Dickinson County News

2018 - Media

From the crazy night, 2,300 teenagers converged on Arnolds Park for an Everly Brothers concert to the time a tornado ripped the top off of the Roof Garden, newspapers that formed today's Dickinson County News have been there to tell the tale.


One of the DCN's predecessors, the Spirit Lake Beacon, dates back to 1870, followed closely by the Milford Mail in 1882, the Lake Park News in 1890 and the Terril Record in 1928. To this day, residents of Iowa and beyond can locate archived coverage of the important and diverse musicians who performed at local venues, including The Inn at Okoboji, in the 1910-1920s.


As the 1950s and 1960s ushered in a new wave of music, the newspapers were the first to carry advertisements for concerts at the Roof Garden Ballroom. That unprecedented promotion of live music was possible because of a special friendship between Roof Garden owner Darlowe Oleson and newspaper publisher W.E. "Bill" Beck Jr. The Beacon and its sister publications did many cross-promotions for wildly successful dances in Arnolds Park during Beck's 35 years at the Blue Water Publishing Company.


An ongoing friendship helps today's readers recall those glory days of rock 'n' roll as well. The Dickinson County News staff and the newspaper's free entertainment guide, The Okobojian have faithfully published "Rockin' Retro" columns by music historian Tom Tourville. He has contributed an average of 15 columns per year for the past 18 years. More than 270 legendary performances at the Roof Garden have been cataloged for posterity through Tom's work.


Staff members at The Dickinson County News also have been honored to chronicle the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association and its hall of fame weekends from the very beginning.


Through massive changes in technology and even greater changes in society, hometown newspapers have always been depended on as the first draft of musical history in northwest Iowa. The Dickinson County News and The Okobojian continue to help audiences find live bands at local establishments as well as headlining concerts at larger venues. Their coverage of music education has encouraged and lifted up future generations of musicians.


The DCN and Okobojian are members of the Rust Publishing NWIA family of newspapers. That relationship allows the stories of local musicians and bands to be shared across an entire region through The Spencer Daily Reporter and The Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune.


The company's staff members don't make the music, but they are proud of their efforts to help promote the artistry of Iowa's great musicians.

For supporting Iowa's rich music heritage and educating the masses from 1870 to 2018 and beyond, The Dickinson County News/Okobojian takes its well-earned and rightful place in the media category of the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2018.


Honoring achievements, educating youth, and inspiring artists.

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