WRJN-Radio – December 11, 1926

WRJN Radio, Racine, was put on the air by two businessmen from Oak Park, Illinois. They also served as the station’s first announcer and engineer. WRJN was founded in partnership with the Racine Journal News, hence the station’s call letters.


  1. William Draeger, Jr.

    I worked part time as an announcer and board engineer at WRJN, WRJN-FM between 1958 to 1965.

  2. We are seeking any and all former employees of WRJN, from as far back as possible, in planning for the radio station’s 90th anniversary, in December of 2016. Thank you Mr Draeger for your information. We’re asking for names….yours and co-workers at the time, and any stories about the station you would like to pass along. Any photographs/recordings would be amazing. Contact me. Tom Karkow, WRJN News Director, employee since 1979, and unofficial historian.

    • Doug Iverson

      Tom, I have a photo of Harold Newcomb presenting my grandfather, John Henry Erdmann, a check for winning a drawing. As we always listened to the Milwaukee Braves games on your station I’m sure that’s how he heard about it. The photo, I believe, is more than likely from The Journal Times. Grandpa passed away in 1963. If I had your email I could send it to you if you are interested.

      • To Doug Iverson

        Would love to see a copy of that photo since my grandfather was Harold Newcomb.
        Thank you very much.

        Karn Newcomb Goff

    • Libby Cape

      Mr. Krakow, remember James Sorenson? He was at WRJN. What became of him? My email is libbycape50@outlook.com

      Libby Cape

  3. Ruth Pincikowski

    Lee DeChant (spelling?) and Stanley Fisher (my father ) created the first transmitter for WRJN. It was located above the bank on Main Street.

    Much of the planning was overseen by my father, Stanley-when it was relocated full time to victory Avenue to what originally was the country transmitter and pretty much open field in the early days.

    I have news paper clippings and pictures if you are interested.

  4. Ruth Pincikowski

    I remember going along with my dad when he recorded a basket ball game at Jon Bosco in Milwaukee, the dedication of Jerstad Aggerholm School. Christmas choirs at schools around Racine. When Lee DeChant died, my Dad became the Chief Engineer. In the early days he would have to stay up all night on some shifts in case the old transmitter went out. They were the trouble shooters keeping it on the air. He and Lee were childhood friends. Lee had the college education, my dad was self taught. He also repaired cab radios, radios, television sets later on and was a licensesd pilot at what was Horlick Field.

  5. Ruth Pincikowski

    Cradle role told of new births in the city. Peter Bach had a program on Sunday with music and singing canaries. There was bicycle court on sat. Lost and found. Soap box operas and of course much more. “Millie” was the secretary at the new station.of course programs were transmitted out of Memorial Hall, but in my childhood memory, it doesn’t tell me that WRJN was located there full time.

  6. Tom Karkow

    Ruth: yes we are interested in any materials related to the radio station. Could we make copies?

  7. Rye Gewalt

    I was a part time engineer along with Don Meredith, Jack Schweitzer, Reese Roberts and Dave Janzer from the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s. We all worked for Stan Fisher who was like a second father to all of us. Harold Newcomb was the station manager. We all loved Millie (?) who was the station administrator and all around peace maker. Lots of big egos behind the mic. Stan Fisher used to cook roast beef for some of the best sandwiches at the station get parties in the basement.

    Best of all, I was the engineer for the Peder Bach Danish radio show on Sunday afternoons. Peder was a crotchety old curmudgeon with a heart of gold and a huge collection of 78 rpm danish records. At the time, Peders show was the longest running show in all of radio. My wife would come to visit and dance around the big studio with Peder. He did all of his commercials ad-lib.

    • Jay Francis

      I was an engineer at WRJN in the mid to late 60’s.
      I remember one night I was working the 2nd shift, 1:15pm to 10:15pm. An incident happened at Humble Park and Mayor Kenneth Huck called for a 24-hour curfew. So the station management made a decision and to keep the station on all night. I was planning to work all night long, but Don Meredith came out to the station to relieve me for a few hours. I went home to rest a few hours and then came back. (Who could sleep.) Don had previously worked at WRJN but had since moved on to WTMJ in Milwaukee. He did not have to come in, but since he was familiar with the studio and control room, he felt he could help out in this strange time. It is this camaraderie that I remember and miss the most about working in broadcasting. I have worked in a number of different fields since then, but nothing compares to this camaraderie.
      Yes who can forget Millie. I remember the parties in the basement and the Danish radio show. Didn’t he own a feed store on Washington Ave?
      What ever happened to the RCA BC-7 board that used to be in the main control room?
      Jay Francis

