MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa- Saturday June 2, marks the 95 anniversary on the air for radio station KFJB.
On June 2, 2018, News Talk 1230 KFJB will celebrate its 95th anniversary on-air serving the people of Marshalltown and Marshall County,” said General Manager Todd Steinkamp. “Were talking local weather. we’re talking local people, to people you that you are hearing here, we are local.”
The station’s early days were marked by live performances, as there were no networks, or even records to play at the start. Performers like Ernest Tubbs, and groups like the County Marshalls played in a large studio before the microphones.
“In 1917, Earl N. Peak, President of the Marshal Electric Company, began installing rural electric lines throughout Marshall County,” said Steinkamp in a news release. “Peak and his company also began working with telegraph and telephone technology, eventually leading to his engineers experimenting with amateur radio as early as 1919.”
Even before the formal FCC license, KFJB was broadcasting to very few people, as radio was still a new thing. The station did some groundbreaking sports broadcasting.
“They essentially strung wires out the window of the studios down the ditch to Franklin Field and broadcast football game September 23 of 1922,” said Program Director, and Morning Show Host Kyle Martin. “We are credited with being the first live remote broadcast of a high school sporting event in the entire nation.”
“Ronald Reagan applied for a job here, I know he ended up at WHO we unfortunately did not hire Ronald Reagan, so that’s a big oops on our part,” said Steinkamp.
Martin also hosts a weekly show called, “Man on the Street,” which began as a way for locals to get to be heard on the radio, when it was still kind of novel. Now, it’s a weekly community talk show done on location.
“We give local, local, local, and then we throw in another slice of local,” said Martin. “Your not going to probably hear Betty June‘s birthday on a lot of other radio stations, you’re probably not going to hear funeral announcements we probably are not going to hear local sports a lot of other radio stations.”
“To think of all the major events over the past 95 years that have gone over the air waves of KFJB is remarkable,” said Steinkamp, “World War 2, Amelia Earhart flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Franklin D. Roosevelt being elected to a fourth term, the Hindenburg disaster, Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon and the list goes on, KFJB literally was a part of history and delivered news from around the world to the listeners of central Iowa then and now”.
In the early days KFJB was heard well beyond Marshall County.
“Initially think about it, there were not a lot of radio stations back in the early 20s, so the signal would skip and go very far,” said Martin. “We were getting telegrams and reports from the Solomon Islands also, from Canada.”
KFJB has been operated by Marshalltown Broadcasting Inc. since 1987. In early 2018 an ownership change was announced, which becomes effective on June 5, to Trending Media, Inc., owned and locally operated by current General manager Todd Steinkamp and former owner Bob Holtan and his wife Collen Holton.
“We’re proud to provide local broadcasting dating 95 years plus,” said Martin