WDLB-AM has proudly served the Marshfield area since February 02, 1947
|WDLB signed on the air on February 2nd 1947, and has broadcast continuously from the same location at 1710 North Central Avenue since the beginning.
WDLB signed on with 250 watts, later increasing to 1,000 watts. Originally the station broadcast from a transmitter located in back of the studio building, later moved to it’s current location approximately 1 mile north.
The Call Letters stand for “Wisconsin’s Dairy Land Broadcaster”
In 1965, an FM sister station, WDLB-FM (later WLJY) was added at 106.5 Mhz, followed in the early 90’s by 92.3 WOSQ-FM.
In 1976, an early Morning Farm Program debuted, hosted by Farm Broadcaster Les Leonard. This later grew into a state-wide broadcast known as “Daybreak”, most recently hosted by Bob Meyer..
Founded and owned by former ABC Executive Hartley Samuels, WDLB later became part of the Goetz Broadcasting family. The station was sold to Marathon Media in the late 1990’s, then NRG Media in 2004.
In 2006 WDLB was sold to it’s current owner Seehafer Broadcasting, headed by Marshfield Native and former WDLB Sportscaster Don Seehafer in a deal which also included WFHR, Wisconsin Rapids.
Former WDLB Announcer Wally Boller:
I had spent four and one-half months as the Sunday morning announcer at WNOP in Newport , Ky. After about four months, I decided I was “pretty good” on the air and decided to pursue a paying job.
After I finished on a Sunday afternoon, I made list of stations within 500 miles of Cincinnati . I picked 25 of them and wrote each a letter of application. I had audited a class at Xavier University taught by Dr. Joe Link. It was sort of an introduction to business. I followed his formula for a letter of application – very short and very businesslike.
Out of the 25 letters I mailed, I got five answers, two requesting audition discs. I got a newspaper and did some ads and some news stories. I mailed them out and got two job offers.
I went to Marshfield , Wis. I was going to be paid $50 a week ($20 better than minimum wage). As soon as I saw the place, I knew I was in over my head. The building was on the north side of town, a beautiful two-story building with a handsome main studio which could seat 100 people for any one of the dozen live shows on the station each week.
The station carried a very heavy schedule of commercials to support their big investment and high overhead. There were 17 very well paid (for 1951) people on the staff. The only one on the air with the light experience I brought to my first full-time job – was me.
My first night, I watched the operation. The senior announcer was doing the shift. About 10:30 , he handed me a United Press newscast and told me,” Let’s make the 10:55 news your first appearance on WDLB.”
I went into the news studio and read that newscast at least three times. When 10:55 p.m. came, the red on-air light over the control room window came on. I froze up. I made so many mistakes during that newscast, that at five minutes after 11, I still hadn’t finished the 10 minutes the broadcast should have taken. I was sure I would get fired, but I didn’t.Little bit by little bit, I smoothed out. (A year and a half later, I was news director of a radio station).
Fifty-nine years later, I am still grateful to the bosses at the station who put up with me. To this day, whenever I talk about the Marshfield station where I started in 1951 start, I always refer to myself “as the nation’s most overpaid $50 a week radio announcer.” Nobody I ever worked with there has argued with me.
Former WDLB Announcer Bob Doll:
The picture in the control room is of me at WDLB back in 1955. In those days, our commercials were on reel to reel tape machines. We had to thread them while one was running, and you had to move really fast to do that.
Earlier that year, I was working as a machinist for Harley Davidson in Milwaukee. During my stint there I made just about every precision part on a Harley motorcycle. It wasn’t what I wanted do, so I quit, and gave myself two weeks to find a job in radio. I had absolutley no experience or training, and it was on a Friday night of the second week that I ran into Hartley Samuels, who owned WDLB. I met him in a parking lot at a radio station in Wausau. He gave me a chance and the rest as they say, is history. He helped me get rid of a German accent worse than Schulz from Hogan’s Heros.
By the way, the first thing I did at WDLB was interview Minnie Pearl during the Marshfield Fair. The worst experience of my life at that point was all those people staring at me
Irv Miller WDLB Publicity Photo
WDLB – Marshfield – 1951 State Semi-Pro Tournament with Irv Miller doing play-by-play.
L-R – Jerry Boos, Irv Miller, Bob Hansen