Welk's First Broadcast was From Landa
"Welk's First Broadcast was From Landa Area." Courant,
26 June 1984, sec. 5F.
Long before well-known band leader Lawrence Welk
appeared on television in Landa homes, he was heard over the radio,
when he was broadcasted for the first time - from Landa.
Although he wasn't an orchestra leader yet, he did
play the accordian with an orchestra run by a guy named Kelly,
according to Judson Siercks, retired Landa farmer and businessman.
The orchestra had been playing in the area and had
stayed over one Sunday, sometime between 1925 and 1928, at a hotel
that the Siercks family was running in Landa.
Siercks, who was interested in the new technology
of radio, was pretty handy at assembling tubes, coils and condensers
to produce receiving or transmitting sets.
He build a transmitter in his hotel and broadcast
programs with local talent. Siercks received reports of his station
being heard 75 to 100 miles away.
Siercks was working on his transmitter that particular
Sunday when the orchestra leader walked in and said, "If
you get this working, we'll broadcast a program."
The station was on the air Monday and that afternoon
the orchestra set up in the hotel lobby and played a concert.
Siercks chummed around with Lawrence Welk during
Welk's stay in Landa. He recalled that the Farmer's Elevator had
just been completed and he and Welk rode to the top of the elevator
on a lift. Welk told Siercks that up to that time he had never
broadcasted over the radio. "but someday I want to have my
Siercks and his wife went to see the Lawrence Welk
show in 1968. They visited with Welk for a while and he remembered
Siercks and the broadcast right away.
Siercks still has the transmitter at his farm. It's
part of his museum of early day radio apparatus.
Reprinted with permission of the Courant.