Ronald Reagan's Time at WHO Radio in Des Moines
Brian Gongol

Former President Ronald Reagan started his days in the WHO Radio family at WOC Radio in Davenport, Iowa, in the winter of 1932-33. Both WHO and WOC were owned by BJ Palmer, a unique and occasionally iconoclastic station owner. Reagan worked as a staff announcer and sports broadcaster at WOC (which at the time shared a frequency assignment with WHO), and when WHO was increased to 50,000 watts in May 1933, WOC was closed and the staff moved to Des Moines to work at WHO.

Ronald Reagan visiting WHO as President
WHO's enormous signal gave Reagan exposure around the country. He became a celebrity in Des Moines1, announcing Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball games based on wire reports over ticker tapes.

While at WHO, Reagan obtained a commission in the Citizens Military Training Program at Fort Des Moines, giving him the opportunity to train as a horseman and fulfilling a childhood fantasy 2.

Reagan's interviews with visiting movie stars and others is thought to have lent some encouragement to his interest in starring in movies. In 1935, he began spending summer vacations with the Cubs at training camp on Catalina Island in California. Using some of his contacts from interviews at WHO, Reagan managed to win a screen test and in 1937, he left WHO and began his time in Hollywood.


Ronald Reagan Library

Offer Your Condolences to Mrs. Reagan

How to Help American Troops Serving Overseas

Comment on this page


1Ronald Reagan: A Remarkable Life, JH Cardigan
2An American Life, Ronald Reagan