Robert Hyland’s name was essentially synonymous with that of the radio station he managed, KMOX.
His St. Louis radio career actually began in 1945 at KXOK, where he worked as an advertising salesman. In 1946 he was appointed sales manager of KXOK-FM. The station’s owners put Hyland in charge of the effort to sell “transit radio,” an ill-fated venture around the country to rescue a gasping FM radio industry by placing receivers in municipal streetcars and buses.
He was hired by CBS radio in 1950 and sent to WBBM in Chicago, returning to St. Louis less than two years later to work at KMOX. He quickly rose from his first job as national sales manager to general sales manager to assistant general manager in 2 years. In 1955, Hyland took the reigns as KMOX general manager, a position he held until his death in 1992.
Under Hyland’s leadership, KMOX became the first major radio station to adopt an all-talk format, which was dubbed “At Your Service.” He also developed KMOX into the “Sports Voice of St. Louis” with play-by-play for the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Football Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and University of Missouri football and basketball.
KMOX consistently registered the highest listening ratings in the nation and often the highest gross revenues in the CBS-owned radio chain. The Wall Street Journal cited Hyland as one of the nation’s most notorious workaholics. He arrived for work at KMOX at 2:00 a.m. six days a week, usually staying until 5:30 in the afternoon.
Hyland turned down offers to become president of CBS Sports, and later, of the CBS Radio Network, chosing to remain in St. Louis. CBS founder William Paley said of Hyland’s KMOX, “It is the jewel in CBS’s crown.”