  8. Tom Karkow

    I have been with WRJN since July 8, 1979, and the lone connection left to the days of Jim Sorensen, Bob Cook, Frenchy Boutan, Donn Edmark, Dave Armstrong, Ralph Schoenleben, and Bill Gumm, ,who gave me my true start in the business. I also became the station’s historian, coming across & conducting searches for photographs, documents, recordings (few exist unfortunately), and anything related to the decades of WRJN before I arrived. The red call letters on top of the building on Victory Avenue stopped working, were taken down, and targeted for disposal. I have them, and put them on display at past anniversary shows at Memorial Hall. The WRJN studios look a bit different than when I started, but efforts have been made to maintain displays on some of the history…our newsroom especially, which I share with long time reporter/anchor Janet Hoff. WRJN celebrates 90-years in December of this year (2016).

    • Jeffrey Penzkowski


      First congratulations on 90th year of broadcasting! And your 38 years there at WRJN! I can’t imaged, what you have witness with all the changes there in the WJRN studios over the years. And probably more in your last 20 years, than at any other time in radio and survived! That is awesome Tom! The memories I have of WJRN, are waiting for the announcements of the school closers during Racine’s snow storms! WJRN was always dependable for that!

      I enjoying visiting with you and your son last year, at Coach Greiten induction to Racine Country Sport Hall of Fame. Lastly thanks for the all laughs during our high school years! And wishing you continued success there at WJRN! P.S. Very smart saving the old red call letters! Those could be museum displays!

    • Tom-

      Maybe you can help me identify the folks in a photograph I have of a dance orchestra posing under a WRJN banner that reads “Schweitzer.” The image I would guess is from the 1930s and is from a postcard with the caption “The famous 10 – Schweitzers – 10. WRJN radio artists.” There are 10 members of the group. Any ideas? Let me know if you want to see a scan of it.

      Matt Appleby
      Mills Music Library

      • My grandfather Arnold Baseler, Sr. played the concertina with the Ten Schweitzer’s . I don’t know who the other musicians were. It would be nice to identify them. The group was quite popular.

  9. Bradley Edmark

    My father, Donn Edmark passed away August 16, 2016. He often talked about his time as news director with WRJN. A special thanks to any that made his dream possible.

  10. Tom Karkow

    WRJN’s 90th anniversary has come and gone. Thank you to all who offered comments, material, etc. It wasn’t the celebration like in years past. We broadcast special feature reports for a week on our newscasts, and did a 30-minute special. All that material is packaged on our webpage, for now, at wrjn.com The newspaper did a nice front page story. Google WRJN 90th anniversary and it should be available. Special thanks for a lot of the early years audio to the late Donn Edmark’s 1976 docu-drama, and to David Merens for his dad Lyman’s audio clips. Thanks to Ruth & Lenny for amazing pictures from the Stan Fisher engineering days. I will continue to be the voice for all the staff members who got WRJN to 90-years, and hopefully beyond. As always, anything discovered pertaining to the station, get in contact. Coolest & most unique artifact: the red plastic call letters atop the northeast corner of the building, atop the roof. They lit up at night, from 1958 to the 1980’s, stopped working, and were being thrown out. They came out for a couple of 90th anniversary pictures, and are back in storage, in the rafters of my garage. Will they return for the 100th? Who knows!

  11. Mike Loew

    My Grandfather was F Lee DeChant. I also worked with Stan Fisher and his wife Fern. All three of these were true pioneers of their time.

    • Tom Karkow

      From retired News Director Tom Karkow: You’re right Mike. They were the giants of the time, and legends. I’ve had contact with Stan’s daughter, who provided some great photographs.

  12. Tom Karkow

    From Tom Karkow: I retired as News Director from WRJN in Racine September 28, 2018 after 20-years, and just over 39-years total. My wife, Janet Hoff, also retired the same day after 14-full-time years, a few on a part-time basis, and 18-years prior to that of reporting on the air in Kenosha. The history of WRJN will always be in our care, including photographs, audio, newspaper articles, memorabilia, even the big red call letters from atop the building. Any and all inquiries can be directed our way, in Racine. We’re in the phone book. Janet Karkow has a Facebook page. Our email is jtkarkow@wi.rr.com

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