2001 - Radio Station
Fort Dodge radio station KWMT was one of the first radio stations in Iowa to make the bold move into the rock and roll format. It made that giant "leap of faith" in the mid-1950s.
Under owner/manager Jim Mauer, 540 KWMT became a powerhouse for Iowa's initial foray into, and eventual love affair with, rock and roll music.
Many talented DJs sat behind the microphone at the radio station and appeared at sock hops throughout the area promoting the format embraced by Mauer. Some of those well-known personalities were; Roy Chase; Phil Robbins: Paul Brown, who coined the phrase "54, that's easy to remember"; Don Rose, who went on to become a leading morning personality in both Philadelphia and San Francisco; and Peter "Peter Rabbit" McClain, who is an inducted member of the IRRHOF.
KWMT's strong signal had DJs doing sock hops all over the state and one as far away as Wisconsin. Not only did the staff keep busy with sock hops; they were also active as emcees for various live acts.
In 1959 KWMT was involved in sponsoring the Winter Dance Party at Fort Dodge's Laramar Ballroom featuring Buddy Holly just two days before his final appearance in Clear Lake.
KWMT rocked from the mid-'50s until the mid-'60s.