By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition June 2019
It was 1975 when I first entered the radio business. My first job in this field was with KQXX FM 98.5 radio station located at 608 South 10th Street in McAllen, at that time. The building still stands, it is just across from Pep Boys.
During my time there, I often heard the manager, Mr. Chuck McKasson, talking to the Radio Frequency engineer about ordering parts. The station would order from Rio Radio Supply Co., which was owned by Fritz Bergh. The name was familiar in the station, and that’s how I first heard about Mr. Bergh. Eduardo Ed Gomez, the owner of the station, also mentioned him on several occasions.
In 1985, I was publishing CBS Chronicle, a TAB size newspaper and decided to approach Mr. Bergh for an interview. It was easy; he said yes, and I went to work. Read the article below. The photos are black and white, and I know that somewhere I have the color hard copies. When I find them, I will share them with my readers.
I included Mr. McKasson’s picture and a link for you to read more about him. On another time, I will write about the kindness of this man and how he opened the doors of radio and helped me to develop into a sales executive. Click here and get to know more about Chuck McKasson.
Fritz Bergh, An Exceptional Businessman
By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
CBS Chronicle December 1985
Fritz Bergh was a radio operator of the U.S. Navy, Pan-American radio operator, announcer, businessman, gardener, and fisherman. What you just read perfectly describes Fritz Bergh, from McAllen. He is originally from Madison, MN.
“I got out of there as soon as I possibly could. I couldn’t spend another winter over there,” he recalls. About ten years ago he married a charming student from the Pan-American University of Edinburg.
Her name is Ana, from El Salvador. Almost immediately after getting married, Ana became the Chief of Staff of the Rio Radio Supply Co. She spent her spare time doing social and civic activities.
Fritz, on the other hand, spent between 3 to 4 years in the U.S. Navy, sailing through the Atlantic Ocean and transporting goods to Attu and Kiska in Alaska before World War II. After that, he was in the Pacific, always alert and on the watch for Japanese submarines during the war. Close to the radio at all times, ready to report any emergencies. He gathered all his experience by attending Port Arthur College in Port Arthur, Texas. During this time, he worked with KGBS as an announcer, that later became KGBT in Harlingen.
Once World War II was over, Fritz and two of his friends from KGBS – Bill Sherman and Sherman Spencer – thought there was a need for a business where electronic equipment and parts could be bought. That’s how Rio Radio Supply Co. was born in McAllen, in the miserable and frightening heat of a metal building.
During its first years, Fritz didn’t gain a penny out of the new Company, which was by that time sustained by his earnings in the KRIO AM radio station. Time went by, and Fritz became the only owner of the Company because Bill Sherman decided to open Sherman electronics. Spencer also opened a business of Radio-Communications, serving mostly oil wells in the Alice area.
1953 arrived, and with it also did the first TV channel of the Valley of Texas – Channel 7. Fritz thought it was important for his Company to have TV parts and antennas. He also made it through the CB Radio boom, and after that, he started the TV production business. Today, he even owns his studio and video department.
By 1954, his son Paul H. Bergh and his accountant John Womack had also joined as new pieces of the Company. It is evident that these activities require a massive effort and work. For that reason, Fritz goes fishing quite often, to relax and reflect.
He was the President of the Texas’ International Fishing Tournament of South Padre Island. Fishing is exciting for him and even for Ana, his wife, who goes alongside him. “She gets dizzy in the ocean,” explained Fritz. Ana is also a very dynamic woman. She is part of the Arthritis Foundation board, and she is ahead of her own Professional Styles Show. She is busy all year long planning the event that takes places in August of every year.
Ana also gives part of her time to the History Museum of Hidalgo County. The Bergh’s are simple people, hard-working, and always on the lookout for ways to expand their businesses and clientele.