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The Bar and Stool Shoppe
842 18 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hodgson Funeral Home
608 20 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Tire & Battery
120 E 1 Ave
Milan, IL 61264

IH Missiissippi Valley Credit Union
4206 5th Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Illini Hospital
801 Hospital Rd
Silvis, IL 61282

Jerry's Market
1609 17 St
Moline, IL 61265

L & W Bedding
1211 16 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Southeast National Bank
3535 23rd Ave
Moline, IL 61265

State Bank of Orion
1114 4th St
Orion, IL 61273

3900 26 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

United Way of the Quad Cities Area
3247 E 35 St Ct
Davenport, IA 52807

Bornhoeft Heating & Air Conditioning
620 15 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Dans Automotive
1504 16 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Derbytech Computer Works
700 16 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Achor Do-It Center
1505 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Bobb Chiropractic Center
813 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Ricks Lawn & Garden
1844 42 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Amador Chiropractic
924 1 St
Silvis, IL 61282

Community Health Care
1803 7 St
Moline, IL 61265

Vickroy's of Monmouth
120 E Archer Ave
Monmouth, IL 61462

Evans Manufacturing
4608 W 78 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Martin Equipment
Rock Island, IL 61201

Clinton Community College
Muscatine Community College
Scott Community college

United Personnel, Inc
1921 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

KDi Corporation
P.O. Box 1342
Bettendorf, IA 52722

5115 Utica Ridge Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Careers, Inc
807 W 35 St
Davenport, IA

Midwest Human Resources
4601 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Volt Services Group
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 404
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

All Staff Human Resources
3401 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

All Staff Human Resources
710 E Kimberly Rd
Davenport, IA

Olsten Health Services Staffing
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 301
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

Olsten Health Services
2525 24 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Kelly Services
2001 52 Ave Suite A
Moline, IL 61265

Kelly Services
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 504
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

Initial Staffing Services
2435 E Kimberly RD Suite 15 South
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Interim Personnel
4703 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Advanced Accounting
404 Northwest Bank Tower
Bettendorf, IA 52722

AllStaff Medical Inc
207 N Elm
Creston, IA

Med Staff
2102 E Kimberly Rd Suite 1
Davenport, IA

612 Valley Dr
Moline, IL 61265

256 90 St #3B
Davenport, IA 52806

2224 E 12 St
Davenport, IA 52803

Quad-City Rental Property Association
PO Box 517
Betendorf, IA 52722

Heartland Towers Senior Community
1700 Hospital Rd
Silvis, IL

Homewood Manor Apartments
3425 60 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Super 8 Motel
2201 John Deere Expressway
East Moline, IL 61244

Pheasant Ridge
3500 70th St
Moline, IL

Watch Hill Tower
3705 9th St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Colona House
54 41 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Chateau Knoll
29 & Middle Rd
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Southpark Towers
2424 40 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

L & W Bedding
1211 16 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

L & W Bedding
1660 W Locust
Davenport, IA

Hodgson Funeral Home
608 20 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

WaterPark Car Wash
3800 38 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

RSC-Foxx Division
3913 24 St
Moline, IL 61265

Joy State Bank
PO Box 217
Joy, IL 61260

American Bank & Trust
4301 E 53 St
Davenport, IA

American Bank & Trust
1600 4th Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Bank & Trust
3730 18 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Bank & Trust
2350 412 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Office Machine Consultants
534 16 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Royal Neighbors
230 16 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Midwest- Engineering
2500 36 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Radio changes format to maintain audience

By Carol Loretz, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer
Click for larger image
WOC used this studio in the 1920s, during the infancy of radio broadcasting in the Quad-Cities. It was heavily draped to mute outside noise and furnished with wicker, which was popular at the time. The Victrola in the background was used to broadcast recorded music, and the two women were preparing to entertain the listeners.

Lots of names have passed by the microphones of Quad-Cities radio stations on their way to fame in other areas, but perhaps the most famous of these was Ronald 'Dutch' Reagan who toiled here before going on to become an actor and eventually president.

Radio has grown from a pastime families once shared to a companion individuals take with them wherever they go.

Seven years after Guglielmo Marconi broadcast the first radio signals in 1895, WOC received its call letters, becoming the first commercial station west of the Mississippi in 1922. Headquartered in Davenport, it branched into television in October of 1949.

Dr. B.J. Palmer, who founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic started the WOC when he bought a 250-watt Rock Island station from Robert Karlowa and moved it to Davenport. He put it on the highest spot he could find, the roof of Palmer College at the top of the Brady Street Hill.

