John Schermerhorn (1928-1974) was a broadcasting pioneer beloved by audiences and clients as an on-air sports director, producer, host of a popular polka show, salesman and general manager. During his 25-year career he created television programming and promotions that rank among the highlights of Wisconsin broadcasting history.
Schermerhorn’s on-air career began in 1948 at WKOW Radio in Madison. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea and, in 1953, returned to Madison to help sign WKOW-TV onto the air as its first sports director. His talent, drive and charisma were a perfect fit for the new medium. Schermerhorn’s sports coverage included the Badgers, Braves and Packers until 1967. He produced and emceed the annual March of Dimes telethon for 13 years and hosted more than 600 episodes of Dairyland Jubilee, which also aired on WXOW-TV in La Crosse and WAOW-TV in Wausau. As an executive for the Wisconsin Television Network, he served as sales promotions and public relations director and was general manager of WXOW-TV from 1970 until his death in 1974.