KCHA 1580-AM History

Charles City’s first radio station KCHA-AM 1580 celebrated 70 years on the air Wednesday, November 27th, 2019.

Here’s a look at (and a listen to) KCHA throughout the years:


The historical features below were originally prepared and aired for KCHA’s 50th Anniversary in 1999. They are hosted by former KCHA announcers David McCartney and Carol Byrne. They look back at early programs and some of the stations personalities through the years. Interviews with former owners, including Charles Ellis and L. J. ‘Vern’ Bromberg, will highlight reminiscences of an earlier time in radio.

McCartney, producer of the series, is a 1974 graduate of Charles City High School and worked at KCHA from 1972 to 1974. He has masters degrees in history and library science from the University of Maryland and is an archivist for the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Byrne, a 1982 Charles City High School graduate, was with KCHA from 1985 to 1987. She has a degree in communications from the University of Northern Iowa and has done freelance audio production work in Des Moines.











1968 CHARLES CITY TORNADO

Unedited audio broadcast from 1580 KCHA in the hours following the tornado:


(Images below are scanned copies of handwritten notes taken in the aftermath of the ’68 tornado that devastated the town. KCHA broadcasted from their tower located on the south side in the hours following the storm.)





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