The radio transmitting towers made an impressive sight, especially at night when illuminated by floodlights.

WOC told its early listeners, who shared crystal sets to hear the broadcasts, the sounds were coming from ``Where the West begins ... in the state where the tall corn grows.''

When WOC tested its 500 watts on Aug. 15, 1922, more than 2,000 people with crystal sets in 35 states, Canada and Cuba wrote letters to the station.

That fall, the New York Times radio editor heard a WOC broadcast in Times Square and wrote a letter, saying the program ``caused a sensation among radio fans because of the unusual clearness of the transmission and the perfect modulation of the voice of the announcer ... it was so distinct that it seemed that he were talking in the next room.''

At the time, programs included news, weather, market reports, educational talks and music.

``Early radio had to be everything to all people, offering something for everyone on the same station,'' said Harold Heath of Davenport, who started working for WOC after World War II. ``The idea was for one station to satisfy the entire listening audience by doing it at different times of the day. Today, the focus has narrowed, and stations target certain audiences.''

Instead of today's habit of listening to the same station all day, he said, people listened when the program that appealed to them was broadcast. Bucking the trend, Mr. Heath said, WMT in Cedar Rapids adheres to the old format.

Early programming was sporadic, sometimes only an hour or so after supper. Such broadcasts could include a mother playing the piano while her daughter sang. When Frank Conrad set up a station with the call letters 8XK and played phonograph records on the air, he may have become the world's first disc jockey. His station became KDKA-Pittsburgh, one of the earliest and most famous commercial stations.

Some broadcasts became historical milestones. In 1921, RCA broadcast the world heavyweight title fight between Jack Dempsey and George Carpentier of France. By 1925, 26 stations carried President Calvin Coolidge's inaugural address.

Trips down memory lane have been popular since 1927. KPO in San Francisco advertised it as ``just old songs, the dear melodies of the '70s, '80s and early '70s.''

In 1924, WOC became one of the nation's most powerful stations when Western Electric installed a 2-ton transmitter and filter, bumping the station up to 5,000 watts. It made possible programs such as Val McLaughlin's ``Sandman Visits'' to be picked up from Chicago and New York.

As radio evolved, it ended the isolation of small-town America. Farmers listened to weather and crop reports early in the morning. Women listened to soap operas during the day. Just before dinner, 15-minute adventure and mystery shows for children were broadcast. Dramatic serials drew the entire family together. Classical music often was played late at night.

Programs were designed to appeal to age groups, genders and those interested in particular topics. Helen Trent, for example, became a popular soap opera character appealing to women. Children found Jack Armstrong, the All American boy, a favorite.

In 1944, Davenport residents G. Decker French and Howard P. Eckerman and Bruff W. Olin Jr. of New York applied to the Federal Communications Commission for a new radio station under the name Moline Broadcast Co. Its 250 watts at 1230 kilocycles were to affiliate with the Columbia Broadcasting System, bringing Moline its first local radio station.

Mr. Olin, who owned 90 percent of the business, was to move to Moline and become managing director of the station.

Among WOC's most famous alumnus was president Ronald Reagan. Known to his listeners as Dutch Reagan, he worked a brief stint as announcer in radio's early days. His brother Moon Reagan also worked there.

At the end of World War II, Mr. Heath, 21, moved to Davenport to work for WOC as an announcer.

``People got into the industry young and wanted to get to larger markets,'' he said. ``We had a lot of people go through here on their way to larger stations. That lasted until 1949, when loyalties split with television.''

At that time, he said, radio employees worked their regular shifts for a paycheck, then returned to volunteer for the experience of working in television.

Another well-known Quad-Cities radio voices was East Moline native William ``Spike at the Mike'' O'Dell.

``Spike was a major building block, maybe the cornerstone of KIIK with a live DJ format,'' said KIIK music director Jim O'Hara in 1987. ``The station went from No. 5 to No. 2 in the market in just one, three-month rating period.''

KIIK-104 began broadcasting in 1972 as an automated, teenie-bop, top-40 station, Mr. O'Hara said.

Mr. O'Dell's show maintained the largest following of any morning shows from 1982-1987. Its success may have continued had not WGN in Chicago offered him a job, which he accepted.

