At the age of 15, Robert Coe began operating an amateur radio station in suburban Clayton, an act that led him to become one of the co-founding engineers of KSD in its earliest construction phase in 1921. He was 19. By the time he turned 22, the station’s owner had promoted him to the position of assistant manager and chief engineer and later, executive of radio engineering. After a brief job with competitor KMOX, Coe was back at KSD, where he later helped develop the station’s “radio newspaper” transmitted via facsimile to home receivers.
In service during World War II, Robert Coe built the military communications network for the Asian-Pacific theatre. He returned to a new challenge: television, which he embraced, building KSD-TV locally before moving on to ABC-TV in New York.