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40th President Started in Radio

40th President Started in Radio

Ronald Reagan was “practically laughed out the door” after he hitchhiked to Chicago in 1932 and starting asking around for work as a radio announcer.
According to autobiographical information published by Simon and Schuster and posted on, Reagan really wanted to be a sports announcer. But big-city radio jobs were not forthcoming for an inexperienced youngster, so he began to look “in the sticks.”
“Radio was so new that many Midwestern towns still didn’t have a commercial station, but I knew of two or three in the tri-cities area,” he said in his published recollections.
“I started with stations on the Illinois side of the Mississippi but struck out, then crossed the river into Iowa.”
He was hired by Pete MacArthur at WOC in Davenport, first to report a few football games, then as a $100-a-month staff announcer.
“I was a disc jockey before they invented the term: As staff announcer, I played phonograph records, read commercials and served as a vocal bridge between our local programming and network broadcasts.”
Eventually Reagan went to work for four years as a sports announcer for sister station WHO in Des Moines.
“At twenty-two I’d achieved my dream: I was a sports announcer. If I had stopped there, I believe I would have been happy the rest of my life. I’d accomplished my goal and enjoyed every minute of it. Before long, during the depths of the Depression, I was earning seventy-five dollars a week and gaining the kind of fame in the Midwest that brought in invitations for speaking engagements that provided extra income I could use to help out my parents.”
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