Charlie & Michael Kearns

CKearnsThis father-son team has been The Voice of WKTY radio in La Crosse since it signed on the air in 1948. Charlie hosted WKTY’s morning show, “The Lead Balloon” from the day it signed on the air in 1948 and upon his death in 1981, his son Mike took over the show. Together, the father-son team has also been the Voice of Sports in the La Crosse region since 1948. Charlie was the station’s first Sports Director and Mike assumed the position in 1981. Together, they have delivered play-by-play on over 1,200 football games and 6,000 basketball in their over 68 years behind the WKTY microphone.

MKearnsCharlie was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, a sports reporter for the Duluth Herald Tribune and had his first radio job as a sports director of KSJB radio in Jamestown, North Dakota before moving to WKTY in 1948. Mike attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Brown Institute, learned the radio craft and the art of sportscasting from his father, and celebrated his 35th year on the air at WKTY in 2008.

Charlie Kearns passed away in 1981. Michael Kearns passed away in 2021.


  1. Mike coady

    I really miss hearing Mikey do the games….and I loved hearing Charlie…when I was younger. A treasure right here in La Crosse….I was hoping Mikey would go on forever.

  2. Pete Kingslien

    I was a young engineer in the early 70’s with my first job at WKTY. I worked with Charlie on remotes amd was there when Mike started broadcasting. Good memories.

  3. Ellen Finch

    I had the distinct honor of working with both Charlie and Mike in my 21 years in radio at WKTY/WSPL. They earned so many loyal fans and respect from all in media and throughout communities in the state over their careers. End of an era!

  4. It’s hard to believe. Mike always made you feel good wether it was the Lead Balloon Show or broadcasting games.

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