WFHR: Through the years
By Kris Leonhardt
Part III in a series
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – In May 1960, WFHR and the Daily Tribune moved into their new building at 220 First Avenue South, where they remained until 1983, when they relocated out of the downtown area.
In October 1983, the studios moved into their facilities at 645 25th Avenue North, where the station remains today.
Pamela Hilke, WFHR traffic/billing/office services, has been with the station since June of 1977 and sees computerization as one of the major changes over the years.
“I believe the constant changes in technology has greatly improved how each of us can do our jobs within our office and studios,” Hilke said.
“In my department of radio traffic, I’ve had numerous computer and software updates, each making the job better.
“In our studios, we’ve gone from audio on tape to being completely in our computer systems. We no longer need someone running the control board 24/7; we can be fully automated, as needed.
“Typewriters are certainly a thing of the past. Everyone uses their desk computers and printers. Cell phones are wonderful also.
“Another change is the number of employees has decreased quite a bit over the years. We’d have people on staff for nearly every job, and now one person handles many tasks. Newscasts and sportscasts, are recorded and produced in Marshfield and are sent over via our computer systems.”
The station has also transitioned through many owners over the years including: the Gazette Printing Company of Janesville; NRG Media, Cedar Rapids, IA; and is currently owned by Seehafer Broadcasting Corporation of Manitowoc.
The Seehafer family has roots in central Wisconsin and a commitment to preserving local radio and its dedication to the community it serves.
“We happen to big lucky enough to have WFHR in the Wisconsin Rapids market and at 80 years, it is one of the oldest stations in Wisconsin. I believe there are only five or six other stations that are older than 80,” said owner Mark Seehafer.
“It’s all about being local and having a commitment to the community, being involved with the community. The more local news, sports, information we can give out to our listeners; because, they can get music anywhere they want, but if they want to connect with an announcer, news departments, or whoever might be involved with the radio station, you can do that on a local basis.”