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National Association of Broadcasters
WOC-AM in Davenport, Iowa, Hires Ronald Reagan (1932)

Moment 35: WOC-AM in Davenport, Iowa, Hires Ronald Reagan

A young Ronald Reagan fresh out of college tried unsuccessfully to land a radio job in Illinois, so he went looking in Iowa. He interviewed with the program director at WOC, who coincidentally had just hired an announcer the day before and had no open positions. Reagan expressed his desire to become a sports announcer, and the program director asked him to pretend to broadcast an imaginary football game. He auditioned using the example of a game he played in the previous season and got the opportunity to broadcast his first assignment that weekend – the University of Iowa’s homecoming game against Minnesota. As a safety net, the program director had Reagan and another more experienced announcer take turns calling each quarter. But by the time Reagan was finishing up the third quarter and about to hand off the duties, the program director sent a note down that read “Let the kid finish the game.”

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November 2, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast. To celebrate this special anniversary, we’re shining a spotlight on 100 key moments in radio's history.

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