William Forrest

forrestAn early Wisconsin broadcast pioneer whose first station’s call letters, WIBU, stood for “Wind Is Being Used” to note the windmills which generated electricity to run the station. After establishing WIBU in 1925, he also founded WWCF in Baraboo in 1948 and WRDB in Reedsburg in 1953.

William Forrest passed away on October 20, 1979.


  1. Peter Devlin

    I came from Pennsylvania to work at WIBU on my 26th birthday, April 24, 1972. Tom Holter had acquired the property from Willie, along with WWCF (call letters were changed to WLVE) as primarily a production announcer, but quickly became news director.
    I met Willie early on in my stay, as he lived across WIBU Road from the station facilities and was a frequent visitor.
    The first day of fall 1973 while a tower crew was replacing guy wires on the AM Tower behind the building, a wind gust toppled the tower. A replacement was quickly assembled by Utility Tower Company and trucked from Oklahoma(paint still wet)to the site on “Radio Hill.”
    It was amazing to watch the new tower being erected. One afternoon, we announcers took a break for lunch, returning to see most of the tower rising from the pastured hillside.
    The program director said that was about all that was needed. The tower looked to be as tall at that point as the one that had collapsed.
    I pointed out there were still four 20-ft segments on the ground.
    The tower crew confirmed those lengths would be added to reach the height spelled out on the F.C.C. license. The program director then got a measuring tape to determine the old tower was in fact 80-ft shorter than it was supposed to be.
    Confronting Willie when he came across the road to inspect the progress, the program director revealed the discrepancy.
    Willie just smiled and said, “I know.”
    Eventually it came out that Willie had figured out a shorter “third wave” tower would send a signal father than the licensed “quarter-wave” affair and had erected the short tower in 1952. Willie was quite proud of it and of the fact that in the nearly 50-years he operated WIBU, an F.C.C. inspector had never set foot in the building.

  2. Naomi Rouse-Kugel

    My parents worked for Tommy Holter at WIBU in the late 1970s thru early 1980s. Holter owned AM 1240, WIBU, Poynette, and WLVE, licensed for Baraboo, but operated & served Madison, mostly – “Love Stereo”, 95 FM (now 94.9, WOLX). My dad, Jack Davison was Program Director, ad my mom, Nancy, did “traffic” & office work. I also worked at WIBU for a couple of years – 1990-91, as on-air personality “Toe-Tappin” Toni Ross, spinning all of your polka favorites, Sunday thru Thursday nights from 6pm to Midnight (we signed off at Midnight, and on again at 5am). We were the last all-polka radio station in the U.S. The CBS tv show “48 Hours” did an article on us, when we switched from all-live local polka music, to a satellite-fed country music format. I worked for Lee Harris, who lived there & was a co-owner/general manager/program director/sales manager – he now is America’s most listened-to radio news announcer, on WINS in New York City. Good people; great times; cool building – too many good stories to tell here!

  3. I trained at WIBU/WLVE in (I think it was) the spring of 1975, having gotten to know then-Operations Manager Harlan Blessum through the Lakeland Theatre Guild. Changing those big reel-to-reels that produced what we called “Robot Rock.” Never went to work because of my involvement in the Yellow Cab and Transfer Co. strike. I had begun working as a reporter for the Sauk-Prairie Star the previous fall, and eventually ended up with a 40-year career in print journalism. I didn’t have a great radio voice, anyway.

  4. William Kurtz

    I’ve never seen references to the original “Love Stereo,” a progressive rock format that I listened to when I transferred to UW-Madison at the start of 1972. It was the only full-time progressive rock station in the area at the time. (WIBA-FM only did progressive rock part of the day, for example they simulcast AM in the morning.) I preferred “Love Stereo, Baraboo/Madison” as it self-identified, and was sorry to discover the format change to “beautiful music” (elevator music) when I returned to Madison in the fall.

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