Welk's First Broadcast was From Landa Area

"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 own band."

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.

This was the broadcasting station of Jud Siercks.

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