John Schermerhorn

schermerhornJohn 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.



  1. Carole & Art Collier says:

    We are friends from Canada of John’s wife, Lou Ann, his son Mark and daughter, Jill – we never knew Big John but are thrilled that he has been so honoured by the Wisconsin Broadcasting Association – the video gave us much insight into the life and illustrious career of this wonderful, talented and amazing man – The Schermerhorn Family must all be so very proud.

  2. Bob Wombacher says:

    I just met Jill Schermerhorn tonight, 9/29/2016 but when she said her name I immediately asked if she was related to John Schermerhorn. When we were kids here in Madison my parents and us watched his music show, Dairyland Jubilee every Saturday night. What a great memory.

  3. Ann McCarthy says:

    Wow, I really enjoyed seeing this tribute. I met Big John when I was 10 years old and a contestant in the Gold Shovel contest. My family all learned to polka to Dairyland Jubilee, and were very sad when he passed away.

  4. Doug Strand says:

    When I was a little boy my mother would drive me to WKOW to put money in the can and show off my many plastic Rin Tin Tin rings to Big John!

  5. Doug Strand says:

    He was the BEST! Wisconsin TV was never as good after “Big John”

  6. R.Harvey says:


  7. Dixie says:

    When I was a little girl about 5 yrs. old I auditioned for John Schermerhorn for the March of Dimes and sang on the show for the next 3 or 4 years. I remember he was the nicest man. I will never forget him. I only wish I could find the tapes of those shows if they recorded them back in those days. As I recall it was up at the Lorraine Hotel. Great memories!!

  8. LInda Jo Lampman Bostwick says:

    Oh yes! I think he was some how related to my Cousin Larry Lampman.

  9. Kathy Madison says:

    I worked at WKOW in the 70’s and remember Big John well. This brought back great memories!

Leave a Comment