A Brief History of AM 1370 KDTH – The Voice of the Tri-States
AM 1370 KDTH officially signed on the air Sunday morning, May 4, 1941 broadcasting from 8th and Bluff in Dubuque. KDTH signed on at a power of 1000 watts with a 3-tower array at its transmitter site in East Dubuque, IL.
Live talent was very valuable in the beginning days of KDTH, and musicians and actors were much in demand.
A new program “Dinner with the Smiths,” slanted to entertain the farm audience, came over KDTH in September 1941. Good old mountain music was intermingled with humor.
The first regularly scheduled program to originate from KDTH over the Mutual Broadcasting System was “The Junior Musicale.”
KDTH aired the first outdoor concert of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra held at Loras College Stadium when its new band shell was dedicated. Actor and radio star Dennis Morgan took part.
A special broadcast was made from the ice harbor in June 1941 when a new boat was launched – a U.S. Guard cutter was built by the Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works.
A mobile unit was purchased in July 1941, which gave KDTH a wider range and enabled the station to report more events from where they happened. KDTH did the broadcast when Gov. George A. Wilson spoke at a dedicatory program in Dyersville, Iowa, for its new ornamental streetlights.
Some of the early names at KDTH included Ken Gordon, GM; Paul Skinner, Program Director; Sherman Bowen, News/Sports; Fred Smith, Announcer; Arnie Steirman, Stan Beck, Engineer; Warren Brinkley, George Freund, George Barrington, Vern Steirman, Gerald “Red” McAleece, Bill and Betty Thomas and Gordon Kilgore.
There were 16 full time employees when KDTH went on the air. KDTH quickly established itself as the source for information in the tri-states. News, local sports, weather and farm information. A tradition that continues today as AM 1370 KDTH celebrates more than 75 years of service to the Tri-States.