Pioneers of Radio
Radio stations KMA and KFNF put Shenandoah on the national map during the 1920's.
Sending their powerful signals across all 48 states, these two pioneer stations had a profound impact on rural America.
Henry Field's KFNF began broadcasting in 1924, and Earl May started KMA one year later, in 1925. These two rivals, each a born salesman, promoted their own seed and nursery products along with entertainment. Spurred by radio advertising, both mail order and retail business skyrocketed. These stations brought news, weather forecasts, and farming advice into the homes of isolated farmers and ranchers throughout the Midwest.
Thousands of visitors flocked to Shenandoah to buy merchandise at Field's Spanish style shopping center and to see the live broadcasts at KMA's magnificent Mayfair Auditorium. The two stations attracted a flood of itinerant musicians and entertainers, all eager to make it big in the new world of radio.
A carnvial atmosphere prevailed in Shenandoah, with May and Field each trying to outdo the other. Huge promotions such as May's "Jubilee Days" advertised free pancakes and non-stop entertainment to all who came. And come they did - by the thousands.
Less flamboyant but perhaps more influential were the radio homemakers. These remarkable women provided advice and companionship to generations
The heyday of live radio ended with the advent of recorded music and network programming. KFNF closed, but KMA continues the long tradition of Shenandoah radio.
Location. 40° 45.953′ N, 95° 22.418′ W. Marker is in Shenandoah, Iowa, in Page County. Marker is at the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Elm Street, on the right when traveling east on Sheridan Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 680 West Sheridan Avenue, Shenandoah IA 51601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Music of Shenandoah (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles E. Parker (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas D. Murphy (within shouting distance of this marker); A City In Print (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Frederick L. Maytag (about 300 feet away); A Community of the Arts (about 400 feet away); American Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away); A Tradition of Innovation in Agriculture (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shenandoah.
Also see . . .
1. KMA Land 960 AM / 99.1 FM. (Submitted on August 25, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. KFNF Radio, Shenandoah, Iowa. (Submitted on August 25, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. KMA Radio, Shenandoah, Iowa. (Submitted on August 25, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Communications • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 25, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 182 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 25, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.