A Diamond Anniversary
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The year was 1942. The world was at war, and in fact, war bonds were first introduced, bringing in $13 billion.

Despite the war, it was an amazing year for movies. Casablanca, Holiday Inn, Bambi, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and the Road to Morocco all made their premieres on the big screen.

Popular songs ranged from "White Christmas" to "Deep in the Heart of Texas".

The average wage was $1,880...and the average cost of a new house was $3,770...literally two years wages. A gallon of gas was 15 cents, and a new car to put that gas in cost $920 on average. Duck tape was invented, as was instant coffee. And a bottle...a bottle...of Coca-Cola was a nickel.

And in Waterloo, Iowa, a brand new radio station was ready to go on the air, awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission. It would become the first station in the country to begin broadcasting with the maximum 50,000 watts, with a clear channel signal that would reach more than half the country at night and early morning.

It was founded by a man who grew up down the road in Finchford, at a time when there wasn't any radio. He became a hit on the NBC radio network and had his own national daily program. But he longed for his Iowa home, so he left the big cities of Chicago and New York and moved back to Black Hawk County to establish his own station.

That man was Joe Dumond, Sr., and he founded KXEL as the first property in his Josh Higgins Broadcasting Company, named for the character he played on radio.

And tomorrow will mark 75 years to the day that KXEL radio first signed on as a new voice on the radio spectrum...the voice of Eastern Iowa.

More about the station and its founder, along with a couple of programs that actually aired on that first day of broadcasting...tomorrow at noon on KXEL Classic Radio Matinee.

And that's the Iowa Politics report for Friday, July 14, on twitter and instagram at iowapolitics. Listen to today's segment here:

  • @iowapolitics
    Jeff Stein is a national award-winning broadcaster, with 35 years of experience in Iowa radio and television. He has covered every Iowa presidential caucus since 1980, and has been a featured political analyst on the Fox News Channel, PBS News Hour, and various television and radio stations in Iowa. He also produces and hosts the syndicated "Iowa Almanac" daily feature, and the weekly public affairs program, "The IowaWatch Connection".

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