By Kris Leonhardt
In the early part of the 20th century, AM radio became a primary source of news and entertainment in what is often referred to as the “Golden Age of Radio.” Print publications, FM radio stations, and the advent of television were already changing the way Americans received their information by the time WDLB began broadcasting to the greater Marshfield area.
WDLB’s ability to connect the rural community to the city of Marshfield, provide a forum for local talent and community leaders, and engaging listeners has kept the local media and entertainment outlet a staple of the community.
Though time has altered WDLB’s outside appearance, it has not outgrown its roots. This is not just reflected in the station’s offerings but in its facilities as well. A step inside prompts a nostalgic look back to a day when local talent recorded live in Marshfield’s hometown radio station studio and when commercial jingles ran on auto play through the minds of loyal listeners.
The biggest change is the number of personnel that walk the halls of the local station.
“We had news people. We had advertising people. We had announcers. People were running around the place all of the time,” said former News Director Thom Gerretsen. “I want to say we had up to 30 people, part-timers and full-timers.”
The current WDLB staff includes Jon Albrecht, who serves as station and sales manager for all the Seehafer-owned stations in Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids; Lynn Schneider, administrative assistant; Jeff Cannon, operations manager, announcer, Insight and General Store host; Kevin Attoe, morning announcer; Gene Delisio, sports director; Mike Warren, news director; Sheila Bowen, traffic manager; Lyle Miller and Colleen Schwanebeck, sales representatives; Tom Uthmeier, sales representative/board operator; and Adam Berdan and Jake Nernberger, board operators.
Though the familiar voices have changed throughout the past 70 years, WDLB continues to connect Marshfield with the surrounding communities while providing the news and sports for three additional stations: WOSQ FM 92.3 Spencer/Marshfield, WFHR AM 1320 Wisconsin Rapids, and WLJY FM 105.5.
The station currently broadcasts within a 45-kilometer radius of Marshfield, an area which includes Stetsonville, Owen, Neillsville, Wisconsin Rapids, and Rib Mountain.