that Christmas. As the program director, Ken and the music director picked all of the songs that were played. As a reporting station, Ken reported to Radio and Records Magazine, Billboard and Cashbox Magazine. Later Ken negotiated a deal for Kenny, left radio and managed Kenny's business. Kenny was sixteen at the time and Ken is still his manager and promoter. Ken says that all of the changes in the music industry have been great because it allows artists like Kenny to be in total control of their careers and assets. The number of rock stations has decreased over the years so a lot of the marketing is through social media. Ken thinks it is likely that Shreveport did not become big in the music industry like Nashville because local business did not have the vision for it. Ken is married to Cindy and they have three children and eight grandchildren.