20th anniversary of Radio Iowa

Radio Iowa is one of several state radio news networks owned by the company I work for. The first newscast went up “on the bird” on July 1, 1987. So the network is twenty years + 3 weeks old. I dug out the “start-up” file and took a little stroll down memory lane.

In the newsroom that first day: News Director Dennis Sutterer, O. Kay Henderson and Todd Kimm (Kay and Todd are still there, grinding out the news and sports). We leased two tiny rooms from an advertising agency in Des Moines. One for a studio…one for a very snug newsroom.

L-R: Todd, Dennis, Kay

Planning for the network started in October of 1986. In February of 1987, we mailed our first packet of info to radio stations throughout the state:

“Radio Iowa will be Iowa’s first full-service, satellite delivered state news network. Headquartered in Des Moines, Radio Iowa’s three person news staff will cover the legislature and state government.

The enclosed packet includes brief descriptions of Radio Iowa programming; a schedule of feed times; affiliattion contract and clearance declaration; and a demo cassette.”

There was more, but you get the idea.

In March of ’87, Roger Gardner and I started in-station pitches. A few of the stops on that first swing: Bill Wells, KSO, Des Moines; Mark Mennick, WOC, Davenport; Kevin Kelly, WDBQ, Dubuque; Betty Baudler and Rich Fellingham, KASI, Ames; Larry Edwards, WMT, Cedar Rapids; Glenn Olsen, KQWC, Webster City; Mary Quass, KHAK, Cedar Rapids; John Carl, KCOB, Newton; Don Tool, KRNT, Des Moines.

I think we went on the air with 32 affiliates airing our reports.

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