Asked to explain his Quad-Cities popularity, Mr. O'Dell said, ``I'm from here. I've seen (the Quad-Cities) from both ends -- blue collar and white collar -- and I like them both. And I think that comes through on my show. If I take a jab at someone else, people know I'll be poking fun at myself in the next minute. And I try to keep it clean. Though it has happened, I try not to do anything I wouldn't want my son to hear.''

Sources for this story include ``The Golden Years of Broadcasting'' by Robert Campbell and ``Radio Voices'' by Michele Hilmes.

Milton Berle

JImmy Durante

Eddie Cantor

Jack Benny

Bob Hope

Fred Allen

Red Skelton
Weekly WOC radio schedule for February 1948
-- Morning Devotions
-- News
-- Wake Up with Music
-- Alex Dreier
-- This Farming Business
-- Morning Sports Reporter
-- March Time
-- Kaybee Show
-- Jumping Jacks
-- Airlane Melodies
-- Story to Order
-- Cameos of Music
-- National Radio Pulpit
-- Circle Arrow Show
-- Words and Music Strings of Melody
-- Local Church Services
-- Gems of Melody
-- University of Chicago Roundtable
-- Package from Parkers
-- Served with Music
-- Coffee with Congress
-- Adventures of Frank Merriwell
-- Adventures Archie Andrews
-- Meet the Meeks
-- Smilin' Ed McConnell
-- Learn to Sew
-- Public Affairs
-- Forward March
-- Record Review
-- National Farm and Home Hour
-- Hawaiian Portraits
-- WOC Calling
-- Fred Waring
-- Road of LIfe
-- Joyce Jordan
-- This is Nora Drake
-- Katie's Daughter
-- Jack Berch
-- Lora Lawton
-- Mary Louise Marshall
-- Wishing Well
-- Guest of Honor
-- Memorials in Music
-- On the House
-- Robert McCormick
-- Exactly Like You
-- Today's Children
-- Woman in White
-- Holly Sloane
-- Light of the World
-- Life can be Beautiful
-- Ma Perkins
-- Pepper Young
-- Right to Happiness
-- Back Stage Wife
-- Stella Dallas
-- Lorenzo Jones
-- Judy and Jane
-- When a Girl Marries
-- Portia Faces Life
-- Just Plain Bill
-- Front Page Farrell
-- Clem McCarthy
-- Organ Moods Barry Wood
-- Five O'Clock News
-- First News of Evening
-- News of the World
-- Cote Glee Club
-- Falstaff Show
-- Cavalcade of America
-- Milton Berle
-- A Day in the Life of Dennis Day
-- The Aldrich Family
-- Highways in Melody
-- Voice of Firestone
-- A Date with Judy
-- The Great Gildersleeve
-- Burns and Allen
-- Can You Top This
-- The Telephone Hour
-- Amos 'n' Andy
-- Duffy's Tavern
-- Kraft Music Hall
-- People are Funny
-- Dr. I.Q.
-- Fibber McGee and Molly
-- Mr. District Attorney
-- Skippy Hollywood Theatre
-- Waltz Time
-- Carnation Conatented Hour
-- Bob Hope
-- The Big Story
-- The Bob Hawk Show
-- Molle Mystery Theatre
-- Fred Waring
-- Red Skelton
-- Jimmy Durante
-- Eddie Cantor
-- Sports Newsreel
-- Pro or Con
-- Chesterfield Supper Club
-- Chub Normal Orchestra
-- Proudly We Hail
-- Down Harmony Lane
-- Click Orchestra
-- Decision Now
-- World's Greatest Novels
-- Music to Ready By
-- Harvest of Stars
-- The Shaeffer Parade
-- One Man's Family
-- Quiz Kids
-- Musicana
-- Ford Theater
-- Relax and Listen
-- Hollywood Star Preview
-- Jack Benny
-- Fitch Bandwagon
-- Charlie McCarthy
-- Fred Alen
-- Manhattan Merry-go-Round
-- Album of Familiar Music
-- Take It or Leave It
-- Horace Heidt
-- Guest Star
-- Catholic Hour
-- Salute to Veterans
-- Orchestras of the Nation
-- Best by Request
-- First Piano Quartet
-- Edward Tonlinson
-- Swanee River Boys
-- Lonnie Herman Quintet
-- King Cole Trio
-- Boy Scout Program
-- NBC Symphony
-- Curtain Time
-- Life of Riley
-- Truth or Consequences
-- Hit Parade
-- Judy Canova Show
-- Kay Kyser
-- Grand Ole Opry
-- Music from the Heart of America
-- Here's to Veterans

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.