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Lawrence’s Wealth Bandleader Founded Empire

Brue, Mike. "Lawrence's Wealth Bandleader Founded Empire." Grand Forks Herald, 20 May 1992, sec. 1A.


Lawrence Welk’s musical career grew into an entertainment empire.

A corporate publication states that Welk businesses showed revenues exceeding $100 million in 1990, with more than 1,000 employees in California, Hawaii and New York.

The Welk Group (formerly Teleklew Productions; the “klew” is Welk backwards), wholly owned by three generations of Welks, has become a sizable collection of diversified ventures, particularly in real estate and the entertainment industry.

But in recent years, Welk didn’t have any direct involvement in the corporation he founded in 1955. His son, Larry, is president.

The group’s holdings include The Lawrence Welk Foundation; Welk Syndication, which with the Oklahoma Television Authority packages Welk TV show reruns shown on public television; a television production company; plus some resort complexes and record labels.

The record labels include:
? Ranwood, which offers recordings by Welk and stars from his program, such as Myron Floren, the Lennon Sisters and Jo Ann Castle.
? Vanguard Records, which offers recording by folk, jazz, and blues artists, such as Joan Baez, Ian & Sylvia, The Weavers and Mississippi John hurt.
? Hindsight, a collection of authentic Big Band recordings made for radio--but not for commercial distribution--in the 1930s and ‘40s by such musicians as Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller and Guy Lombardo.
? Heartland Music, a joint venture in TV mail-order marketing and one of The Welk Group’s most successful. Compilations from artists such as Willie Nelson, Marty Robbins, Nat King Cole, Roger Whittaker and Zamfir, “Master of the Pan Flute,” have been marketed on TV.

Reprinted with permission of Grand Forks Herald.

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